Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:54 PM
this is a realy depressing subject.
recent events in my life have led me to cry out. so i wrote a letter to myself. i think it might be good for me anyway, to share with a small circle of intelligent people. taking a chance here. keeping in mind that this was intended to be read at a sobriety meeting that my friend used to go to once a week for ten years. here goes;
I’m an addict. I’ve been inactive for about eight years. I know that some people will say that if you don’t know your sober date, that you aren’t serious or won’t make it. That’s OK, for those who need that. For me, what’s important is today and tomorrow, everyday. The past for me is not to be celebrated. It took me many attempts to get where I am now. Understanding that it’s not necessarily what works for the masses, but what works for me, was one of many keys in unlocking my sobriety. Not to be misunderstood, sobriety groups were a very needed first and fallback step. Knowledge and support gained from fellow addicts cannot be understated.
I chose to be clean. I wanted it. You have to. All the rehabs, arrests with months in jail, emergency rooms, unwavering love from family, didn’t matter. I had to make the choice. Life or death. In the end, I should say, in the beginning, that’s all there is. It has to come from within. Unfortunately, even that may not be enough. Life or death, it all comes down to a totally primal and utterly selfish choice. All the love and all the laws ( as they are now ), didn’t matter. Which brings me to what motivated me to write this letter.
While it maybe true, you can’t run from drugs, there is something to be said about getting the heckle out of Dodge. So after getting clean, the wife and I left the city for the sticks. It is here that my frustration grew to motivate me to write this letter.
I live in a diverse community housing. Been here for over five years and have accumulated many friends. It didn’t take long to realize that drug abuse is here too. I want to say it’s a different kind of abuse, but it’s not.
One day, the aid unit from the fire department came. Someone had died. I later learned the person died from alcohol poisoning. Sometime later another neighbor was so ill from alcohol and almost died. Another slipped into a coma while watching TV. His cigarette fell onto his chair and smoldered. Someone found him and he went to the hospital for a while. He’s back now, still drinking. There are others here that that drink “twenty four seven”.
Just recently a neighbor passed away in his apartment. Turns out it maybe drug related and the police are looking for someone to blame. I hope they find the person who supplied the drugs. The person who died was very old. Just like giving drugs to children, I think it’s especially heinous.
What’s wrong with that picture? We criminalize “drug” use and turn our legal backs on alcohol. It’s not a matter of what is illegal and what’s not. It’s do we want to help. Drugs and alcohol. “and alcohol”? They’re both drugs. Both are abused. Both KILL! They are both drugs.
To put a “drug” addict in jail for possession doesn’t help. Branding an individual with a criminal record is even less constructive and hinders recovery. We put a person in jail where there are drugs and those who use them. If that’s not bad enough, if they don’t use, the tolerance to their drug diminishes while in jail. When they get out, they use again. And the odds of death from using with a lowered tolerance is increased. The legal system and the medical community know this. There are some caring judges and some programs within the legal system. Far and few. But better than none.
The financial resources spent on a revolving door, convicting, arresting, and hospitalization are incalculable.
The medical insurance companies won’t cover “drug abuse” related issues. But alcohol related issues are.
The other side of the coin is that we aren’t doing enough legally for alcoholics. The medical community has a legal obligation to report abuse from guns, “drugs”, domestic violence, even animal rights.
We don’t put alcoholics who possess alcohol in jail. Wonder why that is.
Maybe a public awareness campaign with the same fervor on “drugs” and alcohol, as an equal opportunity killer. Presently , for the most part, alcohol and cars kill. Alcohol by itself is being associated with good times and beautiful people. But it’s not “drugs” or alcohol that’s bad. It’s our abuse of these that in the end are two things……..
LIFE OR DEATH!!!
God help us find an answer…..
Why work when you can play!