A lot of misconceptions exist surrounding addicts and addiction. People often consider addiction a choice, saying that it is not a disease. Addiction is genetic, and can be passed down the same as heart disease or cancer. Addiction is a mental illness similar (or in addition to) depression, anxiety, and more. Addiction is a medical condition and needs to be taken seriously.
One of the celebrities that I love and follow celebrated 6 years of sobriety from a substance that he struggled an addiction with. He posted regarding this acheivement and wrote, “Everyday I work hard to stay clean, healthy and aware … it’s an ongoing, full-time job to stay clean.”
I think it’s important to bring awareness to this community and what they go through. I know that the opioid crisis has been making news over the past several years, but I am talking on a personal level. Internal and external battles happen every single day, and so much of it is wildly outside of their control. Just because you are not actively using does not mean that you are not struggling. I was told once by an addict that addiction is the disease and drugs/alcohol are just the symptoms.
One thing I learned through being close to someone who struggled with addiction is that it is a hard community to be a part of. There is a lot of bad news that comes with being an addict. I heard constant updates about a friend relapsing, someone going to jail/prison, or the worst news of all – someone losing their life. When all you hear is bad news, and you see your friends battle and struggle, I’m sure its difficult to continue on with your own fight.
This is why support for this community is so important. Be kind and understanding. Celebrate victories and achievements. Share stories, quotes or other sources of inspiration. Find reasons to continue the fight, and nurture them.
And most importantly, spread hope. Whether you are an addict yourself or know a friend or loved one who struggles with addiction, or even if you have no experience at all, hope is the most important thing. Hope gives everyone a reason to continue to fight and to overcome obstacles.
I encourage everyone to take the time to educate yourself on addiction and what the journey of recovery looks like. Support those in the community and spread hope for healing.
Remember that every single person on the planet is fighting a battle that you may know absolutely nothing about.
Thanks for reading.