It’s Time to Bring Addiction Out of the Closet

IMG_0068Hearing about Corey Monteith being found dead in a hotel room at the age of 31 made me very sad. We have a hidden epidemic in this country that people are ashamed to admit or seek help for, its called Addiction. We know Cory had suffered addiction and sought help a few times over the years; no details of his death have been released, however.

We as a society should deal differently with mental illnesses than we currently do. We see them as something to be ashamed of; when we really should have scientists learning more about why people cant break their addictions. For those who haven’t been addicted to anything they might not understand, but this problem has become such an epidemic that it’s time more research goes into helping to cure addiction. And also to treat addiction like you would a broken arm. No shame in breaking your arm, there is no shame in being addicted to things.

Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, just off the top of my head. How many people have to lose their lives to addiction. We know from Whitney’s mother that she tried rehab many times; what is it inside of people that makes them unable to stop. Even after treatment why is the pull so strong that people cant resist it. You’d think Whitney and Michael had perfect lives so why would they turn to drugs? We dont know what their lives were like so we cant judge them; however we can make the assumption that given the choice either or both of them would have been clean and sober if they could have. And would most likely be alive today. I think most people see addiction as a weakness, its not, its a disease.

So far I have been talking about celebrities, mostly rich who had the means to seek any kind of treatment they wanted. Let’s not forget about everyone else; the people living on the streets, addicted to heroin, the functioning alcoholic who cant stop drinking; the millions who are addicted to prescription medicine like Xanax, Valium, Ambien. Also the millions who are addicted to smoking and eating. This disease affects everyone from the richest of rich to the poorest of poor and everyone in between.

Why dont we know more about this disease. Even for the people that do come out and try to face their addictions many dont succeed. Its almost ironic with the cost of medical care that so many illnesses are caused by addictions that we havent yet found a way to help.

In the 1960s President Richard Nixon waged a “War on Drugs” which has been an incredible failure. It has served to fill prisons with young men of color for small quantities of pot. Not to get off subject, but every single person in prison for possession of marijuana should be released today. But drugs arent the problem; its how people interact with them thats the problem. Its how people deal with drinking, eating, what causes the addictive behavior? I remember watching Oprah years ago, she had a woman on who had that bariatric surgery and lost 250 pounds, but instead of eating she started compulsively having sex with men who were strangers. Again, addiction.

It’s time we devote more funds, attention, support and understanding for those who suffer from addiction. Its not just the people who die from it, many who are living through are suffering tremendously, as are their families. It’s time to look at addiction differently.

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2 thoughts on “It’s Time to Bring Addiction Out of the Closet

  1. Seeing this so prevalent among celebraties is indicative of the larger problem of addiction in our culture. For every “A List” star who dies from an overdose or checks into rehab, there are nameless thousands who share the same sad end or suffer without the glare of public spotlight. Addiction destroys lives.

    Mine was sexual addiction, and for 35+ years it dominated my life with behaviors I couldn’t control and was incapable to stop. The vicious double edge of addiction is that the very thing that is stealing your life is the only thing you trust to give you what you think you need to survive.

    My faith wasn’t enough to overcome it, because I needed to know the root cause. I wasn’t even making the connection between my behavior and the previous experiences in my life that were at its root. The addiction was merely a symptom.

    I documented my year of recovery in http://www.theyearigotmylifeback.wordpress.com I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you that I am no longer controlled by compulsory behaviors I can’t explain… I’m no longer a prisoner to mypast.

    I really believe that addiction and so many of our culture’s most painful problems could be solved by a more concentrated effort in funding, repairing, and upgrading the educational systems that are so inefficient and allow so many young people to slip through the cracks… but that’s another rant for another time!

    Thanks for your encouraging words and the invitation to share here, Andrew!

    Twitter: @JamesHammer7

  2. I’ve just recently kicked a bad opiate habit and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Our society is creating addicts and then throwing them away in jail unless they happen to die first. Stop the war on drugs and start spending some of that money on treatment instead of incarceration.

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