Score another one for mental health and addiction. Another life, that is. A life that never had to end. Another tragedy. Another story. People are dying every few minutes from drug overdose. When is enough going to be enough? How many people have to die before we are willing to stand up as a society and say NO MORE! The disease of addiction is a very treatable illness. Yet the stigma and shame attached, keep those with it from coming forward.
We all hear about the relapse, or tragic loss of life when a celebrity dies. But addiction doesn’t just happen to celebrities. It happens in our own back yards, to our children and loved ones. Our friends and family are dying! It happens to all of us. It doesn’t matter your age, color, gender, profession, address, religion, or income.
Scary thing is, it keeps happening and nothing is being done about it.
It’s just easier to look away. After all addiction isn’t pretty, let’s face it – it’s downright tragic. And secretly don’t we think… why don’t they just smarten up, straighten up, and clean up. Maybe it’s a moral issue? Have we become apathetic? Or desensitised? Are their families to blame? It must be someone’s fault? Who the hell caused this?
We are coming at this all wrong people!
At the very moment I write this someone is contemplating the idea of ending his, or her, own life. The depth of shame and hopelessness involved in being addicted is unimaginable. And one that is far too heavy to carry alone. As I finish this sentence, someone is ending theirs.
We can’t wish this away. Or love it to death. We can’t protect it or ignore it. No one with a mental illness and/or addiction disorder would ever choose to live this way. Problem users can stop. Addicted individuals can’t. This is not a weak willed individual. Nor is this is a bad individual. This is a sick individual. And one who judges themselves far harsher than anyone else ever would.
Wake up! I beg you. Get an education, get support, and get your head out of the sand. Take it from one who knows. I sobered up nineteen years ago and I’m not afraid to talk about it. With intensive treatment, education and ongoing support, this illness is treatable. I see it every day. People do get well, they do recover. And they go on to be successful, significant members in our society. Home lives move from an environment of dysfunction to stability, promoting wellness for future generations. If you think you have a problem, chances are you probably do.
This illness is progressive and terminal in nature. In other words it gets worse, not better, over time. Like any other illness the sooner it’s treated the more successful the outcome will be. Don’t let yourself become another statistic. There’s no shame in getting well. There are mental health, drug and alcohol resources in every community. You don’t even need to identify yourself over the phone. You can find the number in your phone book or online. You can talk to your doctor, a family member, your pastor, or a friend. Here are just a few examples of the links available. http://www.drugandalcoholhelpline.ca/home/links
Hope really is just a phone call away.
Addiction effects one out of ten and that number is growing. We all know and love someone with this illness. If you had cancer you wouldn’t wait. Don’t wait now. It’s time we start talking about it. There is a way out. And it’s easier than you might think. But you must begin. We need to have this conversation. Somebody needs to start it.