Disease Vs Choice
Posted: September 30, 2017, 10:57 AM


Posts: 75
Joined: January 21, 2017



There have been some heated convos lately about whether addiction is a disease or a choice. Just gonna give my two cents. It is sickening, life-sucking and toxic to have someone in your life that only thinks about themselves, doing whatever it takes to make themselves feel good, or normal. To the exclusion of every other aspect of life. They cannot feel compassion, empathy or even common decency to do anything that is hard. No regard for people in their lives that are struggling also. Every communication is about them. Ugh. When they feel uncomfortable, uneasy, sad, desperate, etc, etc....i.e. anything but numb, they run to their DOC. Everyone in their life gets to let their hearts be smashed to pieces, put on a brave face for the world and fight a battle they can never be prepared for. Basically standing in line for the carousel of life... calm, peace and genuine love, which is dang hard sometimes. All the while, they are upset because we won't get in line for the roller coaster of addiction. I think the anger comes from the lack of balance... I understand my son is addicted. But it is a disease inside, and like any other lack of ease, or disease, it is infuriating when they won't own it and ask for help. That is where the choice comes in. If you are diagnosed with cancer or diabetes but refuse to go to the doctor, or seek help you will die from it. Those folks also leave behind loved ones who will watch them die due to denial. No, they did not wake up one day and decide to be an addict. But each time they run to their DOC they are deciding that their disease outweighs everything. Thanks for listening, Libby
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Posted: September 30, 2017, 8:58 PM


Posts: 469
Joined: August 28, 2016



Libby--

I think you hit the nail on the head so to speak! I feel exactly the same way about addiction and my son. He has chosen to give up his family, the people that loved him, and everything he ever excelled at or enjoyed in life for his DOC! It was his decision and even years of attempts to change all that for him never was what He wanted! Many times he said he would never go back to his DOC but always did--his choice!

Yes--I think it is a disease, but like you said with any disease--cancer, diabetes,etc. it is still boiling down to choices. His was drugs!

Sad for everyone involved because even if it is a disease like cancer etc. it is the person or patient that makes the final decision which way to go with it and their choice can be the difference between life and death.

I have cried more tears than ever and have loved my addict forever and I can no longer do that or be part of his sad choices! I will always love the person I once knew and the son I birthed, but I do not know this person that was once my son anymore!

Thanks for your words--they really are the way I feel!

((HUGS))) Lori

This post has been edited by duchesschama on September 30, 2017, 9:00 PM
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Posted: September 30, 2017, 9:04 PM


Posts: 1041
Joined: June 27, 2016



libby-thank you for sharing. so concise. and well put. It would have taken me pages and still I would not have said it so well! Similar to what I think about addiction. my son has been to rehab twice. several 4 month periods clean in the last 3 years. no jail time. has a job. living w gf. every week we hope he will stop the addiction. it keeps him poor and angry bc he's poor. it is sad to watch week after week. he works a labor type job over 40 hrs a week, usually two weeks work, two days off. he keeps saying he is tired of this, but blames the job for his problems - that he does not get paid enough. the problem isn't what he is being paid, it is what he is spending on. he does not even buy a pair of sox for himself. winter is coming, he will need boots, but he cant think ahead, and never has a dollar left. same old same old for a few years now. He thinks he is self medicating bc he is depressed and has anxiety and insomnia..... I'm pretty sure it is the drugs he does that give him depression, anxiety, insomnia... he does not see it...

like you said, it is a disease, a predisposition, yet when givin the tools to fix his illness, he does not want to do that. I know I am preaching to the choir..... we have all been there, done that. it helps to keep expressing it, sharing it. my son started to see a doctor and therapist. I know progress will be slow. this is the first he has gone to a dr on his own. If I have the opportunity, I am going to suggest he ask the MD for soboxone. but I think he is in denial, does not admit he has a problem. probably has not told the therapist or dr the truth either. I don't think it is the best idea to trade one drug for another, but if he does it, it could give him peace for a while. we want peace for a while!

