Addicts Are Not Human

Sober Mommies 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.

NO ONE.

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 founded Sober Mommies in May of 2013 after a bout of postpartum depression made it impossible to keep up with her previous recovery routine. She is the contributing Editor-in-Chief, and also runs the non-profit organization in Massachusetts; where she lives with her amazing husband and three children.

Thanks to the love, patience, and guidance of an incredible tribe of women, her recovery date is 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 full-time about mothering with mental illness at nextlifenokids.com, and is the founder of the “#Mommitment Mom Movement” aimed at putting an end to the social “norms” of mom-shaming and judgment.

48 Comments on “Addicts Are Not Human

  1. Spot on! Well said. I have high hopes that one day addiction to ANYTHING — drugs, booze, sex, shopping, Facebook, porn, food — will be viewed as what it truly is: a mental health disease. This explanation doesn’t excuse an addict’s behavior but it does explain why despite clear evidence of a particular substance’s destructive power, the addict cannot stop using, even when they really, really want to. I didn’t see the Oprah interview. But if Lindsay Lohan went on national TV to talk about her addiction and how she is attempting to turn her life around, well done. If one addict sees her and thinks, “Well, if Lindsay can do that, then I can stop using my substance of choice,” she did a good deed. And to anyone else reading who may be pondering that thought and wondering if they too have the strength to quit, know that the recovery community is filled with people who are willing to help so you don’t have to go it alone.

    • Thanks Norine, I too hope that there will come a time when we will not be seen as bad people trying to be good. We’re sick people trying to be well! I hope that Lindsay’s struggle will help some young women out there to understand that they are not alone and that even though sobriety is not always easy, it can be worked for. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!!

  2. So well said, Julie. Such wasted energy on hating and leaving negative comments. “If you cannot find in you to offer them positive thoughts and encouragement, leave them alone.” Exactly!

  3. You are so freaking awesome! RIGHT ON! Everyone wants to make fun of Lindsay and look at her with contempt or pity, like she doesn’t matter. And if she doesn’t matter what does that mean for the million of other addicts? Thank you for writing this AMAZING piece!

    • AGREED. If we could teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, we could probably teach this one too, right? 😉 Thank you, Rebecca!!

  4. So true, we don’t need a bit of help in casting blame and hating ourselves at times, we are our own worst critics. In the beginning of the interview when Oprah asked her what her drug of choice was she answered “alcohol.” I wanted to jump through the screen and hug her. Doing this sober thing is really hard enough at times, having to do it under the scornful eye of the public seems impossible, So I am going to root for her, and anyone else who decides to get sober, no matter how many times they have to make that decision before it sticks.

    • I’m rooting for her too, no matter what! This also identified “alcohol” as a “drug” which I thought was pretty friggin’ amazing. Not many people think of booze that way and I hope this made someone go “Hmmm?”

  5. Strong and beautiful. I agree, not just with Lohan, but with anyone in the public eye “That is strength, not weakness.” Sometimes, it can be hard to empathize or understand that, but it’s true. I cannot even imagine the kind of strength that is needed to overcome demons like this.
    Sometimes I wish I could give society a collective hug, cause it’s clear “we” all need it!

    • Thanks Erica, It’s not always easy to have compassion for people, especially celebrities, because we get to see them make the same mistakes over and over. That is a human thing though and not just something that addicts do. We all make repeated mistakes and I’m just grateful that mine weren’t all captured on camera and played for the world…YIKERS!

  6. I can only imagine how difficult it is to get and stay sober and I would be shocked it there are a large number of people who manage to do it perfectly the first time. Thanks for sharing your story,

  7. This was so beautiful and well-said. It reminded me of something David Sedaris said in an interview I just read the other day. (And obviously since it was David Sedaris, it was totally awesome.) He was talking about how he likes having meaningful interactions with fans and he said,
    “…when you’re at the grocery store, you want to be a *person* to the person behind the counter, and you want the person behind the counter to be a person to you. Because when they’re not, that’s when it all kind of falls apart.”
    I feel like that’s exactly what you’re talking about here. When we stop being people to each other, it all falls apart. Lindsay Lohan is a person, regardless of her celebrity, and so is anyone struggling with any kind of addiction, regardless of that struggle.

