Addicts Shaming Addicts

I’m not one to ever shame an addict. Yeah, you just read the “but” in there. At least I hope you did. I don’t shame addicts because, well, that’s ridiculous. While I’m unsure about what causes addiction, the whole addiction is a disease thing, or really a lot about addiction, I hate when people say dumb things about addiction, like its a choice. Actually, I just don’t hate when people say that,  I actually think really awful things about them, even idiotic people who are addicts and write dumb things on social media about how addiction is a choice. Does that make sense? Maybe not. To me it does. I’ll try to explain.

I’ll spare you my whole rant about the billion dollar rehab industry and their 10% criminal success rate.  Well, for now. Instead I will talk about the town I live in, the town I grew up in, the town that I raised my children in. It ranked pretty high in drug arrests. Some will say it ranked number one. It also ranked pretty high in rates of overdose. I hate statistics, mostly because I don’t have a math head and  also because I believe one death is too many. Sadly I know of more than one funeral due to a drug overdose. I hate to throw race in there, but despite what many believe, these are white kids. Yeah, I know. Once it hits the rich white kids, people pay attention. Or you’d think they would. Instead they do the WASPy thing and try to sweep it under the rug.

Until very recently my local school district claimed that there was no drug problem. I’m not sure what finally made them acknowledge that there’s a drug problem in this town. They certainly weren’t admitting it when my kids were in the school or when many of their friends were in rehab multiple times. Yeah, while in high school. I don’t know how many needed to be in rehab before the district acknowledged that drugs had hit our town, our schools. I guess they didn’t because it was just the “bad” kids.

So now one of those kids is posting things on social media about addiction being a choice.   He’s one of the first kids I knew was an addict. He was actually the kid I wanted to keep my kid away from, not because I believed addiction was contagious, but because I knew that they would bring out the worst in one another.

My kid lives in another state. He went to a pricey rehab. He relapsed. He went to another rehab. Then he went down to Florida, where halfway houses and rehabs have the worst reputation. I can’t tell you how many nights I couldn’t sleep because I was too busy checking to see if my kid was breathing. I slept less after one of my kid’s friends overdosed in my house after over a year of being clean.

My kid hasn’t been home for Christmas in two years. That’s huge in my house. I imagine it would be huge in your house as well.

So when I read ignorant people writing things on social media, or anywhere else, about addiction, it gets to me. When I read addicts, whether recovered or not, it really sets me off. When I’ve said prayers after hearing they’ve had their stomachs pumped multiple times or offered sympathetic words to their family members after they’ve committed drug-related crimes, it doesn’t just sadden me to read things they’ve written on social media about addiction not being a choice. It actually infuriates me because they’ve been in a position to know better.

I don’t wish bad things on people who write stupid things, especially addicts, recovered or not. So while I never shame addicts, I do shame anyone who purposely refuses to understand that addiction is not a choice. I shame anyone who writes ridiculous things on social media, or anywhere else, especially an addict, recovering or not.

I want nothing more than to have my kid home for birthdays and Christmas. I want to have my kid living with me, if  not, at least within driving distance. I appreciate the people who love my kid, who have taken him in, but I’m also ridiculously jealous, and jealousy is something I’ve never felt in my life, because that’s my kid and now for his own well-being, he can’t live with me, or even close to me.

Addiction is not a choice. Nobody actually chooses that. I’ll spare you the lecture about how the rehab industry is criminal, but only for now because right now I just want to put out there that addiction is not a choice.

I’m not one to ever shame an addict. I love too many addicts. But I will shame an addict who writes asinine crap about addiction being a choice. It is not a choice and the addict who has had his stomach pumped multiple times and been arrested for multiple crimes should never ever write stupid stuff about addiction being a choice. I’ll pray for him, that he gets clean and that nobody ever shames him because I know the road he’s been down. I know the road his mother has been down.

