September is National drug and alcohol recovery month, so let’s talk about addiction. Addiction comes in many forms and we all have it. How many times have you stated your dependence on a cup of coffee? Or, on the healthier side, how you require at least five days of exercise a week? We get hooked, not even noticing it, and deny that any reliance is there. Merriam-Webster states that addiction is the quality or state of being addicted, furthermore addicted implies being strongly inclined or compelled to do, use, or indulge in something repeatedly… chocolate anyone?
So if we all admit to our miniscule addictions, maybe we can understand the nitty gritty of substance abuse. Of course those of us who do not suffer from dangerous compulsions will never truly fathom the depth of this illness, yet the next time we struggle with willpower we’ll be able to gain greater appreciation for those who did. Addiction ravages families all over the world, mine has not remained unscathed. I remained aloof to my sister for years needing true evidence of a recovery from alcoholism before I’d offer understanding. A half-hearted solution without sympathy, this seems to be the current administration’s stance as well.
Under the forty-fifth president’s term, healthcare has been reeled back and the only countermeasure seemingly offered by the president is a wall to block drug flow. This cuts addicts off at the knees without understanding them and the root of their struggle. Not that addictive substances can be held behind a wall, but if they could, how would that really help? An addict without the substance still craves it, that craving leeches any inkling of productivity away. Don’t believe me? What about that cup of coffee you need to finish that assignment? Now, what if we counter this policy with a little more love? Instead of cutting rehabilitation funding and clean needle exchanges, could we not sit with people and attempt to understand the root of their problem?
In this month that celebrates the triumphs of addicts, we can do more than congratulate. This does not mean we have to give up that shoe addiction (thank god!) or that cup of coffee every morning. But that we can listen more gracefully to the friends that can’t have a glass of wine when watching Sex and the City reruns and that we can speak out against political prejudice held on addicts. I’ve healed the relationship with those addicted in my family, but this country is far from finding any answer to that problem. Tweet, text, post, even email those who govern and help initiate that much needed change!
Keri Watters is a twenty-year-old junior at Concord University majoring in pre-professional Biology. Before medical school, she aspires to join the Peace Corps or further her education with a masters degree. Keri is a passionate volunteer worker and vegetarian who hopes to inspire change through a multitude of mediums. She hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spends her free time shopping, drinking coffee, and watching old movies.