Bad Guys or Addicts

People don’t understand addiction. I don’t claim to understand it either, but I have enough of an understanding to not blame the friends of an addict for the addict’s bad choices. And I’m not even sure that they are choices.

Tonight I was watching one of my guilty pleasures, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. You don’t have to live under a rock to know that Khloe, possibly my favorite K, is struggling to help her almost ex-husband recover from a well-publicized and near-fatal overdose.

Until Lamar’s very public overdose in a Las Vegas brothel, his struggle with addiction was merely rumored in the tabloids. While it was very much part of the Kardashian reality, it was not part of their show. It was not something they posted on Snapchat, Insta, Twitter, or depicted in any of their Kimojis.

The breakdown of Khloe and Lamar’s marital bliss was kept from the cameras. I don’t blame Khloe. What to share, how much to share, and even when to share are never easy decisions. I also credit her for not only standing by him, but for seeming to want to help him stay sober.

But can she help him stay sober? There we see even the Kardashian machine struggle with a question the rest of us cannot answer because if we are to believe the experts, we can’t help an addict stay sober. They have to want it for themselves. Yet there is Khloe, who has beaten the whole weight thing, for some, an even bigger issue than drugs, setting Lammy up in a lifestyle designed to keep him away from drugs, and it still is not enough.

On the most recent KUWTK, or whatever the abbreviation is, Khloe is bummed that Lammy seems to be heading in the wrong direction. She doesn’t put this on the addict she loves. She doesn’t blame Lammy for his choices. She blames the crowd he’s hanging with, even calling them bad guys. I’m sure she’s even sent a few of her not so cryptic tweets.

 Lamar Odom, her not yet ex-husband, OD’d in a Vegas brothel. It was touch and go, and many, including the Kardashians, believed he had hours to live. No judgment here but if Lamar overdosed in a brother surrounded by prostitutes, is that really Boy Scout behavior. Why is she calling other addicts the bad guys?

As someone who loves an addict, I totally get the desire to lock up our loved ones and keep them away from all the bad influences. As someone who loves an addict, actually, more than one, I get that my addict is also one of the bad influences. I get that there is no locking him up anywhere. I can only hope that he will be one of the few who gets the right help and somehow stays sober, even if I am not quite sure what the right help really is.

I can only pray that he will not overdose after a period of staying clean. And I can pray some more that the sobriety will last. And that he will not overdose after a period of staying clean. And I can follow that with some more prayers that he will be the one out of ten that does not relapse. And yes, that his relapse won’t include an overdose.

So I have no desire to call out Khloe Kardashian. I think it’s admirable that she stood by Lamar. Nobody could have blamed her had she chosen to walk away. But after watching the show, I was disappointed to hear her describe his friends as the bad guys.

They aren’t bad guys. They are addicts. Just like Lamar. Just like the addicts I love. There is still no cure. The drugs that lead to heroin addiction are still legal and available after a doctor’s visit and at your local pharmacy. Say thank you to the FDA. They are your bad guys. There is too much money in addiction. The rehab industry, which is not based in science, not evidence-based, is a billion dollar industry. Until that changes we will keep hearing a narrative that calls the addicts we love the bad guys.

I hate a lot of things my addict has done, but he’s not the bad guy. He’s just one of the many millions with a disease that nobody seems to understand.







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