We always think of addicts as people who chose their disease. A kind of “deliberate chooser.” That it was the fault of the deliberate chooser that they drank the beer, smoked the pipe or swallowed the pills.
I mean really – if they would have avoided those obviously dangerously addictive substances then they wouldn’t be addicted, now would they?
What a stupid thing to think or say.
BREAKING NEWS! That cup of potato soup cut with milk that you’re eating has 1150 milligrams of sodium. That side cup of tuna salad with cheese has 1040 milligrams of sodium. Since the average person is only supposed to consume 2300 A DAY, I’d say you should probably just not eat the rest of the day. Drink water.
Because too much sodium can put you at risk for:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Failure
- Stomach Cancer
- Kidney Disease
- Kidney Stones
- Enlarged Heart Muscle
So if we applied the traditional addict methodology here where an addict simply chooses his disease of addiction then one would say that you are then choosing stomach cancer by eating soup and tuna salad.
How utterly ridiculous.
But Julie, you’ll say, I HAVE to eat. You don’t HAVE to drink vodka.
When you have the disease of addiction, your body believes and physiologically so that you do in fact HAVE to drink vodka. Just like hunger pains get worse and louder when you need to eat – when you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol your body finds ways to let you know it’s time for more. You will be irritable, distracted, maybe feel faint or nauseous. Maybe you get the shakes or have a piercing headache.
This happens because you have a disease. The disease of addiction means your body has adopted the drug or alcohol and made it a part of your physical make up. This disease is telling you via your physical body – that you simply cannot stop drinking or doing drugs or it will punish you severely mentally and physiologically. You have to drink. Just like you have to eat.
But Julie, you’ll say, my friends and I drink all of the time and WE don’t get addicted. My Uncle Steve drinks and chooses not to stop. That’s how he’s addicted.
The truth is we don’t know yet why certain people suffer from addiction and some don’t. But just like everyone who drinks doesn’t become an alcoholic, everyone who eats soup and salad won’t get stomach cancer either.
I entitled this blog, “The Unsuspecting Addict,” because that is exactly what an addict is. It’s you, who unknowingly eats too much sodium and gets stomach cancer. It’s you, who sees every football fan on every commercial drinking multiple light beers so you try it too. You didn’t anticipate that you’d become a raging alcoholic. Just like you didn’t know that too much sodium can cause tumors in your stomach.
Not everyone gets cancer. Not everyone becomes addicted.
But you did.
You chose that? Hardly, it’s simply a fact that you were infected with a disease. If we allow ourselves to understand and believe the fact that addiction is a disease then we can open the door for people struggling with addiction to get support from their families and the community at large.
This understanding means freedom from shame and sets the stage for concern, love, and healing from everyone.
Deliberate chooser? No.
Unsuspecting innocent. Exactly.
Thanks for reading and be safe.