Saturday, July 23, 2011

No Room for Humor in Addiction

There are so many things I want to say right now, and I’m trying to find the right way to say them. Moments after the first tweets that Amy Winehouse had passed wove their way into my timeline, the “jokes” started.

I’m not even going to give them a place here, for they shouldn’t have one.

I was not a huge fan of her music, I’m not realistically a “huge fan” of any musicians. I enjoy music, and can appreciate talent, but there are very few artists that I would spend money to go see. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a CD, or downloaded music. I listen to the radio – the one broadcast locally over regular old airwaves, not satellite. I flip between several stations, depending on the mood I’m in, keeping the mix of musical genres fresh.

So, all that being said, I’m writing a post about her. Only, it’s not about her.

It’s about addiction. It’s about knowing you have demons, and recognizing that you don’t actually have control over them.

Because, you see, addiction can be tricky. You don’t really even know that it’s there. Oh, you maybe have a “bad habit” but it’s not really an addiction. You can handle it, stop any time. It’s not like you’re a drunk, but one or two drinks after work? That’s nothing. Or, maybe you only have that cigarette when you’re out at the bar. Oh, and after a  good meal. And gosh, the only way that you actually get to take a break at work is if you’re one of the smokers – they let them have 10 minutes at least!

And if your demon is formed from something stronger? Say, perhaps a meth or a heroin? Once they have a hold of you, they fight letting go in ways you never thought possible. You try to hide the truth, you lie to yourself and those around you. You’re convinced that you are still in control. That YOU are making the decisions. Until it’s too late.

Perhaps your addiction is food. Or that computer you’re sitting at. Are you the adrenaline junkie, playing extreme sports, or riding the roller coasters, or jumping out of or off of crazy things? Addiction afflicts more of us than we may imagine, and the impact of that addiction obviously can have far more dire consequences in some circumstances, but that doesn’t change the root of this issue.

Addiction, true addiction, has far more control over you than you do over it. It’s hard to beat, and if you haven’t truly decided for yourself that you’re ready to beat it, all the people in the world telling you that you need help? They’re just pissing you off.

I wish that everyone facing addiction could see it as the illness that it is, and be willing to accept treatment, but it simply isn’t going to work that way. Until that person is ready to face their demons, or possibly has been damaged to the point that they are weak enough to not be able to fight those trying to help them, they’re not likely to find that healing.

I make these statements not as someone with a professional training in this area, but simply as one who has seen, listened and learned. If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, don’t give up hope – you CAN get there. More importantly, don’t judge someone based on their illness. Love and support them as they battle their demons, and pray. Hard.

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  1. Excellent post, Megan. I hurt for those that struggle with addiction, whatever firm that takes.
    RIP Amy :-(

  2. I read on a gossip site that it was potentially a seizure since her nervous system was such a mess from years of drug abuse and she was drinking so heavily. While death from such a public addiction is not a surprise, it shouldn't be treated as a joke. Death at such a young age is always a tragedy. Addiction that cannot be beat is always a tragedy.

    As someone who suffers from a "soft" addiction that is not taken seriously by most and is often glorified, it. is. hard. (Compulsive shopping addiction.) If you suffer from any addiction, seek support. And if anyone in your life suffers, offer your support. Not your judgment. It can make a world of difference.

    This was a beautiful post. Thank you.

  3. Thank you Megan. My brother is a recovering addict as are several other members of my family. The jokes aren't funny. Death is sad, no matter what the cause.

  4. This was a very poignant post. Addiction is probably something we all wrestle with in some form or another. Probably the saddest lesson out of Amy Winehouse's death is that it makes no difference whether you're famous or wealthy - only you can heal yourself.