As a drug and alcohol counselor, I’ve seen more than my fair share of addiction-related suffering. While I’ve been very lucky to have been a part of people’s recovery process, more often than not, I’ve seen people who just LOVE their substance too much to give it up. It comes down to a simple concept: Many addicted people VALUE their substance above everything else and don’t see a problem. Most of the time, when people value their substances above people, there’s nothing but anger in relating with them.
Recently, I learned of someone who left a needle in a bathroom sink who vehemently denied that the needle was his. He has a long history of heroin use so when his aunt found the needle, she knew it was his. But, his normal and automatic response was to call her out on her shortcomings (she struggles with her weight and he constantly reminds her of that struggle) and say that it wasn’t his needle. Now, she wasn’t angry with him, she was just pointing it out and said that she didn’t like finding needles in her sink. She wasn’t judging him nor threatening him in any way. Still, as so often happens, he became defensive and somewhat aggressive.
Now, really, I can’t say if using heroin is right or wrong. I can say, however, that using heroin will escalate into a physical dependency that if not treated, will lead to death. It’s really only a matter of time. For someone who doesn’t use heroin, the allure seems strange — after all so much of a heroin addiction is hustling and lying that it doesn’t seem remotely worth it. But to the heroin addict — it’s the only thing that truly matters. I see the overall systemic suffering heroin use causes and I sometimes do wish I can punch those stubborn heroin addicts who lie and hurt their friends and family in the face. It might be horrible for me to admit that — but I do.
But then I see narcissistic Facebook posts from people that seem to come every two minutes and I think, dang, other than the physical dependency, those people are just as compulsive as the heroin user who leaves the needle in his aunt’s sink. I get just as frustrated with their love of their own reflection just as I get frustrated with the hustle from a heroin addict. So, I can only conclude that I have a desire to shake compulsive self-destructive behavior right out of people in general!
I wouldn’t get physical with anyone — but dang, there are times that I really wish I could….