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Career Obsessed Banshees

Today I was fortunate enough to be able to call out of work so I could spend the day with my she-devil daughter who believes she can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Oh, when I say fortunate, I mean, I had the time to call out of work sick so I could spend the day with her in the emergency room where she needed fluids as she recovered from the flu. Not because she is weaker than a man, but because it has been a really bad flu season.

 

While we were in the ER, I came across some ridiculous piece written by this man who is running for office. At first, I laughed at the idiocy. Then I read again and handed the phone to my daughter who looked like she’d rather be doing anything than reading such nonsense. She read it, looked at me, and then we both laughed. I wish I could say that it was over after that. It wasn’t. Because we both realized that there are still sad people in this world who think that there are reasons that men and women are not equal.

 

Courtland Sykes is not alone in his stupid thoughts.

 

Ok, so it is a little scary to think that he is running for office, but it is scarier to think that there are people in this country who will vote for him.

 

My daughter’s father did not call out of work to take his daughter to the ER despite the fact that he has triple the sick time that I have. No, that’s not a dig at him. It is just a fact of life. Whether we had been divorced or not, I would have been the one to take her to the doctor. I would have been the one to call out sick. I would have been the one to take care of her, just as I would then have been the one to make her soup, dinner, or whatever it was that she needed. I would also have been the one to make dinner or order dinner for our other children.

 

I have never asked for a pat on the back for being the sole caregiver of my children, but Courtland Sykes made me think about the fact that I am many of the things he wants for his daughters. I have intelligence, dignity, my own workspace. I have built a career even if I don’t share my home with a man.  I love what I do for a living, but I’m hardly career obsessed, and I certainly did not forego a home life, children, or the happiness of my family. And no, I don’t believe men are suppressing me, well, not most men, just silly ones like Courtland Sykes.

 

I had a father who told me I could be whoever I wanted to be. I have brothers who are raising daughters to be whoever they want to be. I have a brother-in-law who is raising my nieces, well, those girls are getting ready to own the world.

A man like Courtland Sykes who tells you he supports women’s rights but then goes into some silly diatribe calling for women, his daughters, to be home cooking dinner for their men, well men like that aren’t for women’s rights, and I don’t have to tell you that.

I have the best of both worlds. I get to go enjoy a career that I love, actually two careers that I love. I also get to be the one home with my kids. I am the one to cook for them, order take-out if I don’t feel like cooking, and the one to still be there to go sit on their beds at night and hear about their day.

Some days its tough and I wish that I had help. Some days I’m grateful that its all mine, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There is not one day I ever wish I had a Courtland Sykes as a partner or in the Senate representing me.

I want to say that the Courtland Sykes of this world don’t matter, but they do. He is running for United States Senate. He was bold enough to post a statement calling women banshees simply for believing they deserve equal rights. People will vote for him. I wouldn’t. Maybe you wouldn’t. But there are people who will.

Maybe me calling out from work today to care for my daughter was because I am a woman, but it was not weakness. I love my child and I have a career, two actually. But I made a choice, a choice I would hope a man would make, and that choice was to be there to nurture my child.

Taking my daughter to the ER today was never a choice between being a mother or a career woman. There was no decision to be a radical feminist or a mother.

I was able to be both. I was able to be the feminist who showed my daughter that while she can be ill and still be a student, I could be a mother and still have a career.

So suck it Courtland Sykes.

 

Golden Globe Hypocrites

I couldn’t watch the Golden Globes this year. The whole wearing black as a form of protest made me want to throw up.

 

In a recent interview Alec Baldwin admitted that everyone had heard stories that Harvey Weinstein had raped Rose McGowan. As in, everyone in Hollywood knew.

 

Meryl Streep recently called out Ivanka and Melania Trump for their silence.

 

Meryl Streep did not call out Georgina Chapman.

 

Last year Meryl Streep went on a rant about Donald Trump. Where is her rant this year? Where is her apology for her silence? Her donation to the politically correct cause?

