Addicts Are Not Human
When I was a little girl, not unlike other kids, I had dreams about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Some wanted to be doctors or teachers, and some of my friends just wanted to be princesses.
My dream was to become a raging alcoholic. The thought of being completely dependent upon a drink to function was almost as intriguing as the countless opportunities to burn the bridges connecting me to those I loved. I couldn’t wait for the chance to devalue and degrade myself, all the while searching for new and interesting ways to self-destruct.
Ridiculous, right? Absolutely.
So is the suggestion that anyone would choose such a life. NO ONE sets out to become addicted. No one plans on becoming physically, emotionally, or mentally dependent on poison.
The Huffington Post recently posted a video of Lindsay Lohan’s interview with Oprah where she admits that she’s been lost and confused, and an addict. I was touched by her bravery in admitting that alone, on national television, and her trust in society. Good for her, I thought.
Then I saw the comments. Here are some of my personal favorites.
“What a waste of a person.”
“Lohan is hopeless! She squandered her looks and talent to the wild, destructive life style.”
“That’s too bad. She’s a hottie going to waste.”
“How can you tell when an addict is lying? … When she’s moving her lips.”
Most of these people have over 600 fans. Why? I can only assume that it’s because negativity and hate is really popular. “Brutal honesty” is respected, even though sometimes it kills.
I do not know why Lindsay went on Oprah to share her news, and it’s really none of my business. Perhaps she did it for publicity, or maybe she thought it might help someone else struggling with addiction. It doesn’t really matter. What I do know is that there is hope for her. I don’t care how many times she’s been to rehab, or appeared topless, or lied. She is as worthy of recovery as anyone of us. Even though she knows the world is judging, she’s not giving up. That is strength, not weakness.
The woman who helped me get sober and learn to love myself was what many referred to as a “chronic relapser** “. She was in and out of detox several times before she “got it”. It is because she kept fighting that she was able to take my hand when I was ready and help me to fight too. I don’t know where I would be if it had not been for her and her willingness to share her experiences with me. I have been sober for thirteen years because of stories like hers and that kind of honesty. Because I have been sober, I have been able to teach my children how to have compassion for people regardless of circumstance.
Addicts aren’t human; we’re super-human. Some of us are survivors of terrible truths, and quite often we don’t need any help hating ourselves or what we’ve become.
It appears that we, as a society, are so desensitized by evil and hate that we have become just that. We need to stop “LOL”ing and condoning bullying in all forms. It’s not funny; it’s hurtful and dangerous. We are losing human beings every day that have no hope. Yes, WE.
I don’t doubt that Lindsay Lohan has better things to do than to read the comments under this video, but what if she did read them? What if she was having a rough day and was looking for a reason – any reason – to give up on life? Would you really want your nasty comment to be the one that convinced her? Would you honestly be able to justify the amount of fans that comment got you even after the news report that she was gone? Would it be worth it? Maybe to you it would be, but I want you to know that IT’S NOT OKAY. I want to stand up to you and let you know that treating people like they don’t matter is unacceptable. I hope that other people will join me, but it won’t deter me if they don’t.
I don’t care what she’s done or not done. Girls like Lindsay and Amanda Bynes need support, not public scrutiny. If you cannot find it in you to offer them positive thoughts and encouragement, leave them alone. If you find you can’t control it, perhaps you yourself should seek some help. Bullying bullies is not the solution either; I get that. That saying “Hurt people, hurt people” totally applies.
As long as you are breathing, there is always hope for you.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please click here for resources and support. If you or someone you know is being bullied, click here. Please reach out and tell someone. You are NOT alone.
**For the record, I despise the phrase “chronic relapser,” because it suggests that a person is destined to fail…forever.
photo credit: EyesOnFire89 via photopin cc
Julie Maida lives in Massachusetts with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and fiercely determined to advocate for, and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.