My son did not wake up one morning and say to himself, ” I think I will be an addict….”
Addiction is like a disease and no one decides to have a disease.
There are three common screams that rise up from the gut of someone caught by addiction:
I am scared.
I just want to be Normal!
Put those lines in any order, no one comes before the other.
I know, because my son, who died this past May from an accidental multi-drug intoxication overdose told me so.
are words that vocalize the dumbfounded frustration – this wasn’t suppose to happen to me! I am a good person. I tried to live a good life. I have plans and this wasn’t one of them! My son was a dedicated athlete, co-captain of the football and wrestling teams;
“He was a good kid, a good role model for kids in school,” Edward Wyzik, the Belchertown High School football coach, said.
His actions demonstrated character qualities that mattered and affected the people around him in a positive way; so I even scream, as the mom, why him!
“I just want to be normal!”
are words that my son cried out in fits of exasperation – Why did God make me this way? he cried. Plagued with a predisposition genetically, he’d been caught by the beast of addiction in his attempts to self medicate a weary soul that just wanted to feel better and to feel normal. Anxiety and depression complicated and added to his daily burden. This fight to “be normal & feel normal” propelled him to seek out the drugs that calmed him, gave him rest, escape, and allowed him to feel normal for a few hours. His use of drugs helped him to cope with life, at first reasonably perhaps, as an occasional marijuana high, but the predisposition enticed him on to harder drugs for better relief of his inner turmoil.
“I am scared”
are some of the last words my son spoke from his heart – weeping, he relayed this emotion to a friend just a few days before he died. Addicts have broken brains and are a people in need of help. They are not dumb. I believe, that this admission of emotion was the first time he was truly acknowledging the severity of his disease and the hold it had over him, and he was scared.
He was scared because NO ADDICT WANTS TO BE AN ADDICT.
Unfortunately, in my sons state of fear he made poor choices in part due to the chemical brain changes that come with addiction, and I am convinced, he attempted to escape the fear of full relapse and tried to ease his painful predicament by trying a new drug – something he told me “he would never do“… heroin; cheaper and quicker than his usual drugs of choice. The power of the disease of addiction is often more than the suffering person can handle and they are thrust into doing things they really don’t want to do, but are compelled to do, because of the deceptive power of drugs and the physiological marks of the disease.
These are things people need to know. Addicts are crying out; they want to be normal and they are afraid.
As a culture, we need to erase the stigma that says addicts are low-life’s with nothing good to offer society. We, as a culture need to remember that these people are someone’s son or daughter,
they are people who had eyes and heart for a future, often times they are some of the gentlest souls in their peer groups because they are able to empathize with others who struggled in life. They are individuals created by our heavenly Father who are worthy to be helped and loved with a love that does not judge, but seeks to fight the disease of addiction alongside them.
A line taken from the ShatterProof website, based out of New York:
“When a person with substance use disorder has internalized the negative stigma of the disease, it directly damages that person’s chances of recovery.4″
Final message today:
Get rid of your preconceived misunderstandings about this disease of addiction and see the one addicted, as a person in need of encouragement, care, and love and do something that will speak to them and possibly reach their brokenness and give them the lift they may need to seek out recovery and stay in recovery.
We cannot fix and cure addiction for our loved ones, but we can certainly do better as a culture to give every good opportunity and HOPE for a healed & sober future for those who suffer with this brain disease called addiction.