 

There is video of Ben Affleck grabbing Hilarie Burton’s breast. He went on Stephen Colbert where he was supposedly “embarrassed” but then talked about the donations he’d be making. Because donations change everything. Thanks Stephen Colbert for giving him the platform for his damage control.

 

Oh, most of Hollywood still lauds Roman Polanski. They still can’t call him a rapist. They still are incapable of acknowledging that there is never ever a time that it is ok to anally penetrate a child. I mean, unless you are Roman Polanski.

 

Which brings me to, and I hate to say this, but Ronan Farrow. I loved his article that broke Weinstein-gate. Is it called that yet? Hmm. Still, I can’t help but wonder where his article about his mother is. You know, the one where he calls her out for her support of Polanski. Maybe Mia had a rough life, but she was married to Frank Sinatra. She was in a long-term relationship with Woody Allen. After the whole Woody thing fell apart, she still very publicly supported Roman.

 

No. I don’t expect Ronan to roast his mom, but maybe take a look at his mom’s actions and support of abusive men and look a little deeper into how the rest of Hollywood was on the same page, still is on the same page, even if they’re wearing designer black at an awards ceremony.

 

Mira Sorvino’s career was ruined. Who questioned that?

 

Kevin Spacey’s career wasn’t. Bill Cosby’s career wasn’t. Danny Masterson’s wasn’t. Brett Ratner’s wasn’t. There is a long list.

 

Oh, and Roman Polanski still has the support of Hollywood, probably most of those wearing the black tonight.

 

People knew what Harvey Weinstein was doing, what he did. This wasn’t some explosive secret that was blown open. Sorry Ronan. You just had the power and privilege that allowed you to write about what everyone knew.

I couldn’t watch the Golden Globes tonight because the all black protest was sickening. I’d rather all of those hypocrites say that they felt powerless, that they didn’t know what to do, the way Harvey’s victims felt, except they couldn’t possibly know how Harvey’s victims felt, unless they were victims themselves.

 

And if they were victims they’d know that no amount of black could ever make it right.

 

 

 

 

 

Me Too, Them Too, You Too

#metoo. apparently that touched a few nerves, not for those who had a #metoo story, but for those who don’t get it. Imagine that there are people who would question it, or that there are people who claim to love you, who would question why you told it and didn’t keep it the deep dark little secret that ate away at you for decades.

I wish my #metoo story was just one story, but it wasn’t. It was more than once. People don’t get that. Loved ones don’t get that.

They get caught up in blame. They wonder if you blame them. They wonder what you did to cause it. They wonder why you were not stronger, why you feel the need to share.

I shared because of my kids.I shared because I never wanted it to be my daughter, even while knowing that the odds meant it was possible. It was not about her strength. It was not about her character. It was possible because society blames the victim. People blame the victim. Families blame the victim.

I shared it because I was horrified at the thought that it could ever be my sons. No matter what I raised them to be, there was always the worry that societal messages would outweigh mine. Never prey on anyone, especially those who may be weak. Don’t rape. Don’t harass. Always respect. It sounds so easy, but for some reason it isn’t. People still blame the wrong people, even family, especially family.

I didn’t tell my kids before I shared. I told one person, one trusted, loved person. My kids read it and hugged me, loved me, and knew that writing it was something I needed to do, for me, not for anyone else.  And we never discussed it again. Because we didn’t need to. They got it.

I know too many with a story. I know too many who still believe that they cannot share. That is up to them. I wish they knew how much support was out there. I wish they knew how much love is out there. But I don’t judge. I wait. Patiently. For them to decide the time is right. Or it isn’t.

#metoo. You probably know someone with a story, even if you don’t realize it. Don’t judge. Don’t question. Just love and accept. And know that there is never a reason it is ok. Never. For no reason.

