An Unattractive Reality
Beth Anne Hoffman
Indiana Wesleyan University
Major of Integrated Studies-Human Services
An Unattractive Reality
Defiance is a main characteristic of an individual battling an addiction. No one likes to admit to complete defeat, so we do all we can to push against any evidence of such a suggested reality. Our nation has become stricken with a disease that carries the weight of lifelong symptoms, all varying in severity by each case. With first hand long term experience and collected opinions from numerous peers, I’ve found the growing problem of addiction seems to have three key factors. Most addicts, including myself, have a tendency to have at least one of these three things playing a role in their history before or during their journey of struggle: untreated mental illness, a predisposition, and/or a doctor prescribed starting line. I’m going to base the rest of this essay upon my personal experience and what I’ve contributed to an ever growing epidemic in America.
I was barely 15 years old when I was prescribed Vicodin. All it took was a consultation for my wisdom teeth surgery, and my complaint to the dentist about the pain they had been causing. I had been a rebellious teen that liked to party with my friends, but a whole new door was opened after that moment. Within ten years, I had slowly progressed further and further into the hole of opioids. OxyContin and Opana had been ruling the prescription scene, and I somehow found myself with an IV heroin addiction. My struggle spans over about 17 years, give or take. I had become not only the statistic, but most of all I became the cliche.
Once I hit a certain level, my identity inside my soul was unrecognizable compared to the girl that I once was. I had an obsession, and with that came a lifestyle that was very ugly. When you become willing to do whatever it takes to get what you think you physically need, you tend to lead a life full of shameful acts accompanied with a lot of crime. Once prostitution, robbery, and auto life become normal everyday life, my brain had trained itself to believe there was no turning back. After all, everybody knows that a strong stigma is a guarantee when your resume is full of overdoses, county jails, track marks, unemployment, and homelessness.
The reason I stayed in this mess for so long will be lost on a large crowd of people that have never been in the grip of substance addiction. I know that for me and many othr of my friends that are in recovery and in active addiction that we felt like there was no other place in the world for us to fit into. Not only did we have a disease, we had a disease that no outsider really knows how to treat us. It’s like an elite club that no one ever really plans on joining, but at lest you feel like you belong once you get there.
Can America rid itself of the collective judgement of addiction? It seems impossible, but I think its the key to help the hopeless dig themselves out of the insanity of choosing to stay in the darkness. The judgement of others doesn’t seem like a light we really want to step into in order to try getting sober, so we hide instead. Get us access to treatment, don’t continue to throw us into a corner.