I remember in fifth grade learning about addiction. Instantly it was villainized. Unfortunately, the majority of D.A.R.E. programs simply inspire anxiety and fear. Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer my kid not get addicted to drugs.
I also don’t want them to live in constant fear of being one of the statistics or horror stories their guidance counselor showed them.
Somewhere there is balance, I believe.
Interestingly enough, D.A.R.E. was not my first experience with addiction.
Watching my mom drink Diet Coke was.
Today, I sooooo get my mom. I’m addicted to Mountain Dew. How do I know this? The moment things go wrong, the moment stress supercedes my ability to cope? I stop for a 32 ounce.
Now, there are much worse things to which I could be addicted. There are worse coping mechanisms.
That doesn’t make my addiction any less harmful. Other addictions might be more harmful. It doesn’t change that I am addicted and it hurts me.
Comparison is the Thief of Compassion
There is a quote from someone somewhere that goes like this…
Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I would venture to say its also the thief of compassion. Comparison allows me to lie to myself about the problems I have. Its easier to ignore my problems when I can say they are not as bad as someone else’s. In reverse, I also can destroy myself comparing how awful my problem is.
More than all of this though, it’s really easy for me to think I’m better than someone else simply because my addiction is legal.
The fiction surrounding addiction is this:
It can’t happen to me.
Now that is a myth. It can happen to anyone and chances are many of us would be able to say we are addicted to something or another. When you boil it down, addiction isn’t this giant, scary thing.
Addiction is a coping mechanism gone awry.
This is what I know for sure…
I am very fortunate that the worst thing my mother did was drink a Diet Coke when she felt tired, in pain or stressed. Had it been something else – something like heroin?My life would be very different.
Addiction definitely comes down to choices, but it also comes down to how pain and stress were handled in our homes as children.
The choices made in my home when I was a child have made all the difference.