drunks, druggies and all

by david on June 28, 2010

No use denying it, you’re an addict. Hell, I’m an addict. We’re all addicts. The problem is not being an addict, but rather what you are addicted to.

I was addicted to running for 30 years. I’m still addicted to sports live or on TV. I can’t get enough chocolate. What does it mean to be addicted? An addiction is a habit that has become ingrained in our physiology. It means that even if this thing you do all the time is detrimental to your physical, psychological or relationship well being you can’t stop. I watch sports when I should be spending time with loved ones. I eat chocolate even when I know it’s going to make me physically ill. Do I live a life of shame? Of course not.

You, on the other hand, are addicted to alcohol or drugs and shame is your middle name. You are no more no less an addict than I, but you unfortunately got stuck with a more destructive addiction. Equally unfortunate, you must face the wrath of the holier than thou addicts whose addictions cause themselves and others fewer problems.

Nobody gets to choose their addictions, but I challenge you to show me someone without any addictions. They are addicted to salt; sugar; coffee; vitamins; video games; collecting; reading; TV; soap operas; music; traveling; work; food; just to name a few. Everyone pays a price for his or her addictions, but few pay the price you do. The ironic aspect of this circumstance is the personal price you pay for your addiction is far worse than any punishment others can assign to you and yet society insists you must be additionally humiliated.

So how do you kick an addiction? The bad news is you can’t, at least not out of will. The good news is it can happen by accident, by circumstances you have no control over. My running addiction ended because of my cancer. My point is even if you never kick your addiction there is no need to punish yourself with guilt and shame beyond the punishment your addiction hands you daily. By all means don’t accept the shame and blame the hypocritical, winner addicts heap on you.

Each and every one of your detractors has their own addictions. Some of those addictions are far more dangerous, perverse and damaging to themselves and others than even drugs and alcohol, but so far their addictions remain hidden. Just look at how the high and mighty of society, including politicians, athletes and entertainers who we held in such esteem have had their addictions unceremoniously revealed to all.

I have never met a drug or drunk who would not gladly end their servitude to their addiction no matter what the price if such were possible. As all us losers know, if we could have, damn it, we would have. Hold your head high; accept your addiction with dignity until perhaps one day the circumstances of your life will free you from its terrible burden.

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