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on September 30, 2017, 9:16 PM
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Posted: October 1, 2017, 2:15 AM


Posts: 591
Joined: April 4, 2016



Sending hugs to all!

Lord knows I get the frustration and anger that we all feel with addiction and our addicts that Libby, Lori and NY wrote of so well & concisely. I’m still lost on the choice vs disease argument. I know, tho, that without the drugs corrupting & compromising my daughter’s mind and morals, she would never have done one tenth of what she did. Without the dope, she would have been able to apprehend my concern. The dope hijacked and warped her mind & body.... and controled her every move. The cancer or diabetes or AIDs patient doesn’t have to deal with making decisions while they are mentally impaired. (Seems like all of our kids also are battling a mental illness. Right now I see mental illness and addiction as a chicken & egg thing.) The AIDs, MS or lung cancer patient make their decisions re their care with a clear and healthy mind.

At least with heroin, my kid’s DOC, if an addict does not use, they become physically sick. I was watching Drugs, Inc yesterday and learned that the first time an addict indulges each day it is to prevent them from getting dope sick. The first use per day was out of necessity. It wasn’t about getting high.... or escaping reality.... or even having fun. Isn’t it human nature to avoid sickness?

Let me be clear. I am not saying that our addicts shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions.... I am not giving them a free pass bc they couldn’t help themselves: the dope & their mental illness made them do it. Nope... not acceptable answers. I am as perplexed as the rest of you as how they can look in the mirror... or their bank accounts.... or lack of a home or job.... and tell themselves everything is ok.... or that what they learned in rehab is crap... or that they should change... when even Helen Keller can see that they everything is awful, what they learned in rehab is correct, and that they need to change to save their lives. At the same time, saying that there is some level of choice, especially when someone is in active addiction, suggests that the “antidote” is willpower, self control and self restraint.

Just my (confused) two cents....

Sending hugs & prayers for healing,
Lynn
xoxo

This post has been edited by hurtingmom on October 1, 2017, 2:41 AM

--------------------
*******
I forgot to read the fine print, when i signed up to be your Mom. I thought it would be smiles & hugs and quite a lot of fun.

I didn’t see the part about addiction, mental illness, pain, hopelessness or despair. I didn’t know life could be so flipping unfair.

But I now see something in the fine print that I didn’t see before. It also says to survive your addiction, I must love me more.


In Loving Memory of Jill (July 1995 ~ August 2016) #ihateaddiction #forverloved[COLOR=green]
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Posted: October 1, 2017, 9:57 AM


Posts: 75
Joined: January 21, 2017



Thanks ladies, for the responses. By no means is willpower an antidote to addiction. I guess what I am saying is that if my son got out of bed in the morning and even gave ONE thought to anyone other than himself, he may see that the spotlight is not always on him and his disease. If he used the grit and moxie that he directs toward staying where he is, and gave even a fraction of it to the rest of the world, it may be a start of realizing that it is not always about him. Addiction does give a pass, in that we are told that shame never helps. Dr Brene Brown in her book Daring Greatly defines the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt is " I did something wrong". Shame is "I am wrong". Shame is a killing machine, but guilt is a compass that may keep a person aware that their actions have a ripple effect, and people can be hurt by their choices. But it feels sometimes like parents especially are pounded over the head with getting educated and well-armed about addiction so we can fully understand and support our children. And we are doing that....now in numbers reaching millions. But if supporting them means we can never say you are being a self-absorbed pain in the rear end. Call me when the convo starts with: how are you Mom, or how is my uncle doing whose wife is lying in the hospital dying? No, getting well from addiction is not about simply walking away from any DOC. I believe it is about an addict realizing it is not their world, with all others just passing through. They are not well, and need help. It is scary and overwhelming. Amen. Many things are. Thanks for the forum. Sending strength and peace, Libby
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Posted: October 4, 2017, 5:21 PM


