I’ve encountered all kinds of people who suffer from an addiction. There are those kinds that that suffer with an undiagnosed and untreated illness for which they self-medicate (for example, someone who abuses cocaine may suffer from ADHD). There are those kinds that are overwhelmed with either physical pain or emotional pain (or both) that they squash and numb (for example, someone who suffered immense trauma and simply cannot feel the pain that resulted from that trauma). And there are those kinds that simply like to drugs/alcohol (for example, someone who “partied” in college and believes alcohol is a necessary element of a good time). There are other kinds of people suffering from with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, but what all kinds have in common and what I think is the most powerful positive element of any kind of addiction is the sheer amount of love that surrounds the addict.
It may sound kinda wacky, but it’s true. Addiction reduces humanity to a singular point of focus: The drug of abuse. However, this week showed me, once again, just how much people can love someone, even if that someone is lost to an addiction. Those who love don’t get enough credit or recognition , in my opinion. Those who love are the ones praying with every ounce of hope in their soul that the addicted in their life just comes home safely. Those who love pray that their addicted learns to see past his or her singular focus and accept that they are in fact worthy of love. That’s part of addiction, really: an addiction robs a person of the capability of love. Addiction is like a possessing demon that blinds its host behind veils of self-hate and reduces every behavior and thought to the drug. But even in spite of this singular pursuit and total blindness, love surrounds the addicted against all evidence that love may not be possible.
Ah, the love. I think of those willing to hear me out about acceptance as warrior angels. There aren’t a whole bunch of people who will engage an addiction, but those that do have a strength of spirit that only a warrior possesses. That strength derives from deep and real love that acts as a fuel and protective coat for the next time the addicted heads back on the streets. Recovery is like that: Periods of calm before the next relapse. But, the love carries warrior angels through every negative outcome and still fights the addiction with all they can. Even if the addicted can’t see the love, warrior angels are there, ready to give every last drop of their soul-energy to eliminate the drug of abuse.
For me, these warrior angels provide me with every bit of motivation I need to fight this deadly disease that we call addiction. Criminalizing addiction has only made it worse because of the cycles of retraumatization that prison recidivism causes. But, I call on every single one of us to at least try to understand that the “compulsion” component of any given addiction removes choice. An addicted person, regardless of the kind of addicted he or she is, cannot control his or her behavior towards the singular substance to which he or she is drawn. Try not to think of warrior angels as enablers: There isn’t any such thing. There’s only people who love other people and may not know how to help a person through a struggle. We all just do what we think is best: And in the years I’ve fought addiction (and depression and anxiety), I see the love around us all and I want to wrap myself in that love and wear it like armor. Love is the best thing about addiction.