Friday, February 12, 2010

Enjoy The Veal

There is so many misconceptions about drug and alcohol addiction. I have heard since I was four that addicts use various chemicals to 'numb' the pain or take away their problems. There is nothing 'numbing' about getting high or drunk. It's actually quite the opposite.
Here's the scenario. You don't have a job. You don't have any money. Your wife has left you and taken your kids. You have a warrant because you couldn't afford to pay a traffic ticket and you can only find one of your shoes. You drink, or take a pain killer or smoke heroin and this is only possible because you have friends that will 'take care of you'.
Ten minutes later. I love the world. I can see my wife and my kids in my head and they are so beautiful. I don't have any money but it's okay because I'm not hungry anyway. I feel great. I am attractive, intelligent, I can lift heavy things and I can do math. Look how beautiful that highway over pass is. My shoe is awesome.
You aren't 'numbing' your feelings. Your feelings look completely manageable while you are high. Everything is not only okay, it's fantastic! You are suddenly alive with amazing, beautiful feelings and you are thrilled to be a part of the human race. It's extremely stimulating, not numbing.
Here's another idea that is completely wrong. Addicts are the people you see walking down the street mumbling obscenities. Actually, addicts are your wife. Your kid. Your brother. Most addicts can completely function in day to day life in such a way that not one single person would suspect they are high. And they can maintain this for a long period of time. Sometimes years.
When you go in to a restaurant, a pretty young girl shows you to your table. Then a perky waiter comes to your table filled with energy and explains the specials. Then there's the guy that fills your water and tea and the chef that is preparing your food. And finally, there is your date, that you are sitting across from, staring them right in the eye. There is a solid chance that at least half of these people are in some way altered. Yet, they hold a completely intelligent conversation, they are efficient while doing their job, and they all smell terrific. Does this mean that most people in across the country are drug addicts or alcoholics? No. But it does mean, if you change the chemicals in your brain too many days in a row, you are well on your way to walking down the street mumbling obscenities. Because NO ONE maintains forever.
Twelve step programs work. When an addict or alcoholic is struggling to stay clean, a twelve step program can be the connection to others that will help them stay on the path of sobriety. It could be the thing that saves their life. But if you are addicted to alcohol or drugs to a level that you need to be in a facility to get additional medical treatment or emotional help to begin to recover past detox, that is a whole different thing.
"All you need to do is ask for help." This is the biggest lie ever told as far as recovery and treatment and it continues to be told.
We live in the greatest country in the world. We are the 'elite'. But in regard to drug and alcohol treatment, we act like wealthy families that have a drug addict son that they are ashamed of so they put him 'away' somewhere so people don't find out that something has gone terribly wrong. Because he brings the family shame. So he's put somewhere where he can't humiliate the family and tarnish their reputation.
That has become the American way. 'These people', the drug addicts and alcoholics, we can't say there is a problem because we are America. Do something with these people. Put them in a room somewhere and lock the door and punish them so that we can continue to present ourselves as the 'elite'. We are the rich family that will do anything to avoid addressing the actual problem because it would cost money.
If you are fortunate enough to be a part of the 'elite' and you come from a family with a mound of cash, yes, you can get help. Every door in every treatment facility from LA to New York will be thrown open for you and they may have a parade in your honor because you 'asked for help'. But if you are poor, you can NOT get help. You will at some point go to prison or die because you are poor. When the commercials come on the television with photos of a beautiful treatment facility that is urging you to call them with that concerned supportive voice, if you are poor, they are not talking to you. They are talking to people who have a boat load of money and that is not you. You are not going to treatment at the facility on the ocean. You are not going to treatment at the facility in woods with horses and streams. There will be no parade. You are going to prison, or you are going to die. Twelve step programs work and if you really want to be clean, that is your absolute best bet. But don't think even for one second that a treatment facility is going to open the door to you. It will never happen. The playing field is not level and it never will be. Poor people are not valued in our society so if you die on the street of a drug overdose, eventually a city truck will come by and scrape you off the pavement as if the world never needed you in the first place.
So, for the people all over our country that ask themselves, 'Why don't they just get help'. That's why. Because there is no help. There is no help. I could write that forever and I don't think people would ever really believe me because they saw the commercial. The 'come and get help on the ocean' commercial? The only thing a poor drug addict is going to get on the ocean is more drugs. Enjoy the veal.

No comments: