Thursday, June 04, 2009

Oprah, Shnowpra

Wow. Oprah had a pretty hard-core look at the life and times of some drug addicts and their families today. It felt pretty intense to me and made me start thinking about so much...

The one boy (well, he's a young man now) started, had his first drink and black-out at age 11! He described how a friend that was drinking with him just basically turned up his nose at the alcohol and wasn't really interested besides the basic experimenting to see how it felt and what it tasted like. The other boy didn't like it, and lost interest. I know that is a typical experience for kids; i.e., a great many of us, although maybe at ages later than 11, have tried alcohol or other drugs "just to see" and then lost interest or maybe used them at parties either to have the meager amount of "fun" they offered, or just to look cool (you can admit it here).

But the addict, who was relating his story on Oprah today, explained how, even at that tender age, and even with it being his first drink ever ... something changed in him when he felt that alcohol in his body, when he felt that experience which ultimately he enjoyed. He said that even as a boy, who we can assume had none of the "worldly" associations with The Drink, like I'll-just-have-this-to-destress, etc., he just "had to" have it.

I'm curious about how this works, what happens to people, what HAS HAPPENED to people before they even begin life practically? Oh yes, I know, I know, it is pretty well accepted that some people have "the gene" or other biological predisposition to addiction. But I mean to find out something more than that. I mean, this boy wasn't abused, wasn't exposed to addiction, none of that horrible stuff that goes on with many addicts. In other words, what HAPPENED inside of him, whether in the womb, or in his early life, or whenEVER??

So, I mean, I keep hearing the short answer that some people are just "addicts," and that's that. Some people just can't cope with or control themselves around alcohol or other substances. But I always hear these people discussing that while they were using, they just were hurting so bad, they were trying SO HARD to RUN AWAY from things inside of them. It's usually things that they hated, like just this complete and utter self-LOATHING, just a complete hatred of oneself that I understand. You just think you're ugly and worthless and just not even able to cope or live on this plane, this world. If anyone tries to tell you some shit like "No, you're beautiful, you're smart," that doesn't mean SHIT to someone who is suffering like that. They will just think that person is crazy, untrustworthy and trying to flatter them for some reason, or whatever they think in their crazy mind. Believe me, I know. I really know.

I guess I want to know where that pain comes from. And do other people feel this pain too, but they just don't fall prey to addiction because they are not biological "addicts"? Or are addicts the only ones that know this feeling which NEVER leaves (never even on your best day does it leave you)? Because if that is a part of it, is THAT also biological? Do they ride hand in hand?

An insightful and of course concerned boyfriend of mine said many years ago ... I don't understand why they can't make a prescription for you or some kind of goddam anti-depressant for people that makes them feel this way! Why do you have to chase these painkillers or whatever in order just to feel normal and good and confident like other people do anyway?

He was saying what I felt. Like ... a lot of people use in order to just feel "normal," to feel confident and able. It's not about a party or getting high for them, that's often more of a recreational user's game. And with all of these fucking drug companies peddaling their bullshit out there and not doing shit for me or so many of those suffering from Depression, OCD, even Schizophrenia...What the fuck are they doing but making money off people's hopes? So ... that's really another, separate issue, but it coincides for people with these problems, like the guy on Oprah today and like me. My boyfriend was like, if there's a substance out there that can tweak your brain enough to make you feel "okay" and "normal," ..we're not talking about high and out-of-it ....then whey the fuck can't they find a way to parlay that into a long-term treatment? And there's no fucking answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Tan I'm enjoying your ask some very good questions. One thing I learned about addiction when I worked on that type of unit sort of changed my perspective. In short, aside from genuine pain and/or actual life experiences which are traumatic and "good" reason to "use", pain(psychic and other) is part of the insideous disease process of Addiction. The DISEASE twists the mind to rationalize "using" and causes a person to believe it. Even to the point of concentrating on events or past troubles to confirm they are entitled to some relief. This becomes so ingrained that it stops people from fulfilling their lives. Not just the drug itself does this, but the need for the drug which becomes the focal point of their lives.How can I keep using the drug if I'm healthy? I must use (aka stay sick says the disease). Mind you, this is not on a conscious level at all.An addict doesn't see this till sober. Some people have a predisposition to chemical dependancy. It runs in families. For example, my kids are at great risk because they have it on both sides of their family. Just because it is in one's family, doesn't mean you'll get it. It's just more likely. It's in the genes, like high cholesterol.You can do much to avoid it. And some people unfortunately create dysfunction to provide a reason to "use". My dad feeling like a failure as a father,for example. Funny thing...he was a great father , actually....UNTIL HE STARTED DRINKING! All that being said, I think actual pain, like the horrific migraines you deal with, is especially tricky.Strong medication helps but then you get too much tolerance and need more to get rid of the pain.I know a girl who was addicted to Advil Gels for her migraines. She had to keep going to different stores to get them so they wouldn't pick up on it.She had to wean herself off. Now who would consider THAT an addictable thing? Some classify Addiction as a Obsessive Compulsive disorder.It does make sense. And actually, they are creating more and different psychotropic meds so it is possible to feel good and normal.Perhaps a miracle drug is on the horrizon.The boy you referred to with the first drink is classic predisposition but it doesn't only happen like that.We had a priest on our unit who spent 2 weekends a year, drinking out of control. The rest of the time he was sober ...and fantacising, planning , plotting and distracted about when he would be on "the weekend"again.Interesting to hear hundreds of people reading their autobiography and mapping out how this complicated disease works. Anyway...too much info, yes? These are just my thoughts. I'm no expert. Keep questioning, my sweet girl. You are a sparkling jewel to me. And looking really great on Bejeweled, by the way! Love you!Your Godmozze