Addiction is not a Choice
Yesterday, we all heard that Demi Lovato was rushed to the hospital because of a heroin overdose. Thankfully, it appears she's going to make it. To me, it just further illustrates how addiction can touch ANYONE of any walk of life. It's everywhere, people.
Sadly, I've also seen some pretty horrific comments this morning- from people concerning addiction. How it's a "choice".
I know I can talk myself blue in the face about this topic, and there will still be naysayers. But, because I feel compelled, I'm going to try anyway.
Doctors and researchers (people who are far better educated and informed than you and me) have determined a few things about Addiction.
Fact: Drugs and alcohol “hijack” the brain of the addict, The surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine — the “reward” triggered by chemical use — takes on the very aspect of a survival need.
Fact: Drug Addicts are not weak-minded. Their brains lie to them and back that lie up with very real physical symptoms, convincing them that they NEED to use.
Fact: Craving is defined as “an intense, emotional, obsessive thought process that occurs in addicts. It does not occur in non-addicts, or even in bad abusers. It is a form of neural activity that is visible on sophisticated brain scans.”
Craving for an addict causes severe suffering, is all-consuming, completely involuntary, annihilates good judgment and distorts the ability to exercise choice.
Someone told me recently that she smokes cigarettes, that she could choose to stop, so it's not a disease. I agree. But when she develops emphysema or lung cancer from smoking for years, is that not a disease?
Addicts start out using drugs as a choice. Then it became a compulsion, then it became a terrible disease.
I'm not asking you to change your mind on whether TRUE ADDICTION is a disease. What I AM asking you to do is just find some simple compassion and recognize that there is a drug addiction problem in the United States.
I've listened to my son (my strong, brave son) WEEP because he wants to stop using. I've watched him rub and rub at his arms because his brain is telling him that his VEINS PHYSICALLY ACHE from wanting to use. From addiction craving. I've watched him sweat pools from the craving, from trying to withstand it, to not give in and use. Because USING would make all of those things go away. NOT USING when you are an addict, takes super-human strength. They are not weak.
If someone is an addict (not a recreational user, not a non-addict), then stopping isn't a simple choice.
Trust me. I've watched my son cry, and beg God to help him, to take this cup from him. He's begged me, too. "Mama, I don't want to do this, I don't want to be like this. I hate myself." Does that sound like a simple choice to you?
Using drugs in the first place was a choice.
Eventually, it becomes an addiction.
So yes, if you want to look at it as a choice in the first place, I can agree with that. It was a bad decision.
But who among us HASN'T made a bad decision?
They don't deserve to die for that.