As I lay here at 4:30 in the morning, grappling with incessant waves of insomnia, my mind starts to wander. I notice that this is typical of my brain when I cannot sleep. This time of the morning tends to be when I write my blog posts. My husband has just left for work, both kids are asleep, I can write without interruption.
I was going to write about making amends and my personal issues and problems with contacting people too apologize for something from five or ten years ago. As I started to write however, my phone went off. I had re-posted a status on Facebook that was originally put up by a relapse prevention page. It stated, “Addiction makes smart people do the dumbest things.” So someone that is apart of my husband’s family, responds to this seemingly innocuous post by saying, “Smart people aren’t dumb enough to become addicts”.
Whoa! Are you for real right now? Sadly, though he was, and he continued to argue this. “Mind over matter,” he wrote, and ,”It’s called willpower”. Oh, willpower. I never thought of that. I didn’t ever think to just stop. Silly me, here I have been struggling with addiction for a little over a decade, and I could have just stopped. Right.
This is part of the uphill battle that clean drug addicts have once they try to get their lives back in order. I even listed for this oh-so-ignorant man geniuses (like Freud, Einstein, Hemmingway, Dr. William Stewart Halstead -a.k.a. The Father of Modern Surgery, any I listed many more), but he had already decided that he were better than all of them, better than all addicts. What kills me is that I know that I am smarter than this man, but because I have struggled with addiction, I will always be deemed inferior in his eyes (not that I give a flying fuck).
The issue at it’s core is an issue of prejudices and discrimination. It is a fear of the “unknown”, the “different”. We as addicts, are the unknown factor. By keeping us as a lower class citizen people are able to project any kind of hatred they want to. A blog that I follow called, “Heroin is My Heroin”, wrote a post called, “Get To Know A Junkie Day”. She was writing somewhat in jest, but was making some very good points. What she was getting at was that a day that was for ‘junkie awareness’ dwelling could find out what a drug addict is really like.
It is all too simple for someone who has never had to struggle with the hell that is addiction, to simplify it as a matter of morals or intelligence. By pushing all addicts into a little box of the lowest levels of society it allows them to think that they could never be boxed into these categories that they themselves have made up. They are not stupid, they are not bad, immoral people, they would never become an addict. They would never “allow” themselves to become a member of this lower caste.
It is much easier to discriminate against, to perpetuate mindless hate, it is much easier if you keep those people nameless and faceless. Once you realize how many addicts there are out there. How many inventions, how many great albums, books, movies, works of art have been given to the world via the addict.
This is similar to the unfounded notions that addicts are all in the twenties, they do not have kids, jobs, families. They are homeless scum that does nothing, thinks about nothing except drugs. This simply is not true. All of do things at we would otherwise not do while we are in active addiction, but even then, in a state of active addiction, we are not defined simply by the bad things that we do or have done in order to obtain our drugs. We will always take the past of least resistance. Addicts are not all immoral people that want to go out and rob banks, break into houses, rob people, or whatever it is that people think addicts do all day. Yes, there is a percentage of people using drugs that are just straight up bad people, stupid people, but I do not think that that percentage is necessarily any higher than that of the rest of society. There are just some bad people out there, some stupid people out there in the world. Just don’t try to pretend that you are better or smarter because you have been fortunate enough to have never have had to deal with addiction.