on addiction

My whole life, I’ve watched people die. We all do. We’re not as surprised when it’s someone’s “time”. When death happens to a young person, or in an unnatural way, we like to try to pick apart why it happened. We do this most vigorously, and most unsympathetically, with deaths from suicide and drug overdose.

The first time I got drunk, I was 13 years old. I remember rolling around on the floor, feeling like this was the absolute best thing that had ever happened. Things moved quickly for me from there. I wasn’t the most outgoing or confident kid, but when I was wasted, I felt like the world was mine. I could be near-unconscious, vomiting onto myself, unable to move, and still feel like I was doing exactly what I wanted to do.

Drugs and alcohol were (and are) an easy way to deal with pain. I spent almost my entire junior year of high school being high on whatever I could get my hands on. I didn’t see consequences of it then. I still, sometimes, struggle to see those consequences. I’ve lost friends to both drugs and alcohol. I’ve lost friends to suicide. Each time, I’m incredibly hurt. I think to myself “I have to fix things for myself before this happens to me”. Each time, I forget soon enough.

Anyone who hasn’t dealt with addiction, and the trauma that often accompanies it, could easily write off a drug overdose as a stupid, selfish, thoughtless decision. I suppose it is, in a way. But I know what addiction is. Addiction is the devil on my shoulder, promising to take the pain away. Addiction is that intoxicating, fascinating person that you meet that comes off like they could change your life for the better. Addiction is the excruciating pain of withdrawal that you somehow manage to forget. Addiction is an abusive partner who keeps promising what it can’t deliver. Addiction is a road to nowhere that promises to be a road to everywhere.

I drank at lunch today, after yet another round of promising to myself that I would stop for good. My husband asked me why. I didn’t have an answer for him.

Dedicated to Mac Miller, who lost his battle earlier today.