|RIP Whitney Houston|
And not just aimed at Ms. Houston. But at addicts in general.
It saddens (and, frankly, sickens) me.
You know, I thought that we had made inroads at being accepted from when I got sober 21 years ago. But people still don't get it.
They don't get addiction at all. They don't get that it's not a lack of willpower. It's a disease. It's not that you don't want to stop. It's that you can't.
Whitney Houston didn't suffer from a lack of willpower. Are you kidding me? She was a world-class singer. She was a superstar. And she worked her ass off to get there.
She was a strong woman. Anyone who doubts that is an idiot. (No, that's not a subjective opinion. You're an idiot.)
She knew how to make sacrifices to get what she wanted. You have to be in order to make it to the level of fame that she had reached.
She said publicly many times that she wanted to stop using. So how could you possibly think that if her addiction was within her control she wouldn't have stopped?
As an aside, wouldn't it be a kick in the pants for all the people who've said nasty things about her because of her addiction if it were found that she died from something totally unrelated to drugs or alcohol? You think that they'd take back what they've said?
Nah, me neither. Why admit when you're wrong? Only recovering addicts are held to that standard... [rolling eyes]
But that's not the point. Sorry... Shiny object...
Addicts who die, particularly famous ones, always seem to bring the willpower versus disease theory back to the forefront.
The best way that I can explain it is this...
Look, addiction is a terminal disease. Just like any other. There are treatments that can halt or even reverse the progression of the disease. But they only work if you try them, stick with them and don't give up.
Just like any other terminal disease, if you don't take the medicine, it usually doesn't go away on its own. And, just like any other terminal disease, sometimes the medicine is not enough. Sometimes it's not effective for you. Sometimes you die anyway.
People get their panties in a wad and say, "It's not like cancer."
And it isn't.
Look, cancer is a different kind of disease but let's look at something like lung cancer. You argue that addiction is different because you did it to yourself. So, you're a smoker for 50 years. You've got lung cancer. How is that different?
Hey, some people smoke their whole lives and never get lung cancer. And others smoke for a couple of years and do. And some people never smoke and get lung cancer.
Doesn't make it less of a disease.
Addiction is the same.
Really it is.
Addicts need to have the desire to recover to actually succeed but, in and of itself, the desire is not enough. That's the difference between an addict and a frat boy.
It's about the compulsion and the mental illness that accompanies it. Not everyone who gets high is an addict. Not everyone who spends time surfing internet porn is a sex addict. Not everyone who gets wasted on Saturday nights is an alcoholic.
An addict is something different. So, what makes one person an addict and another (who uses the same amount) not? It's the predisposition. It has to be.
People who have a predisposition to become addicts will find a way to be addicted to something. For some it's drugs, alcohol, sex, food, work, the Internet, exercise... You name it.
Some are more acceptable or "healthier" than others, but they're addictions all the same.
For the person who thinks that a belief in the disease/genetic aspect of addiction is just an excuse for people to relapse, I will tell you this. There's always an excuse available if you want to relapse. People who really want one will find it.
Discounting the reality of the disease doesn't help people who really want to get or stay sober.
This probably goes for life in general, and addicts in particular, but try to show a little charity of spirit. If you don't know what it's like, you don't know what it's like.
Try and think of when you tried your hardest at something... gave it all you had... and failed. What if it had killed you? Would your death have hurt your family less?
Would it have made your life any less meaningful? Would you have liked that single moment to define your entire legacy to the world?
Practice a little "do unto others" folks. It sure as hell wouldn't be the thing that kills you. Compassion never does.
Just Keep Coming Back
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