Lots of focus these past few years on the 'opiate epidemic'. People running around with their hair on fire, starting little community groups to figure out what to do and how to help. Yet our local county court still doesn't believe in treatment, or understand addiction. Neither does the DA, or many law enforcement agencies. They don't buy into the whole 'disease concept'. Lots of people still think the whole 'disease concept' is just an excuse for lazy immoral stupid people who want to be junkies, who make that choice.
The ironic part is that many addicts don't 'buy into' the disease concept either. They can quit anytime they want. They just need to be left alone and when they're ready they'll quit and like Bo Peeps sheep they'll come trotting home to live happily ever after. Fat chance.
But until we, those of us who are recovering addicts, start speaking out and telling people we're recovering addicts, that treatment does work, that there is hope and that addiction is a treatable brain disease, I'm afraid not much is going to change. My feeling is that too many people hide behind the principle of anonymity found in 12 step support groups. That whole "press, radio and film" part falls away and recovering folks say, "Well, it's an anonymous program."
Yeah, no. In my not so humble opinion there's still a great deal of shame surrounding addiction, and the folks hiding behind the principle of anonymity still feel it's bite.
I think the recovery community needs to take a good long look at the gay community. They didn't hide, they didn't use euphemisms to describe themselves. They owned it and put it in people faces. "We're here, we're queer, get used to it." They were proud of themselves, popular perceptions be damned. And things have changed.
By the way. This young ladies sentiments apply equally as well for the crackhead and lush and any other substance or activity you want to insert in there. Addiction is a beast, and it may take those of us who have and continue to tame the beast to step out into the light and say, "This is what an addict looks like." Everybody knows what they think an addict looks like.
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