Chill out? You want me to chill out... relax... don't take it so seriously. You don't see the big deal?
Well, I hope that drugs and alcohol never affect your life or the life of someone you love like they have affected mine and my family, not to mention the other millions of people affected directly and indirectly by the disease of addiction -- the millions of people who have buried their son, daughter, husband, wife, brother and sister because of something as shitty as drugs.
Think you can fool the disease of addiction? You'll be the one to skirt by it untouched? You're too pretty, too wealthy, too smart? You don't fit the mold of what you think an alcoholic is or looks like?
Good luck with that... and you're wrong. Dead wrong, if you aren't careful.
Think I am being dramatic? Well, maybe I am, but burying my 29-year-old brother from a prescription drug overdose was pretty dramatic.
I can't count the number of people who have said to me, "You're not really an alcoholic, are you?" Or the people who refuse to admit that my brother died because he was an addict, as if it was just a fluke thing -- a one time mistake and he overdosed. No. He died because he was addicted to opiates. I ended up in rehab not because I was going through a rough patch or a bout of depression. I ended up in rehab because I am an alcoholic.
One of my favorites is, "But you're so pretty, you're a smart girl." I'm sorry, what?
Wake up, people! Alcoholism doesn't give a shit how pretty you are, where you go to church or don't go to church, how much your mom and dad loved you as a kid, how many degrees you have. It doesn't care what kind of house you live in, what kind of car you drive, or how much money is in your bank account. It doesn't care what race or age or gender you are. Alcoholism is an equal opportunist. It does not discriminate.
So, I take alcoholism and addiction very serious, because it is serious. Shortly after my brother died, I found out that some of his "friends" called him "Pill" -- supposed to be funny since his name was Will and he had a pill problem. Guess what? Not F-ing funny! Will is dead because of his "not-so-serious" pill addiction.
I don't think it's funny to make fun of the latest train-wreck celebrity. I don't think it's funny to joke about taking a pill to make everything better. I don't think it's funny to drown your sorrows and problems in a bottle of wine night after night. I don't think it's funny that housewives call themselves "wineaholics" like it's cute or something. I don't think it's funny to take and post pictures of strangers who are passed out drunk on social media.
I don't think it's funny. I think it's sad.
According to the CDC, drug overdose became the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States in 2010.
So, why do we joke and make light of something that is killing our friends and family at epidemic rates? Why are we so sensitive to being politically correct with things that could offend or hurt someones feelings, yet so accepting of addiction by either mocking it or glamorizing it. Why? Because we know better about certain things. I'm hoping that it's just an issue of not knowing better when it comes to alcoholism/addiction because that is something that we can change.
When we know better we can do better, and it's time we start knowing better. It's a matter of life or death for many. We have made great movements in the right direction on many social issues. However, as a society, we need to know more about the disease of alcoholism/addiction. We need to educate ourselves and our children. It's not funny. It's not something to joke about. It's not something to make light of.
So, no, I will not chill out... relax... or stop taking this so seriously. There was nothing funny about burying my brother or checking into rehab. There is nothing funny about the disease of addiction.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.