Holy SHIT.

I thought this was some humor bit about overworked parents but the parents looked dead. So I’m thinking,

Geez! That is pretty dark.

A bit over the top, even for me…

Well, NO WONDER.

Thing is, as a recovering addict, I COMPLETELY understand that place they’re living in right now. The hell. And the hell they are putting that baby through. And I promise you that they 100% hate themselves for it every time. But they can’t quit. Most people can’t, on their own. They made some choice somewhere along the way, and we don’t know why. Maybe it was surgery and vicodin during the recovery that became chronic pain. Medicine is stuck where pain is concerned. Pretty much the only option if one is actually in excruciating pain is narcotics. Which are 100% physically addictive if taken for chronic pain, as well as tolerance building. Which means as time goes by, the meds lose effectiveness unless the dosage is increased. But because of acetaminophen destroying the liver, patients are quickly moved from hydrocodone and oxycodone to oxycontin, which is even more addictive and abused.

During this never-ending cycle, not only do the patients neurotransmitters get all messed up, so does the body’s natural response to pain. Banging your arm on a doorknob can send you to the floor in tears. Answer? More drugs.

Eventually even the medicine can’t keep up with what is going on in the brain. The person no longer is able to distinguish actual physical pain from an ultra reactive pain response. The fear of not having the medicine is overwhelming. Many people find out from searching for answers that heroin is cheaper and more effective. At first.

Most people, during this journey, are not ONCE offered an alternative solution coupled with an offer for help detoxing from the medicine their body is now physically addicted to --EVEN IF ALL THEY EVER DID WAS TAKE AS PRESCRIBED--because remember, addiction rate for chronic pain patients prescribed narcotics=100%.

The doctor who did all of that easy-peasy prescribing almost NEVER says, “let’s safely wean you down”. That’s left for the addiction people ONCE the prescribing doc decides the patient seems to have formed a drug dependence and so will No longer prescribe.

Go to treatment. Except there are no beds in detox, much less in treatment. The wait is 6 months. Do you know what will likely happen in that 6 months?

I don’t know what is going on with the people in that picture but I do know that no parent ever woke up in the morning and said, “Fuck this stupid kid. I’d rather be shooting heroin in the car this morning.”

We have created a nation of drug seekers by being a nation of drug pushers.

The things I described above were all things that happened to me. Except I never had to turn to heroin because my primary care doctor — who was NOT my pain doc ( who prescribed me enough Vicodin that I was taking 250-300mg per day at the end, when he finally went “huh. This seems to be a problem.” and promptly cut me off cold)--was kind enough and patient enough to wean me safely, under medical supervision, with the understanding that I had ONE CHANCE, and also the understanding of what would likely become of me otherwise.

It took almost 9 months before I was opiate free.

That was 9 years ago.

But I love my kids to the moon and back. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. And 9 years ago I loved them just as much. And I totally could have been the woman in this picture.

One of my counselors once said that if love were enough, no mother would be addicted to drugs.

We want to paint people as good or bad instead of sick or well, because then we don’t feel responsible for fixing them. It is much easier to condemn. But it isn’t right. We need better treatment options, and mental health care alternatives. Because until we admit that the brain is part of the body and deserves the same respect for illness that we give diabetes and cancer, and stop marginalizing addicts and people with mental illness and judging them as if they were whole, we are just going to keep creating more of them.

And kids will keep losing their families over something we created ourselves.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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