Why are some people able to drink and even use drugs recreationally (not that it’s a good idea) without actually becoming addicted? I’ve heard this said more often than not on my journey through addiction and recovery. “You can just stop”, people will say. The other day this question came to mind “why did I become addicted?” “Why couldn’t I take one pill, one drink or one bag of heroin and just walk away like 90% of everyone else?” I mean, it truly perplexed me. The notion that I was born with a different chemical, spiritual or even genetic make-up blew my mind. One so specific, that the DNA in my body was imprinted in a code that said “Boy if she ever does one, lets make sure she’ll want two.” What a bizarre trait, seriously.
The trait, characteristic, genetic material that makes one susceptible to the disease of addiction can be compared to finding a needle in the haystack, the one round in the cylinder of a revolver in russian roulette or even the four leaf clover – just the unlucky version. But how does anyone else not become addicted? I understand the way my mind works doesn’t represent most of the population, but it is often asked with ease, “how does anyone become addicted?” or it’s been said “I’ve done that stuff before and I never wanted to do it again.” You think that way because you are not like me. You weren’t born with that specific unlucky gene, like me. That’s good.
Using Drugs But Never Wanting More? A Foreign Concept for an Addict
I picked my brain and thought about my first days of using any substance and the thought was so foreign to me – the thought of trying it once and being able to walk away from it never wanting more. Then I thought about all of the people who get prescriptions for narcotics and it is so foreign to me to think that they don’t abuse them, get high from them or want more when the bottle is empty. I thought about when non-addicted people tried cocaine in college and they woke up in the morning with no desire for more. I thought about people who could drink a couple beers and not need any more. See to them, my addiction is a strange comprehension, to me, their lack of addiction is.
I try to put myself in the mind frame of a non-addict and it is truly impossible. There will never come a day when I don’t want more and more. I wasn’t born with the capability to regulate the use of mind-altering substances. That “thing”, my drug and my addiction will always take me over. It’s whisper will always be audible to me.
The presence and power of addiction is not one that I take lightly, because just its name almost killed me. I want regular people to know that you are not the only ones who are perplexed when it comes to addiction. I am sure many addicts think similarly as I do.
Why The Normal Person Doesn’t Understand Addiction
You don’t understand me, because you’re not addicted. I don’t understand you because you cant relate to my suffering. Surely I can remember my life before using, but it was still not the same as yours. I still had that flaw, lingering and growing inside of me, waiting for the right time to surface, while yours never developed. How odd.
I think the biggest problem among the addicted vs. non-addicts is that we don’t want to acknowledge our differences. I know we did the same drugs, I know we went to the same parties, I know we both drank the same drinks. But there must come a time when we lay down our metaphorical weapons and accept that we were made differently. I find in this that we can learn a lot from each other – If we truly accept that we are in fact a different breed.
I think many non-addicts get frustrated with addicts because they think we are like them, born without that “gene”. Of course a person would get frustrated with that perspective, especially since they could stop using while the addict could not. But if we can accept and understand the differences between an addict and a “normie” (a non-addict) then perhaps non-addicts will find the compassion they feel they are lacking for the addicted.
Accepting and Understanding Differences Between and Addict and “Normies”
Embrace that we are truly not alike. I know we look alike. I know we talk alike. But there is something that separates us if we can see beyond our skin color, our houses, our cars, our jobs, our statures and our families – and that is addiction. It’s okay, several other things make us different too, for instance you might like squash, I don’t.
Do understand that it is possible that addiction can make a person different than you, just let us have this one okay, and we’ll let you have latter.
And hey, we both have questions about each other, it’s time we ask.
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Written by Chanda Lynn, Blogger/Writer for Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)
Edited and Published By William Charles, Founder/Publisher
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