Picture
     A good friend of mine who is in recovery from alcohol abuse was recently commenting on some of my blog postings. He was quite forthright and expressed to me he liked reading my postings and got a lot from them, and I mentioned that I was quite appreciative of his positive comments. Then he paused a moment and asked if I minded if he could offer some criticism. I, of course, said please, I am always open to any helpful commentary, in fact, I welcome such. He stated that I do express a lot of understanding, empathy, and love in my blog postings, which he appreciated. But, perhaps I could at times write with a bit more force, more toughness. His feeling is that individuals that are dealing with addiction issues sometimes need to hear some real straight talk, not harsh, mind you, but stringent, right to the point kind of talk. I thanked him and conveyed that I would consider his suggestion and deeply reflect upon it, which I have. I feel he has a good point and I think I know what he means.

When anyone has just entered upon the first days and weeks of an attempted recovery from addiction or alcoholism, I feel it is so important to receive support and compassion from their support group. Whether it is a traditional AA meeting, a Smart Recovery meeting, or an Intensive Outpatient Treatment program, the understanding, and fellowship that someone receives are so needed, and it is always real and sincere.  Those first few days trying to remove oneself from using are by no means easy, and you feel so vulnerable and fragile. Thus, support during this period is essential and is entirely forthcoming, and any person considering entering upon the recovery path needs to know just how much care, and encouragement will greet you immediately. The entire recovery fellowship is terrific, and the people you will meet and come in contact with are indeed the ‘salt of the earth.’

So, how about some tough talk, okay? If you are a person who is continuing to drink or use and are having problems with such use, please listen up. Your drinking and using are just going to get worse. Addiction will ultimately destroy your life, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And, the terrible destruction does not end with just you. Spouses, significant others, friends, family, business associates – all will be affected, in one way or another, with varying degrees of intensity, by your addiction. What becomes so frustrating and often infuriating for those around you, is that you can stop and get help – yet, too many, often refuse to get the help they need, help that is so close by.

Addiction, as we should all know by now, has no boundaries – it affects people from all walks and stages of life, regardless of race, economic class, age or sex. The attention that the opioid crisis is finally receiving now in this country, Canada, the UK, as well as other affected countries are evidently bringing to light the urgent severity of this emergency. As much as there have been continual strides made by law enforcement over the past decades to curb illegal drugs entering our country, there is another alarming component contributing to this crisis, major pharmaceutical firms. This outright conspiring between major pharmaceutical companies and unethical, licensed doctors, freely distributing pain medications, has fueled the epidemic leading directly to less expensive, illegal heroin and crack cocaine use. The motivation behind this is greed and money, whether for the drug cartels or those involved with the pharmaceutical industry.

Additional contributing factors to our opioid crisis have to do with improper health-care in our country, especially for those who cannot afford better coverage. Pain meds have been prescribed freely and copiously to people who are actually in need of physical therapy or other types of treatments. Bottom line, many people are making fortunes at the expense of human life. Is this criminal, oh yes, it is criminal. But, it is more than this – it is savage and despicable and inhumane. This dilemma represents another aspect of our failing society – we have lost track of the importance of each human being. It is quite apparent that there are too many greedy people in this world, from members of the drug cartel to street gangs to professional doctors and nicely attired board members tending watch over the complicit pharmaceutical companies, which have not only lost their moral compass but do not desire to have one.

When I think of the ‘shame’ that some people in our society wish to cast upon those who suffer from addiction issues, I become quite dismayed, often frustrated with individuals willing to do such labeling. It shows ignorance and total lack of compassion. Shouldn’t their attention and focus of ire be towards those that have conspired surreptitiously to produce the opioid crisis? At least, the enormous, record-breaking profits garnered over the years by individual firms should be partially returned to help those suffering at the hands of such spurious, shady company policies. The time has come for these pharmaceutical companies to try and make at least some reparations for their egregious and deplorable policies. Where are the law-makers in this country and why have these companies been allowed to drive this opioid epidemic into such an out-of-control frenzied crisis?

Now, back to those who are right now, using and drinking their lives into further hell. I believe it is always essential for anyone suffering from alcoholism or addiction issues, to take some personal responsibility and ownership for their actions. Indeed, alcohol and pain meds are readily available – if someone wants to drink or use, they can find a way to do such. But, this is not to place ‘blame’ on people who drink and use. It is, however, important for anyone entering recovery to take a good look at themselves, acknowledge their role in getting to the place they are now, and take an inventory of those people that they have harmed and hurt by falling prey to addiction. It does not help a person struggling with alcoholism, for instance, to say that there are beer ads on TV at every point and there is a bar right across the street from where they live. Indeed, a person now using heroin is not going to eradicate their addiction by merely blaming the pharmaceutical industry for the multitudes of pain meds they received or still might be capable of obtaining from legally written prescriptions. Nor, is it even worth mentioning the other big culprit, drug dealers. The world of drug dealing, buying, and selling, is an alleyway leading to an awful life, for all involved. It’s a filthy business, and often the drugs sold are dirty and can kill one.

So, continuing with the tougher talk on this blog – well, if you are using these drugs and are addicted, or if you have crossed over that ambiguous boundary from alcohol abuse to alcoholism, your life is undoubtedly filled with a sense of hopelessness, desperation, sadness, and sorrow. And, I do feel for you, very much so.  It is an awful place to be. Your living surroundings, if you are not homeless, are probably a disheveled mess, with empty bottles, cans everywhere, piling up. Or you might have used needles, spoons, candles, the usual mix of paraphernalia – all the utensils belonging to a destructive dead-end. Your thoughts filled with anxiousness and strategies for acquiring your next fix or drink. Chances are, your family and friends have disowned you, you could be jobless or hiding your addiction and barely holding on to your employment. Your obsession is destroying your body; you wake up nauseous, trembling all over, terrible headaches, fever, chills, dehydrated, barely wanting or willing to gaze out towards the sun and see why you are alive. Your mind becomes wasted, cluttered with debris, and chatter, self-loathing with one thought in mind - how to score your next fix or get another measly bottle of cheap liquor. You have become disconnected from any spirituality, and you are a lost soul. Folks, this state I am describing is earthly hell. Words here are unable to express the direness of this abyss.

But, there is help for you. Please listen up. Do not give up on yourself. However, you must make the first move - and, you can do it. Detoxing and embarking on a road free from this misery is available. You are worth it, despite what your inner, self-loathing messages are telling you. Please let the following thoughts into your consciousness – you are a human being, you are a precious creation – you, your mind, body, and soul are wonders of the ages, magnificent beyond imagination. You have lost your way on the path of life. Many people lose sight of their inner selves and fall into addiction. It is so easy for this to happen in this day and age. There are many people in recovery, ready to embrace you and nurture you back to living life again. Forgive yourself, let some light and fresh air enter into your body and soul. Let love come into your heart again and realize you do have another chance at living free from addiction and alcohol. You are worth it, beyond any monetary value. Your life and soul are priceless. I am sending love out to those who are suffering in this moment, and I am in fact, writing these words of love, understanding, support, and compassion – to you – to you – please take this moment and realize you can get help. You are not destined to die from an overdose or because you no longer care if you live or not. Let that small voice of your soul trickle a reminder through your foggy consciousness, that you are significant, worthy – you are loved, and it is up to you to discover this. To do so, you must first care for yourself, and take that first step towards recovering your body, mind, and soul. Till next time……