 

 

Shamed Into Silence

I said no. Actually I said please, no, to him, as if manners would make a difference with someone who was forcing me to do something I did not want to do. It is something I will never forget, the part where I said please, please in a sentence where I was pleading with him to please not force me.

 

There was no confusion about it; at least I don’t see where the confusion could have been. There were no mixed messages. I told him no. I told him I didn’t want to be there. I asked him to please let me leave. I asked him to please not make me do what he was making me to do.

 

Later he took me home. We made small talk in his car as if what had happened had been consensual in any way. It wasn’t. There was no part where I said yes, no part where I said anything to him that could have made him believe I was interested.

 

I told people, though when I did it was with shame, as if the shame was on me and not him. I told people because somewhere in the deepest part of me I knew that what he did was wrong.

 

He confronted me in a crowded bar. He told me I wanted it. He told me that I went along. He left out the part where I asked him to please not force me. He left the part out where he did things that made me fear for my life.

 

People told me I was confused. People told me I was drunk. People told me I was desperate.

 

People told me he never would have done that. Even after he did.

 

I was 17. He was in his 30’s.

 

For years I convinced myself that everyone was right, that I must have done something to make him believe it was ok. I must have been desperate. I wasn’t forceful enough when I said no.

I told myself I wasn’t forceful enough when I said no, more than once, with tears in my eyes.

 

It is over 30 years later and not much has changed, except that I know that desperation had nothing to do with it. I know that my no was clear. It is something that should not have taken 30 years. It is something that shouldn’t have taken 30 seconds.

 

I was shamed into silence when the shame did not belong to me. I know that there are other women who understand that even if they are not out from under it.

 

Forget a society that still blames victims and celebrates those committing sexual assault. What we women do to ourselves in the aftermath is worse, yes, aided by a society that, even to this day, seems unable to understand sexual assault.

 

 

I look back often at that 17-year-old girl who was confronted in that bar and wish I could yell in her ear. I wish I could tell her not to back down, that he did everything she said he did. Instead all I can do is tell that woman who is turning 50 that it was not her fault, that she did nothing wrong.

 

Sexual assault is not your fault, unless you are the garbage assaulting someone. We all need to be on that page and stop the silence.

 

Please don’t tell me you’re sorry after you read this. Just please do better. We all need to do better.

 

National Overdose Awareness Day

National Overdose Awareness Day just passed. I thought I’d be more excited for the attention given to overdoses, but something felt off. Maybe the part where most acknowledging it have been affected in some way is what bothers me. Those people are already aware. When will everyone else catch up?

Maybe the wordiness throws me. National Overdose Awareness Day. Yeah, I almost fell asleep writing that. Its not catchy like that Ice Bucket Challenge. There’s nothing fun or exciting about drug overdoses, except, of course, for the families who haven’t lost their loved ones thanks to Narcan.

Narcan may have saved lives, but it isn’t a cure, and sadly, there are many who still mistakenly believe that Narcan is part of the problem. Imagine that there are people out there who think that saving lives is a problem. Or that there are people who think that there should be limits on Narcan. So we’ll save you once, but that’s it. After that, well, kiss off.

So that’s sort of my problem with National Overdose Awareness Day. Well, that and that I don’t know what color the ribbon is. We get a ribbon, don’t we? Or maybe not because so many still believe that addiction is a choice, or that it’s because of bad parenting, or socioeconomic status, or, well, I don’t know what they think. I just am pretty sure that the people who need to be aware are not. Those people are pretty sure that addiction happens to someone else, not their loved ones.

I went to a wake not that long ago for a kid who overdosed. I sat in a room and thanked God that it wasn’t my kid. I then asked God to forgive me for my gratitude because I knew how easily it could have been my kid. It was an awful conundrum.

I had a kid that I loved overdose in my home. There really is no way to ever describe the terror. There is no way to explain what it felt like when I received a thank you card from his mother for calling 911. I did nothing other than call 911 and a mother was grateful. I will never forget hugging her at the hospital, grateful again.