    • Thank you for reading this and for your wonderful comment and kind words. I LOVE David Sedaris. What a beautiful mess he is!! You hit the nail on the head. That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say, although you may have just have worded it way better. 😉

    • Thanks Kerstin, We all just have to do our part. Hopefully our actions will promote change and start a ripple. That’s what this blog is all about…making ripples. 🙂

  8. Thanks for following!! I appreciate your time in reading and commenting. I wish that we could all just understand the human condition. It is normal to make mistakes and all part of life. How boring life would be without mistakes! The judgement though… boy could we do without that. 🙁

  9. A-mazing! This post is such an eye-opener for myself to never give up on anyone. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your truth with us!
    Stopping by via Dose of Reality Ladies!

  10. I honestly don’t really know what to say to this. This was heartfelt and emotional. I have truly never been an addict and so I don’t know what it is like to be in those shoes, but I can relate to being bullied. I don’t understand why people make fun of others. Society has gotten mean and what it really needs is more compassion out there.

  11. Not only are addicts human, I believe they’re more so than straight/sober people, because they’ve investigated the depths of their psyche and tried to repair themselves. Ever notice how us recovering addicts are less bigoted and more open minded than safe sober types? seriously, think about it.

    I don’t read comments on posts like that because they’re going to be troll types.

    I’m not proud of my history with drugs and alcohol and bi-polar disorder (that I self medicated for twenty years) but I am proud of my recovery. I know who and what I am. How many people can say that and not be lying?

    • Thank you, Lance. I feel the same way about my past and my recovery. Not everyone gets the opportunity to find themselves. Heck, not many people even think about such things. I’m so grateful that I have been granted the opportunity to recreate myself and to help others do the same. I hope that you read my post and the part where I said that we’re not human because we’re super-human. I agree with you 100% 😉

  12. I am not a Lindsay Lohan fan. I’m also not a fan of bullying and standing behind the safety of my keyboard to judge and mock others. It must be excruciating to go through your biggest downfalls in the scrutiny of the entire world. Thank you from writing about this.

  13. Thank you for writing this. I think hate like that comes from ignorance – people like that obviously don’t understand addiction and the complete power it holds over a person’s life.

  14. It makes me so mad and it angers me when I see comments like that. People don’t understand and they don’t even begin to try. The same level of gross misguided ignorance and lack of compassion is shown to those suffering with depression too. And not just from strangers, but family and friends. No one would ever choose to be depressed all day, or to drink and do drugs all day and people need to look outside of their bubbles, enlist a shred of compassion and educate themselves about what causes these things to happen and try to find ways to deal with it for the benefit of their families, friends and communities. Because this is something that affects us all, and we can reach out and help one another. But first, people have to let go of the judgement. Excellent post Julie.

  15. When I stopped using/drinking, the first thing I did was learn self-awareness. I surveyed the battlefield of broken relationships and hurt feelings and familial bullcrap I’d caused.

    It is easier to criticize than analyze. This is why 99.999999999999 % of internet comments are insane. Instead of typing “hey, I wonder is Lindsay Lohan’s family drama contributed to her acting out with drugs and sex?” people type “what a waste/whore/trash,etc”.

    Addicts and the mentally ill, of which I belong to both, are super-human. We have to overcome bad body chemistry, brain imbalances, and impulse control just to get out of bed, take a wiz and put out clothes on in the morning. Then we go drown in an ocean of guilt.

    Thanks for writing this. The right people will read it and get it. The others can go screw themselves until they find their hearts.

