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Writings from the Porch 

December 26, 2017

On Addiction and Choice

If you want more education on what the opioid epidemic is about, this short interview of Keith Humphreys, professor at Stanford (and the son of my friend Ken Humphreys), provides an excellent overview of facts.

A couple of points from recents discussions I have had on the subject:

1. You cannot be “a little ” addicted to opiods. You are either addicted or you are not. If being unable to acquire drugs causes you to spend several days throwing up and existing in a feverish haze, you are in withdrawals. This means you are an addict. Not partially an addict, but an addict. Non-addicts do not spend days withdrawing, nor even minutes. If resuming the intake makes the withdrawals go away, this does not change the fact that you are an addict; it reinforces that fact–and it’s true whether you admit it or not. Contrary to the political environment, admitting a behaviour is not required for that behaviour to be true. And you will be an addict for the rest of your life, which, if there are no changes in behaviour, will likely be short and will definitely be miserable.

2. While you cannot stop being an addict, you can stop allowing the addiction to run & ruin your life. But the hard news is that in order for that to happen you will have to stop using the drug. This is an incredibly difficult proposition. Simple–all you have to do is not take the drug–but incredibly difficult to the point of being damn near impossible (i.e. simple is not synonymous with easy.) The good news is that it actually is possible, and if you truly seek to be clean and are willing to honestly confront your self and your addiction, you can spend the rest of your life healing and even growing. And withdrawals, unlike addiction, do go away. The life of an addict who lives without the drug is just that–a life.

Any of this sound familiar? Google “addiction recovery.” You’ll find thousands upon thousands of options that won’t cost a dime–and, more importantly, you’ll be able to connect with people who will do anything to help you on the road to being an addict who isn’t using drugs. It’s the harder road–dying from your addiction, whether today or after years of living in misery and spreading that misery to everyone who loves you, is easier–but the harder road is the loving road. From my experience, the loving road is the better choice.