Posts: 75
Joined: January 21, 2017



Today I took a client to an appointment, and the building was right across the street from the agency where my son did his college internship. I was immediately flooded with memories of his coaching little league baseball, golfing, fishing...all the things that go on in a life not interrupted by addiction. The agency is called Grace Place. It occurred to me that his grace place now is home....even thru the deep sadness, anger and stages of grief, the bottom line is that we parents will always love our children more than they hate themselves. Thanks always to this group that allows open, honest and thoughtful conversation, especially when it seems hope is lost. Sending peace and strength, Libby
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Posted: October 4, 2017, 7:33 PM


Posts: 1041
Joined: June 27, 2016



Hi Libby - your post prompted me to write. Your statement - "if my son gave ONE thought to anyone other than himself..." My thoughts are that I wish my son would Care enough about Himself to get out of the lifestyle of addiction. If Only he would care about his feet and save a few twenty's from his pay check to buy decent sox and shoes. If Only he would care about using a nice razor instead of stopping by and taking my handout of $2 for a pac of 10 razors. If Only he would be interested in cooking and shopping for food instead of take out. If Only he would care enough about himself to budget his $$ for gas so he is not short 3 days before the next pay check. If Only he would care enough about himself to want to live better. He is a hard worker and never misses a day at work, yet he gives his $$ away and goes without. We have our fingers crossed this week.... tomorrow is payday and we haven't had to fill the gas tank.... humm.... is that good news or bad news..... time will tell.



This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on October 5, 2017, 5:29 PM
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Posted: October 5, 2017, 5:52 PM


Posts: 1041
Joined: June 27, 2016



More thoughts. Libby - I agree with what you stated too. When my son makes the statements that where he was living "there were no opportunities for work" and his life is a mess bc we sent him to FL. and he had two years without work in his field, and his resume has holes in it. This was time he was in and out of rehab and odd jobs. The correct assessment is that he was out of work bc of the addiction that made his life a mess and he had to run away from his job, and he was homeless, and crashed a car. True to course, he does not acknowledge these events were the reason he was in rehab. And now, two years later, he does not admit he gives his money away on the street. The problem he thinks is that "he isnt paid enough, and is on salary therefore has to work too much and not get overtime" therefore, he is miserable. Another to match what you have said, when his grandfather was dying for two years and needed home care, he did not step up and say "I will live with grandma and help". Like you say - his life of struggle was more important. During this two years my husband was working full time, helping with his father every day and dealing with our son's addiction - which as you all know - brings surprises every week! we are past that now...

The conclusion I make is that the drugs and alcohol impair their processing and put a different slant on life. After years of heartache, I am learning to let his life be his choice. We still do panic at times, but not as often.

It does make a difference when we can hold them responsible and stop our enabling behaviors. As one person in rehab stated "Hold his feet to the fire".

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Posted: October 5, 2017, 6:00 PM


Posts: 1041
Joined: June 27, 2016



PS - My son recently starts the phone convo with "Hey did you make dinner?' I say yeah stop by, there's left overs. but he does not. or he says "Just wanted to say HI, How's things going? then 20 minutes later in to the conversation he needs $ to get to work, will pay me back, promises.... Ugh, duped again! Lately, I dont answer the phone right away. I dont want to be called only when he wants $$. And I dont want to be put on the spot to help him out. That is the weakest part for me.
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Posted: October 6, 2017, 6:45 PM


Posts: 75
Joined: January 21, 2017



I read a quote once that said: It often shows a fine command of the language to say nothing. Sometimes it is nearly impossible for me to hold my tongue. But I have found not immediately jumping to respond to each call/text is showing my son that boundaries are a good thing...but then he finagles something out of me.....again.....trying every day to love him where he is at. Sheesh....hoping for a calm, peaceful weekend for everyone, Libby
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Posted: October 7, 2017, 10:23 AM


