I am a recovering alcoholic and a drug addict who has lost the obsession to drink and use. Does that make me a bad person? After Philip Seymour Hoffman died, there were extremely negative and horrible things that were said by people, such as calling him a “another junkie” who got more famous for dying from a drug overdose. It makes me sick to hear things like this because what people don’t realize is that (and I’m speaking for myself here) I never aspired to be a 25-year-old, going on 26, alcoholic in recovery, with almost 5 years sober.
There is this giant stigma about the disease of addiction, and yes, I said disease. Being an addict or alcoholic isn’t some moral choice, as what many people like to think. I was born with this disease and I will have it for the rest of my life; the difference in me today is that I have found a way to “put the gorilla in the cage.” I found a solution that has allowed me to not only give up the drinks or the drugs, but this solution has given me the gift of a total psychic change and so much more. I am able to be a daughter and a sister today; a friend and an employee. This sounds baffling because it should be normal and common sense for me to be those today; but the fact of the matter is, that when I was sick in active addiction, I pushed everyone away and burned every single bridge around me; I hurt the people I love and care for most.
I’ve done things I thought I would never do and put myself in situations that no young girl should be in, all because I needed some kind of substance in me. I’ve met many people, and I have unfortunately lost a lot of friends to this disease. Dying from a drug overdose does not make you a junkie-scumbag, it’s not usually something that is planned. The disease of addiction is so insidious that it wants all of us dead, and unfortunately, many people won’t ever be able to see the amazing life of sobriety. This is usually stemming from the terrible stigma that is held against addiction, making people terrified to ask for help or even admit their struggles to anyone.
I was terrified to ask for help, just like many other struggling addicts and alcoholics are. I didn’t think there was a better life for me out there, or if I even deserved one. I was sent to a treatment center and was told that I never had to drink or do a drug again. As relieving as that was, it was terrifying. Drinking and using drugs was the only life I had known and loved, why would I stop? The truth is, that life stopped working for me and my life became unmanageable. Once I finally became willing enough to change my life and start moving towards bettering myself is when my life rapidly and drastically changed for the better; I started to smile and laugh, and I felt free. Once we all start working towards breaking this stigma against addiction, the sooner people who are struggling like I once was can speak up and save themselves. Don’t let yourself become another statistic and let your disease win.