First off we would like to thank everyone who took the time to read, private message and comment on last week’s blog Stigmas and Semicolons, wordpress.com/post/63298331/196/. As we read through your messages and comments we could not help but notice an emerging common theme; individuals who are struggling with addiction or, who are in recovery are still largely misunderstood and stigmatized. It is disconcerting to know, that a large number people still believe that addiction of any kind is a choice and, this flawed thinking undermines social understanding of the disease of addiction. Each time a celebrity or a famous person dies as a result of a drug overdose, the addiction crisis becomes a relevant news topic. In February of 2014 Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead as a result of a drug overdose; and like those who went before him, Cory Monteith, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston (to name a few), we the public were shocked, saddened, and outraged. Many of us wondered how anyone who has everything could choose a life of drugs and alcohol. The sad fact is that this is not a choice. We live in an age of science and common sense, in fact we are ruled by it; we look to science to answer questions about ourselves and the world around us and yet, we have not fully accepted the science behind addiction and alcoholism. If we stop a moment and use our common sense, we would have to conclude that the brain of an addict functions differently, he or she is driven by different motivators, interprets the world around them differently. No person can truly believe that another human being would choose to relinquish everything they hold dear, family, friends, dignity and pride, to become an addict. In the last decades the scientific community has proven that addiction is primarily an imbalance in a person’s biochemical make up. This imbalance leaves these individuals susceptible to seeking out substances in order to achieve an equilibrium and to cope with stressful situations. The overwhelming fear, that the mental anguish or physical pain they suffer from is permanent prompts them to instinctively seek out instantaneous short term relief regardless of the consequences. When Hoffman died, The Centre for Disease Control claimed that one, in one hundred people die of a drug overdose daily , and yet the plight of these victims are never publicized.
It is time that we move beyond such antiquated thinking and accept that those who suffer from alcoholism and addiction suffer not because they choose to but rather, as a result of a combination of factors within their lives,coupled with an already existing predisposition. Only when we as a society accept these truths, will the stigma which follows those struggling with both addiction and recovery be eliminated. The programs offered by the Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society are dedicated to helping those in recovery stay in recovery. These programs are designed to help mitigate the elements in their lives which coupled with their predisposition can lead to relapse. If you or anyone you know would like more information about the programs offered by The Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society, please contact the www.oasismovement.org.