Sunday, September 12, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 20

I'm behind again so here's Day 20's prompt...

Day 20 → Your views on Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs & Alcohol have had a huge impact on my life. As I've discussed in previous posts, my mom is a recovering addict alcoholic who now has 20 years clean & sober. I've seen how drugs and alcohol were a part of her (and others in my life) decent into the lowest of lows. Yet contrary to what you may believe, I do not blame the drugs or alcohol specifically. While they had a hand in her decent, they were only a part of the problem. I believe that the combination of underlying problems (which she had not dealt with), her biological/sociological propensity for addiction, and the substances potentially addictive qualities together were what lead my mom down that destructive path. For my mom to live a healthy life, she needed to not only stop feeding her addiction, but also deal with the issues in her life which she was using the drugs and alcohol to medicate. I do not feel that the removal of drugs and alcohol alone would have made her healthy again.

I believe that drugs and alcohol in and of themselves are not always a problem. In my opinion, they do inherently have the potential to be addictive (some more so than others). Yet I also believe that many people who do not have the biological/sociological propensity for addiction can use them on occasion (and with limitations) without experiencing these addictive qualities. I think there is a spectrum of how drugs and alcohol can impact your life that isn't dependent on level of use. I feel that each person's place on this spectrum is specific to them - their biology, their current level of use, their experiences/history, etc.

Some confessions - 

- The first time I did drugs I was 12 years old. I don't remember the first time I had alcohol but I know by 12 I was sneaking drinks on occasion with friends. 

- I have lived with two different drug dealers at separate points in my life. Both times I was aware of it.

- During a few years of my life I took both drugs and alcohol to extreme excess. I have taken drugs and not even known what they were. I have overdosed twice.

- I was unable to attend my mom's 10 year sobriety celebration because I was laying in a bathtub, unconscious from having taken "the wrong pill" from a stranger we had met and partied with the night before.

- I have made incredibly bad choices with regards to both drugs and alcohol of which I am ashamed.

- I stopped using drugs about 9 years ago. At that time, I changed how I relate to drugs and alcohol in my own life. While I was never and addict or alcoholic, I am very conscious now of my decisions regarding both.

- Someone very close to me uses drugs daily and I struggle with how I feel about it. I debate with myself on how much/little I think it really impacts his/her life.

- As a result of my experiences, I will always be as supportive of those suffering from drugs/alcohol (go to meetings with them, lend an ear, etc.). I will also always be honest with someone when I feel there's a problem. While I realize I can't change things for him/her, I could not live with myself if I didn't say something, offer options, etc. Nevertheless, I know there be times when someone isn't willing to get help/make changes that I need to remove myself from the situation because I cannot stand by and watch someone hurt themselves again.

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