Addiction.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about addiction, in large part because of my own father’s struggle with alcoholism. I don’t think I really have any say about addiction. I haven’t struggled with one personally nor have I any training or education about it. I only have a couple decades with an alcoholic parent and while it’s nothing to actually struggling with addiction, it’s still hard. It’s hard to know that the person I knew as my dad is often no longer here.

The way in which society treats alcoholics and people with other addictions is awful. We shame and act on misunderstanding and fear. We try to mask everything as out of concern but in reality, we do so out of disgust and hate. Clinics that help with addiction treatments are often run out of neighborhoods all over the country, with the idea that they bring crime. This makes it harder for those struggling to get the help that they might need.

Princess Harmony Rodriguez wrote about the viral photo of the two overdosing parents over at Black Girl Dangerous, saying that making the situation public does nothing but make it more difficult for addicts to seek help. Shame does nothing to help people – in fact, it does the exact opposite. Shannon Luders-Manuel wrote about why the public shaming of addiction needs to stop and cited studies of how shame actually has a profoundly negative effect.

In writing this, I wanted to read and share the writings of people who have struggled or continue to struggle with addiction. In any sort of conversation around issues like addictions, reading and centering the voices of those most impacted is so important. So here are some of the voices I read recently:

Resources:

Trying to unlearn my own biases and stigma against addiction has been hard but I know how necessary it is to really support not only my dad but those in my life both now and in the future who are struggle with an addiction. I’m working to change my language and understanding about addiction so that I don’t further the stigma and shame already out there. Coming to the table with my own anger and resentment against my dad helps no one. It eats away at me and destroys my relationship with him while also making it impossible for him to trust me with anything.

If you are struggling with addiction and/or trying to stay sober, I believe in you. I don’t know what you’re going through nor can I even pretend to know but I still believe in you. There are groups and individuals out there in the world that can help.

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