Addiction was in my rearview. At least I thought so. Everyone is talking about Coronavirus right now. No disrespect to anyone, but that will be sorted out, and our kids will still be addicted. And yeah, people will make money from Coronavirus, but not like they will off of the opioid crisis. Sackler family, I mean you. And a lot of others.
I’ll never forget the denial. Yeah, so much denial, because if you haven’t lived it, you cannot possibly imagine. Denial is your best friend. Nobody wants to believe that someone they love, their kid, kids who were like their kids would steal from you. I mean, you give them everything, and then things disappear. Little things at first. Little things like spare change, dollar bills, change jars. Then it becomes bigger things. I’m aging myself, but, VCR’s, video game consoles, I don’t know, things that are now outdated. Of course, there’s also jewelry, money, etc.
So the denial was big, like, oh maybe I didn’t just take $100 out of the cash machine. Or, maybe I threw out that game console. Even while the reality is that you didn’t, and you know it.
So recently a kid from my neighborhood posted something on social media. He’s in recovery. He wishes that people talked about it. He wishes that people talked about it back when he was in high school, and an addict. He wishes he hadn’t lost so many friends to it. Oh, his high school was denying that there were drugs in the school even while many of the students were in some form of treatment service.
Then there’s the kids that I have loved since they were way high, as in height, not feeling groovy, kids who are no longer a part of my life, not because that’s how I want it, but because that’s the nature of addiction. There has been loss, too much loss. But there has been a different type of loss, like the kids who grew up in my home, kids I loved, loved like they were a part of my family, because they were, always will be.
I don’t know where all of them are now. I often wonder when I go to a funeral, when I hear of an arrest. I do know some were recently in jail. Some have relapsed. And I’d give anything to go back to when they were sitting in my living room laughing about stupid stuff and eating pizza and teasing each other and, well, back to a time when my living room was filled with love.
I’ve seen some at funerals and hugged them, and hugged them again and told them I love them, because I do. But love is not a cure. If it was, there’d be no crisis.
The Coronavirus doesn’t scare me, maybe because nothing is scarier than watching a kid you love go from blue to pasty white as he is overdosing, praying that the ambulance gets there with a Narcan shot and he doesn’t die. Nothing is scarier than going to bed at night and not being able to sleep because you’re getting up every ten minutes to check breath. Nothing is scarier than what becomes a daily routine of, well, just being grateful that there are no funerals to attend to this week. And nothing is scarier than the denial from all of the people who don’t live it who think it is just a matter of you saying no to your kid. Or the people who supposedly love you and your kid who have lots of helpful advice like, “just tell him no,” or, “Did you take away his Playstation?” Those people are assholes, by the way.
Addiction was in my rearview, so I thought. It’s never really there. I wish addiction and overdoses got the same attention and response as the Coronavirus. It deserves it. Screw anyone who says one is voluntary and the other is not. Kids are dying. Kids I loved have died.
So find a cure or vaccine for Coronavirus. But let’s not forget those others, the kids, our kids. They’re dying too, at greater rates. Yeah, that last line isn’t scientific, but it’s true. For the kid from my neighborhood who wishes people would talk about it, here I am. I talk about it. I write about it. I scream about it. Addiction is not a choice. Our kids are dying.
Worry about Coronavirus. But when that’s taken care of, which we know will happen, let’s get back to worrying about all of our kids who are addicted and dying. They are my kids, your kids, all of our kids.
Oh, and it shouldn’t have to be a choice, but we live in a world where attention matters, perception matters. I’ll leave it at that and say, please cure Coronavirus, and please, find a cure for addiction. In the end, the bottom line will be money. Who is making it.