Posts: 75
Joined: January 21, 2017



What to do when an addict's dreams and plans turn into schemes and scams? Hmmm.turn the ringer off on my phone, spend a couple hours volunteering, turn up the music, turn down the chatter in my head. LIVE!!! Sending peace and strength and so many thanks group, Libby
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Posted: October 9, 2017, 9:56 PM


Posts: 10
Joined: June 27, 2017



Damn Libby, that first post is spooky because it’s so spot on. Amazing heartfelt truth.
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Posted: October 9, 2017, 11:12 PM


Posts: 185
Joined: November 2, 2016



I agree. I am realizing that pausing to text back or to not text at all (If inappropriate content) makes him very angry but also hopefully teaches him a boundary.
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Posted: October 11, 2017, 2:27 PM


Posts: 228
Joined: August 18, 2016



As an addict in longer term remission, I read this thread with great interest. The farther away I get from active addiction, the more I see the other side of the addiction coin..the other's who suffer.

There was something said I would like to address. This is a quote from Libby's post:

But if supporting them means we can never say you are being a self-absorbed pain in the rear end. Call me when the convo starts with: how are you Mom, or how is my uncle doing whose wife is lying in the hospital dying?

You can ABSOLUTELY tell your addicted love one they are a being self-centered! When we are using, we have a singular focus, which is staying well and using more. We are usually unaware of things other people would be aware of. I understand how angry it must make family members when we act the way we do.

However, if you do not tell us EXACTLY what you need from us, whether it is us asking about your day, coming over more etc., then we are unaware..we are not mind readers and we do not view the world like many people do. It helps us when you tell us what we are missing..it gives us a chance to change our behavior and to see what you are seeing.

Believe me, my behavior probably pissed off people on the other side of the world when I was using. The great thing I found when my family pointed out what behaviors were bothering them was that it gave me a chance to focus on behavior changes instead of just focusing on trying to not use. It allowed me to start early reovery work even before I stopped using.

Just remember, you are not responsible for tip-toeing around our addiction. You should talk to us like anyone else and if anyone else was treating you poorly, you would let them know!!!

There is NOTHING you can do that will change the course of our using, but our using should not stop you from asking us what you need! Your needs are equally important!!!

Once again, I think you are all very smart, brave and compassionate! Sending good vibes!!!
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Posted: October 11, 2017, 9:15 PM


Posts: 75
Joined: January 21, 2017



Thanks, Lolledee for yor continued insight. It seems to me that addiction strips away layers from a person, first and foremost the layer of decency. I have told my son since he was a teenager (he is now 35) that it is always dark when your head is up your rear end. No, we should not expect anyone to be a mind reader, but we also should not have to spell out simple kindness, or awareness of the rest of the world. Not just the addict's family and friends....all the people who have done their best, held jobs, paid their dues, if you will, and still suffer unimagineable loss. I believe there has to be a discussion about the willingness to say "maybe it's not all about you" a discussion about forgiveness, humility, awareness and gratitude. Spend some time at the children's hospital with parents who will not be taking their child home...or the family who is watching a parent wither away before their eyes....the list is endless. It is especially painful when a loved one used to live a life of awareness, but is now dulled to "what about me" Libby
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Posted: October 27, 2017, 7:14 AM


Posts: 591
Joined: April 4, 2016



I have been thinking about disease vs choice a lot lately. I've been fussing at my addict daughter re why did she make the initial choice to try or dabble with heroin . . . knowing her history . . . knowing the dangers of heroin addiction . . . having already battled a pill and alcohol addiction. I asked her this when she was in rehab in FL in 2016 . . . and got a blank stare. But now that I've had a chance to sit back and really think about it. . . pushing aside any hurt she may have wanted to soothe, putting aside any desire to self-medicate . . . she tried because she thought she was invincible. She really and truly thought that she would remain in control . . . that she could use recreationally or socially . . . and be able to put it down at will. Boy, did she make a BIG mistake. Is it really a choice when you make such a BIG material mistake in fact?

