Tag Archives: addiction

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 10

Day 10: Your views on drugs and alcohol

I’ve talked a little bit before about having grown up with an alcoholic father. Which is where I should stop and give him a shout out for his 24th year of sobriety. But the years he was a drinker definitely screwed up my views on alcohol — how could it not? I didn’t really try drinking until I was 25. I still don’t drink very often. Rich likes to tell me my vice is not having a vice, and it’s true. You know how at the doctor’s office you always have to check the box detailing your alcohol consumption? There’s not an accurate option for me, which would be less than one drink a month (on average). The way this week has been going, though, my monthly quota has already been met and will likely be surpassed.

I joke a lot about drinking or getting drunk. I don’t know if that’s normal for someone who grew up in my situation. I’m guessing it’s a coping mechanism. It lets me show that I’m in control of how much and when I drink, that I don’t routinely grab the nearest bottle when things get too rough or to take the edge off. So what is my view on alcohol? Seeing as how it’s still America’s drug of choice, honestly, if Prohibition made a comeback, I’d be OK with that. Although I would miss having the occasional wine cooler.

As for drugs? I’m not a user of, well, anything. Never have been, never will be. I did try some “magic” brownies once, and I’m glad I never tried pot in college. I would’ve gained the freshman 1500 based on the epic munchies I got; I wanted to basically eat all the food on the planet after those brownies. Then I fell asleep. But did I get some euphoric high, a relaxed feeling, feel the stress melt away, whatever it is pot is supposed to make you feel? No. As for anything harder than that … Narcotic painkillers make me barf. When I’ve had to be on them, it’s been miserable. Doctors would have to prescribe an anti-nausea medicine for me at the same time, which combined with the painkillers would just knock me out for a day. No fun.

I don’t understand why people turn to drugs when things get so horrible. OK, I do — they want an escape, to numb themselves to whatever is going on, but knowing that the hard stuff like heroin/oxy/cocaine/meth is addictive? Why willingly open yourself up to that kind of addiction? Have I struggled to find coping mechanisms over the years? Absolutely. And I still do, which is where therapy came in handy. Did I want to escape, numb myself to what was going on? Yes. But never once did I think drugs were the answer. Probably because I know the likeliness of addiction thanks to my soused genes.

I have mixed feelings about the legalization of pot. While it doesn’t do anything for me — and I never plan to try smoking it (or anything else, for that matter) — I think it can be used recreationally. I think it does some good for legitimate medical reasons, which it seems like a lot of people can’t claim. But, like with alcohol consumption, I worry about how many people would drive while impaired. And I hate the smell of pot. That was one of the worst things about being in Colorado last summer, walking through clouds of it and trying to shield Coraline from it. It’s enough that I have to deal with regular cigarette smoke when I’m out and about. I don’t want to deal with pot stink, too. But could I live with pot being legalized? I think I could.

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Processing Addiction

Song Lyric of the Day:

But I never asked for it / But I never did / It’s all a part of his plan / It’s all in his hands / In the basement

Perfume Genius / “Never Did

I had planned to come out of my long winter’s blog hibernation with a post I’ve had an idea for for some time now, the gist of which is materialism. Nothing serious. Nothing heavy. But then yesterday the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died.

I grew up with an alcoholic father. I’ve alluded to that a tiny bit here and there over the years, and even though my dad has been sober 21 1/2 years now, it’s still not exactly an easy (or pleasant) topic for me to discuss or revisit. But with Hoffman’s untimely passing at the young age of 46, I am once again questioning what I believe about addiction.

I admit: When my dad was at his worst, if a doctor had said he needed a liver transplant, I would’ve been the first in line to say he didn’t deserve a new liver. Because he would have done that to himself with his drinking, right? His choice to drink. And drink. And drink. Why would he deserve that kind of help when he drank himself to that point? I certainly can’t speak for everyone who grew up with (or is still dealing with) an alcoholic parent, but that was how I felt and my reasoning for it. Obviously, now that he’s been sober for as long as he has, I’m grateful things never got to that point. God, am I grateful. But for a long time, it certainly seemed like that was the road he was heading down — and taking our family with him. Luckily he took to heart what he heard and discussed in Alcoholics Anonymous.