The problem with National Overdose Awareness Day is that people aren’t grateful unless they are affected. People think it isn’t their problem. They have all the answers, until it is their kid, their loved one.

I wish I only loved one addict, but I don’t. I watched a lot of kids grow up who became addicts, kids who came from good homes, kids who came from money, a lot of money. I watched kids I love overdose. I sat at a wake with kids I love that had been to too many wakes. None of them need a National Drug Awareness Day. They need answers. They need a government that stops treating addiction like a crime. They need a government that stops allowing a rehab industry to remain a billion dollar industry, even with a 90% fail rate.

So yeah, I’m not a fan of National Overdose Awareness Day. Maybe I should be. Maybe it’s a start, but I want more. I expect more. I wish everyone else would too.

Life Over Death Even for Addicts

A kid I love overdosed in my home a few years ago. It would be impossible to ever describe the helpless feeling of watching a kid that I loved turn different shades of blue before turning a pasty white or the horror I felt as his face became colorless. I was sure that he was going to leave my home in a body bag. As I screamed on the phone to the 911 operator I had imaginary conversations in my head with his mother. I had no idea he was using, but wondered how I could ever apologize to her for this happening in my home. As I screamed into the phone and had imaginary conversations I begged God to spare this kid.

Thankfully police responded quickly. They revived him with a dose of Narcan. Minutes after I was sure he was dead he walked out of my home on his own two feet, a true miracle.

I think of that night often, especially as a new debate over Narcan pops up, not just between ignorant people on social media, but with public officials, people elected or appointed to serve the public.

The debate rages on as some want to limit how many times a person is rescued with Narcan while others share memes questioning whether or not police officers should even carry it. And don’t start me on the police chief who won’t allow his officers to carry it at all.

Why do they want people to die? My child is in recovery. The kid who OD’d at my house is also in recovery, but there are people out there who are not. There are many of us who love an addict.

Why would anyone think death is somehow justified? Would you want your loved ones to die?

Its not my fault that the addiction industry is filled with crooks, and no, I don’t mean the addicts. I mean the pharmaceutical companies, the ones who market those dangerously addictive opiate-based pain pills that have created this epidemic. I’m talking about those same companies who came up with Narcan, the miracle treatment that saves lives.

I’m sorry that there is no cure for cancer just as I’m sorry that getting treated for cancer can bankrupt a patient and a family. A drug addict dying won’t change that. A drug addict dying won’t save the life of anyone else.

So why do people post things on social media calling for cops to stop carrying Narcan or asking why cancer drugs aren’t free if you can get Narcan for free? I guess it’s a lack of understanding because I know many of the people who share that stuff. Many of them are nice people. I don’t think they want my kid to die. I don’t think they want anyone else’s kid to die. I guess when they hit share they’re not thinking about the people they know, maybe even the people they love who are struggling with addiction.

It is not the fault of any addict that cancer drugs come at a prohibitive cost. It is not the fault of any addict that some dirtbag decided to jack up the cost of an EpiPen.

I certainly don’t want to see anyone die from cancer or an allergic reaction. I also don’t want to see anyone die from an overdose, not even if it’s the 15th overdose. Not if it’s the 100th. I never want to see anyone die, especially if there is something as simple as a Narcan treatment that can prevent death. And no, I’m not under the impression that Narcan cures addiction. It doesn’t. It does however save lives.

I don’t want anyone’s kid to die, not my own kid, not that kid who was saved in my home, not the kid of a stranger, not the kid of my enemy. Well, actually, I don’t have any enemies, but if I did, I’d hope if given the chance, someone would save their kid too.

Most of the addicts I know and love became addicts in high school. I knew many who were in rehabs during their high school years. Surely nobody could think death is justified for young kids, even if they believed that addiction is a choice.

Life over death should always be the choice, even when it’s an addict. If we can save them but choose not to, aren’t we killing them?