For my Jill, for our addict angels, for our addicts who are battling active addiction and for our addict babies who are hanging on to remission by a thread, it really doesn't matter whether it is a choice or not OR when it stopped being a choice and became a disease OR whether it was a disease from the gate OR whatever. Right now, we have an epidemic. Our kids are dropping like flies . . . not only from taking too much junk . . . but also because the dope is being cut with lethal stuff (fentanyl/carfentanyl) . . . including my child. Something needs to be done.

It's been 14 months . . . almost to the day. I am fighting to find light in this horrible, never ending darkness. Days are now measured in tears. Some days are "good" days. Today is a bad day for me . . . I am flipping mad at addiction. I am mad at those that are exploiting the situation by running so-called sober living houses, such as the last one Jill lived in, but are really drug dens, I am mad that the average person knows more about cancer or AIDs or hepatitis or animal abuse than addiction. I am mad that my child could not hear me when I warned her before she started using OR when I begged her after she started. I am mad that she did not desire sobriety as much as she enjoyed chasing the high. But with all of this anger . . . I am still crying today. Because net net . . . I just miss my baby. I want her back . . . regardless of whether she is clean or not. . . regardless of whether or not she is selfish . . . regardless of whether or not she would be manipulating me or guilting me. And, addiction took her!

So disease or choice . . . it really doesn't matter to me today. It has changed my life forever. I pray that none of you walk this walk.

Sorry . . . just needed to vent.

Sending hugs & love to all,
Lynn

This post has been edited by hurtingmom on October 27, 2017, 7:35 AM

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*******
I forgot to read the fine print, when i signed up to be your Mom. I thought it would be smiles & hugs and quite a lot of fun.

I didn’t see the part about addiction, mental illness, pain, hopelessness or despair. I didn’t know life could be so flipping unfair.

But I now see something in the fine print that I didn’t see before. It also says to survive your addiction, I must love me more.


In Loving Memory of Jill (July 1995 ~ August 2016) #ihateaddiction #forverloved[COLOR=green]
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Posted: October 27, 2017, 9:44 AM


Posts: 469
Joined: August 28, 2016



hurting mom--

Big hugs to you! I know there are no words to say that takes away the pain. I am constantly under the duress and worry that when the phone rings it will be someone telling me they have found my son od'd or dead from an accident. I don't know if that even compares at all to the loss of a child, but I do know the constant worry is very painful. Sometimes I feel like I have lost my Chris a long time ago and even though he is an alive drug addicted man, he really isn't alive except his heart is beating. Inside he is really dead and has no feeling or emotion anymore. It is like a part of me is dead as well. At his age I don't feel I will ever have him back the way I knew him.

My heart goes out to you my cyber friend!

HUGS__Lori
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Posted: October 27, 2017, 8:00 PM


Posts: 185
Joined: November 2, 2016



Hurtingmom,

Giant hug. Such a horrible thing to go through. It is shocking how addiction blocks all rational thought. I spoke with a person who is having liver problems and has been told he will not live long if he does not stop drinking. He has drank heavily for over 40 years. I asked why he started this last time and he said, "I thought I could have just one". I asked if he had ever been able to have just one and he said no. Such a strange illness.

Although not nearly as bad as losing your child, my son is no longer speaking to me. He is blaming me for everything and says that I interfere in his life too much. I am having a struggle to honor this and STAY away. It is so hard. It hurts very much.

However, losing a child is incomprehensibly painful. I am so sorry for your loss and your sorrow. Please keep sharing...we are here.
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Posted: October 27, 2017, 9:28 PM


Posts: 75
Joined: January 21, 2017



Dearest Lynn, you are right...it does not matter how we label the cause of a shattered heart. I admire you, and your bravery. Thank you for fighting this battle, and giving a piece of yourself, even when it would have been easier to quit when you lost Jill. Libby
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Posted: October 27, 2017, 10:30 PM


Posts: 591
Joined: April 4, 2016



Thanks Parenting, Lori and Libby for the hugs and the voices of love and support.

