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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Let's talk about 'dicts

Well, it's that time again kids..

Another installment of too many words from Nathan.

In this post I'm going to talk about addiction.

I have seen a lot of statuses concerning addiction, as well as the argument of whether or not it is a disease lately, so I'm going to take this opportunity to share my perspective.
Although I agree that addiction is the result of poor decision making and subsequently not taking responsibility for those decisions, as well as making excuses in order to indemnify oneself of that responsibility should one fail to rectify the behavior.
So yes, a choice.
With that being said.
By definition addiction, whether physical or mental, IS in fact a disease.
Just the same as depression (also a contended subject as to whether or not is a disease).

Why is there so much confusion and controversy?
Well it goes back to what a good majority of us define disease as.
When someone hears the word disease they most likely think of some infectious pathogen or bacteria.

Although those fall under the umbrella of disease yes, but the definition is much broader.
It's etymology comes from the French word desaise which literally means dis-ease, not at ease, or lack of ease.
It is the state of not being at ease that can drive a person to drink or do drugs.
It is because someone is in a state of depression that they can say they are in a state of dis ease.

Make more sense?
The definition literally is this:

A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
A particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.
synonyms: illness, sickness, ill health;

So just because we may interpret it in short form does not mean the definition is truncated to our understanding.
Without getting too carried away with the science and psychology of what causes addiction let's examine what addiction IS.
It boils down to the fact that, like depression, addiction is a disease of the mind that can be exacerbated by chemicals and/or hormones present in our system.
It is a complex dynamic of biochemistry, personality, genetic predisposition, state of mind, thought processes, habitual thinking patterns and how we handle environmental and social stressors.

In other words, it is simply a repetitive behavior that is ultimately executed by choice that can morph into a neuro-chemical habit.
I think the area we have contention with is not the definition of disease but the context in which we interpret disease mixed with the anger and frustration we have with addicts and their infuriating ability to dodge accountability or responsibility for their actions and/or behavior.
Looking from the outside in, it's clear that an addict is their own worst enemy.
It is also incredibly frustrating to see someone self destruct while you helplessly sit on the side lines.

Trust me, I know.

I have lost many friends to addiction; one just last week, another a couple months ago and a very close friend in August, and that's just in the last 6 months.

I've been that friend pleading for them to get help.
Offered help.
Even offered to go with them to counseling and pay for it out of my pocket.
And the most frustrating of all is knowing the entire time that I can't do a damn fucking thing to help or stop them until they decide to do it for themselves.
When you say addiction isn't a disease you're belittling them on a deeper personal level.
It's like telling a person who suffers from chronic depression that they're only depressed because they choose to be.

You might as well tell them they are weak and gutless and have no self control and are worthless.
You're not telling them anything they don't think themselves already.
You are reinforcing the thought patterns and thinking that has manifested the addiction.
You're taking away the idea that even if they might not be strong enough, they can find the power to overcome beyond themselves.

For those who feel powerless it is this idea that bestows them with the power to overcome.
Don't rob them of possibly the only hope they have because you feel they are just making excuses.
Also something to think about:
We attack the things we dislike about ourselves.
Whether through the belief we exhibit it, or through the fear that we might or will.
I'm not talking specifically about addiction here, but the perceived weaknesses associated that lie beneath.
Think about that and let that thought stay your tongue next time you ever feel the urge to critique some one else.

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