That’s it. That’s the extent of my personal, direct experience with addiction. I grew up firmly believing — knowing — that an addict chose to be one. They drank that first drink. They snorted that first line. They took that first pill. I do believe, however, that some people are predispositioned to become addicts. Not everyone who takes that drink becomes an alcoholic. Not everyone who tries that pill becomes hooked. But others, like my dad and Mr. Hoffman, they become addicts.

Everyone has pain. How we choose to deal with it is up to us. Some of us turn to therapy (raising my hand here), some confide in friends, some channel it into a creative or personal endeavor, still others find something — anything — to help them deal. But we all have to deal with it somehow. And as I’ve gotten older (can’t say wiser), I’ve come to see that for some people, whatever pain it is that they’re dealing with is just too great for them to handle. So they turn to some of the most destructive things out there.

No one deserves to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. No one sets out to become an addict. It happens. Whether through self-destructive methods, the wiring in their brain, a genetic predisposition, it happens. I grew up in fear of becoming an alcoholic like my dad. As a kid, I did a research project for school on alcoholism and learned that I was at least four times more likely to become an addict myself. So I decided very early on that I wouldn’t end up like him. I was 25 years old before I tried socially drinking. As of today, I’ve imbibed maybe three drinks in the last six months. Do I think I’m still at risk of becoming an alcoholic? No. But I choose not to drink that often because (A) I’d rather find other, more constructive ways of dealing with life when I feel overwhelmed and (B) I just really don’t like drinking alcohol all that much. Rich likes to joke that my vice is not having a vice. And also, I have a child of my own now, one who is (I imagine) enjoying having a sober, present mom.

Hoffman’s death is a tragedy: He was a father of three young children. He was a talented actor. He was still so young. We can only speculate as to why, after 23 years of sobriety, he fell off the wagon again, culminating in his passing yesterday. Me, personally, I can only thank God I have never felt so lost, so hopeless, been in such psychic pain, that I turned to drugs or alcohol to help me deal with life. There for but the grace of God go I …

Everyone has pain. How you choose to deal with it is up to you.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Memorial


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Looking Up

Song Lyric of the Day:

I know that you may think / That I’m a broken little bird in my mind / Cause I’m falling on the floor / I’m climbing up the walls / And every time I get a grip / I seem to lose myself just a little more

Medina / “Addiction”

Finally — I have a few minutes to update my poor, neglected blog. As I wrote last month, things have been crazy busy lately. Thankfully, things have settled down a bit, which is good. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by life, right up to a couple days ago, even. Actually, I was getting to feeling pretty damn low. But things — and my attitude — are looking up. I feel like I’m regaining control over things I had seemingly lost control of, things are slowing down to a more manageable pace, things are looking up.

Of course, how can I not be happy about planning Coraline’s first birthday party? Aside from the fact that almost a year has passed since she was liberated from my ovarian Bastille (thanks to my friend Elliott for that quote), she’s growing leaps and bounds, walking, and learning something new every day. Rich and I are also in the process of planning a trip to Iowa to visit his extended family; it’ll be great seeing everyone again and introducing them to Miss Baby, particularly since it’s been four years since our last visit. And last, but not least, I did something I never do: I splurged. On something for myself. An iPad, to be exact. On which I’ve written this post. (Thanks to the hubby for his help with some MacBook hard drive cleanup.) So rarely do I spend significant sums of money, in fact, that my cardholder called the morning after I bought my iPad to verify that it was indeed me who made that purchase. Nice to know they’re paying attention, despite creeping me out by listing places I’d eaten lunch that week.

But I digress. I’m still here, and things are looking up. It’s a good place to be.

Now to figure this iPad thingamabob out …


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