Yes, Lori . . . when our babies are in active addiction, they are truly like the walking dead. They are physically here but the look in their eyes is a dead stare . . . in some ways they are zombies . . . Lord knows that the dope changes them from kids that we loved and were proud of into something we can't recognize no less want to claim. We lose a piece(s) of them to addiction. Watching them morph into these things is so very painful... we are virtually watching our kids die before our eyes. And we are helpless. Despite all of this, we still have hope. We live in hope . . . of hoping that they get clean and sober . . . of them picking up the pieces of their lives . . . of hoping that they change.


I've learned from reading Jill's texts and posts that she was in so much pain. In her heart of hearts she knew what she was doing was wrong and unhealthy . . . that she was not proud that dope was ruling her life and that she lost so much because of if. She didn't like herself and felt very uncomfortable in her addict skin. I think when she didn't contact me it was her way of protecting me from some of the horrors of what she was doing . . . ok . . . ok . . . and she was a little busy getting high, too. And, I think that sometimes we need to have radio silence to maintain our sanity . . . and to love ourselves as much as we love our addicts. . . to detach with love. Us establishing radio silence (and boundaries, for that matter) is our act of being selfish . . . or an act for self-preservation.

Parenting . . . I'm so sorry that you are hurting. Sending BIG BIG hugs. Remember an addict will say or do anything s/he needs to get the space and opportunity to continue their lifestyle. Please don't take his words as a personal attack . . . or even as the gospel truth. Lord knows how much you love your son. Consider using this time and give yourself permission to be selfish . . . to focus on you . . . to regain your sense of equilibrium . . . to let go and let God and your boy handle his addiction . . . to do you!

Don't mean to hijack your post, Libby. So . . . directly focusing on selfishness & our addicts. And leaving the issue of whether their first-use is choice or not. Yes, when they are in active addiction, our addict babies are some of the most selfish people on the earth. Yes . . .It is all about them . . .all about them getting their next high . . . and all about them having time and energy to search for that high. Lord knows we have all experienced up-close and personal the depths and breadths that our addict kids will go to to feed their addiction . . . cussing parents out, hitting spouses, punching holes in walls, stealing wedding bands. I guess that selfishness is part of the disease.

I understand how this selfishness drives parents crazy. Hell, we spend the bulk of our time parenting telling our kids to share, to be considerate, to be compassionate. But as addicts . . . its all about them . . . their needs . . . their wants . . . and their drugs. Worse yet, they aren't giving this proverbial finger to strangers. Nope. They have this cavalier, "you should enable me" attitude with their mom, dad, grandma, spouse, siblings . . . close, intimidate relatives. And . . . they don't care. They don't care if you can't pay the mortgage or buy your prescription meds or buy food. Their needs are paramount. My blood is boiling remembering all the schemes, tricks, lies, stealing, guilting and manipulating we went through.

Yet and still . . . during the time that Jill was in remission, I encouraged her to be selfish. Crazy, right??? I think when our addicts move on to remission they also HAVE to be selfish. They have to selfishly work to go into remission/sobriety. They have to focus on them . . . their triggers . . . their needs. This is why most programs suggest that addicts not get into or resume an intimate relationship for 12 months . . . to give them this selfish "me" time.

Maybe the question should be: is there "good" selfishness vs. "bad"?

Thanks again!! Love you guys!!

Lynn
xoxo

This post has been edited by hurtingmom on October 27, 2017, 10:38 PM

--------------------
*******
I forgot to read the fine print, when i signed up to be your Mom. I thought it would be smiles & hugs and quite a lot of fun.

I didn’t see the part about addiction, mental illness, pain, hopelessness or despair. I didn’t know life could be so flipping unfair.

But I now see something in the fine print that I didn’t see before. It also says to survive your addiction, I must love me more.


In Loving Memory of Jill (July 1995 ~ August 2016) #ihateaddiction #forverloved[COLOR=green]
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