For the same reasons news outlets report anything. To scare us into buying things from the people who paid for the ink and the paper.
Of course, if opiates were legal, they would be cheap, and you could be a junkie and be perfectly functional, just like there are plenty of perfectly functional alcoholics out there.
Some opiates are legal. I don’t think there are any available over the counter in the US, but there are plenty of countries where you can get codeine in some form without a prescription. Other opiates are prescribed for higher levels of pain. Pretty much all the good painkillers are opiates really. I’m on codeine right now, trying to get rid of a headache.
I agree with you, and I say that as a 12 stepper. I know that there are
many people who don’t make it using the steps. I’ve seen that. I also had
no luck using other methods. And I know that there are dogmatic people in
AA and in other organizations and medical fields as well.
Most of us really just want to see people recover, no matter what works. We
don’t want to see the pain and suffering continue. Most of us in 12 step
organizations don’t think we know the only way to recover, we just know
what worked for us, and our experience is all we can share.
I would never tell someone who found another way to get clean and sober
that he or she was doing it wrong. I know there are folks in the various 12
step programs who would do that, but I think they are wrong, and they’re
not helping anyone by doing so. The truth is, addiction is a horrible,
horrible thing as we all know, and we all want to find ways to help people.
Experimentation with different approaches is scary, because if an approach
fails, that person might end up dead. I’ve seen people who had years of
sobriety pick up a drink and then never be able to get sober again, no
matter what approach they tried. I really don’t know the difference between
me and them, and many friends of mine in recovery were scared shitless by
the recent celebrity overdose beause we feel like the angel of death just
passed over our heads.
My father is an alcoholic, also a long time smoker. My mother also was a smoker when I was young (she quit about 10 years ago). I grew up believing that I was doomed to be an addict, that I had an addictive personality because of genetics. When I was in high school I sneaked a cigarette from my mom’s purse (I didn’t want to be that putz who is offered a cig and coughs like a giant nerd) and I very distinctly remember smoking that cigarette and feeling like every care in the world drifted away. I rationalized my new smoking habit that if I had to choose an addiction I’d choose the smoking, which didn’t change my behavior the way drinking would.
In my last year of college I quit smoking, realizing that my addiction was a problem that hurt other people, and becoming aware that I was using it to avoid dealing with emotional pain that I had no skills to handle.
Since then, I have watched my father become a late stage alcoholic, with diabetes from the damage to his pancreas, stroke like symptoms from the damage to his brain, and after a binge period he is unable to walk at all - his legs don’t work (neuropathy).
When I talk with people about my dad, I guess they think that his alcoholism and his mental illness (bipolar) will be the first things they notice about him, because of course they have no idea how great addicts and mentally ill people are at acting normal. How fun and wonderful my dad can be when he is “on.” How much he can turn “on” for strangers and then when he is around his family and doesn’t have to pretend can slump into depression.
After many years of therapy for myself and involvement with others who have mental illness, I learned about the biological pulls toward addiction for people who are bipolar - that the feeling of being good is not achievable for my father except when he drinks. I went from being angry about my dad to being sad, understanding, and also mad because he is such a great guy and people want to say he is a waste because he has an addiction.
When I was younger my dad lived in a world where he had a lot of support, and not only was he able to function well, but he contributed a great deal to others around him. I think it is so cruel that we think that people who are addicts cannot contribute, cannot function better unless they bootstrap themselves up by golly. Fuck that. I think that we need to create a world where people with problems are surrounded by love, relieved of everyday pressures that are just too much, and treated not as giant losers but people who need a little more but also in return for giving them that support we will all receive the gift of having these “losers” function and thrive.
What I meant by legal was legal like booze.
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