Name: Race Musgrave
From: Mesa, AZ
Addiction: A personal Cage
Nov. 3, 2020
Addiction: A Personal Cage
The tendency of addiction is to deny and hide, habits that have no weight in recovery. To recover, one must accept wholly the addiction and they must be open about it. Unfortunately, openness and denial are as opposite as light and dark. Going from denial to openness is one of the hardest parts of addiction. Imagine being a vampire learning to live in the daylight. On some days, that is what it felt like. Although the addict will not burst into flames as the fictional character might, the newness of openness is incredibly mentally straining. Certain addictions even cause withdrawals that make the body feel like it is on fire. As a former addict I know how it feels to overcome the darkness that sets in so gradually as the addiction forms.
My story begins as the age of twelve. I suppose this is a common time for many, some even younger, however, my addiction did not include alcohol, nicotine, or another abusive substance (although I would like to address these topics as well). No, I found myself addicted to pornography. As a society, we do not like to talk about it, some people avoid the topic altogether because it makes them uncomfortable. For anyone who knows addiction, they know that turning an addiction topic into taboo allows addicts to go unseen and unnoticed, and then they never receive help because they feel they cannot talk about it. Whatever the view on pornography, by the time I was 14, I could not view women in a normal way, and by the time I began dating I could not hold a normal relationship. In my heart, I wanted a real relationship. Unfortunately, time and time again, as all addicts understand, I failed my heart. The most ironic part of any addiction is the addict genuinely believes they are happier with their substance, when it is the substance that pulls them away from exactly what they are looking for. Whatever the view on pornography, it is highly addictive, and I know what the process of recovery is like, Since my recovery three years ago, I have been much happier, almost as if a fog lifted from my life. At the time, I did not realize that the addiction was the cause of my mood swings and constant depression. Whether the danger is mental or physical, the consequences are real.
The dangers of substance abuse are well documented. As far as the CDC is concerned, addiction related deaths reach nearly 159,000 each year in the united states, this includes alcohol and drugs. The COVID-19 virus has caused a worldwide pandemic and according to the CDC and WHO, the current COVID-19 related deaths have reached nearly 220,000. While 220,000 is a larger number than 159,000, it is important to understand that COVID-19 is a virus, whose job is to kill us. With increasing world issues and an increasing number if depressed individuals, addiction related death numbers will continue to rise as the trends are still upward. Addiction is capturing, it does not let go easily. The coronavirus will eventually curve down and will be an issue of the past and yet we have shut down the country for it. However, the number of people dying from addiction will most likely continue to increase year after year.
The effects of substance abuse are well documented, so why do so many people start in the first place? Well, like me, curiosity to a teenager is harmless, they do not think things through so thoroughly. If their friends are doing it, why not them? The victims are captured, entangled, disoriented, and then the outcomes are usually rather dismal. Ultimately, as a society, we need to be more vocal about addiction, substances, and their potential issues.
I believe I learned a lot about myself during my recovery, but I still have scars. Even after recovery, an addict is still usually an addict, they can rarely fully rid themselves of the desires. These are matters of life and death literally, as parents, friends, neighbors, and strangers, we need to look out for each other. Current substance abuse as we know it is only getting worse. The solution does not lie in more advertising, it lies in the home, it lies in schools, in the workplace and everyday life. Curiosity in the young years can be good, but the supply of drugs, alcohol or any other addictive pleasure will always be there. The solution lies in you, be a good friend, parent, co-worker, teammate, and associate, do not shame people for their disease. If you have ever dealt with addiction, be open about it, there are people out there that need to know they can talk about these topics. The solution lies in openness. The solution lies in the light, we cannot push the conversations to the side any longer.