  16. Very much agree! Rather than judging Lindsay and pointing out her imperfections why can’t people give her the credit she so very much deserves for her bravery and courage to fight for her life! The mere fact that she is doing through television with everyone breathing down her back and looking over her shoulder shows her WANT to live! Thank you for sharing this and for everyone out there that hasnt fought this battle of addiction until you’ve walked the road to recovery you will never understand the painful truth of fighting for your life

  17. As a recovering addict/alcoholic I feel such empathy for Lindsey and Amanda and the hundreds of thousands of addicts who fight this debilitating disease daily. As aw repeat offetnder myself it is a struggle everyday. A struggle with myself who constantly tries to rationalize why just a drink would hurt it has been 18 months you will be fine. The hardest part of this battle is the admission that our brain is messed up and there is no amount of time or therapy aside from total abstinence will stop the cycle of mdness. My heart aches for these souls and for the people who feel the need to bash and abuse the ones who suffer with this madness and will struggle off and on the remainder of their lives. Thank you for speaking out on this issue

  18. Powerful words, Julie. Who are we to cast stones at anyone else’s journey? We are put on earth to love and be loved, and it is so sad that people feel they can judge someone else’s life challenges. Every day, we are given a chance to begin again and to be what we might have been. As long as we are living and breathing, there is hope for a better day. I’m so glad you found the strength inside of you, with the help of loving souls who were meant to be in your life … and that you share your message and your humor with the world. Know that you make a difference.

  19. I am not an addict, but I have a husband who is And I totally agree with you. Addicts need support and positive help. Negativity will just bring them down and then they go right back to the drug that helps them numb the pain. Addicts need love and support esp from family.. I have been there for my husband through all of his issues with drugs, and he is seeking help… the fight is not over… but then again, it really never is. Thank you for you story it helps me understand more, from his point of view. But he does know at the end of the day… I am always going to be there for him and help him in anyway that I can. I think that every addict needs that. not just addicts but everyone in general in life.

  20. So true. And I hate the term ‘chronic relapser’ too – and I’ve been called it a lot. There is so much hate out there for addicts its palpable. People proclaim their anti-addict stance with so much self-righteousness – I often wonder – what if it happened to their child? Sometimes the stigma of addiction is harder to overcome than the addiction itself. Every time I have some small success in my life it is met with – “that’s good, but you’re still an alcoholic”. I used to relapse over this until a good counsellor told me that this was ‘revenge drinking’. I’m sober now but I’m not a very nice person. I hate everyone (except my kids) because I know what they really think of me. It guts me that I can be sober but I am still always a drunk.

  21. “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 it’s dangerous! We are losing human beings every day that have no hope. Yes, We.” THIS. I love this. I’ve given much thought to how cruelty has become so commonplace. I remember vividly the few times I consciously chose to be cruel as a youngster and it still haunts me and what I must have made that fellow 1st grader feel like. This was beautifully written! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  23. Lindsay, there us a way out. You don’t have to live like this. There is a way out. You are the favorite child if an intelligent spirit in this universe. It’s rooting for you, hoping you won’t quit, sending some help now and then. But you have to pick up the torch. You have to do thus one day like you mean it. You have to love yourself enough to give you a break. But until you can, I love you girl. Not in a creepy stalker way. In a we’re in this together way. Lindsay, maybe you will read this. Or maybe someone else will. Someone that is in terrible pain. Someone that doesn’t know if there us a way out. In that regard, you’ve already helped someone. You can do this.

  24. WOW. Wonderful. We need more humanity in this world and I truly admire each and every one of you telling your truth. I’m an alcoholic and have struggled since my first drink. Was molested while blacked out during this horrible bout. But, sadly in society, we cheer each other on or joke about getting “wasted”.

    I grew up with an alcoholic father, brothers and many family members were also addicts of some kind. Not blaming my environment here but I saw too much early on and messed me up. I wanted to be cool at 14, self medicate the abuse, get rid of my social anxiety, what have you…I did a lot of super self destructive things all of these years.

    Having a child in my early 30’s woke me up for a while but slowly fell back into post partum and medicated. Getting a first DWI scared the living hell out of me and just simply freaking tired of this cycle of shame. Who am i to put others at risk like that?! I’m ready to fight this with eyes wide open. Scared to lose my friends or “miss out” which I know is selfish or stupid to worry about those things. But I’m scared of isolating myself more than anything. So much greatness on here and much love to you all. Thank you.

    Amy

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