& Money Woes of addiction- with guest post by Andi Miana of Romania
I saw a post recently about the effect the pandemic has had on people with substance use disorder.
If it’s not the isolation and disconnection from services as shown here in this article, then it’s the wave of free money that has followed.
I’m not saying that substance use people shouldn’t have basic needs; in fact I adamantly believe they are human whether they are doing what WE think they should or not.
They should not be denied access to services, as we would never deny insulin to a diabetic, whether they caused the disease themselves, either through their behaviors or genes. It shouldn’t matter. As a health care worker (& a human) it’s NOT MY JOB to play God or Judge nor Jury.
What I want to address is how hard it is to deliver these services to people who’s brain is the organ affected with their disease.
If you were speaking to a pancreas, and trying to tell them:
“Look dude, you NEED this insulin cause you’re just not cuttin it yourself. For whatever reason, your slacking on the job, & other things are starting to suffer and affect everything else needed to function effectively!”
It would probably shiver and sigh and wiggle its pink body and give in….
But since it’s the brain that is affected in addiction and is basically hijacked in the pleasure center to be BRAINWASHED into believing that DRUGS are ALL it needs; we have a problem convincing it.
Any money that’s presented, it only sees drugs. An unlocked car, a speaker, a gift card, all are magically morphed in to drugs. Because drugs represent relief. Freedom from the sickness that they are starting to feel every 8-12 hours. Sickness so horrible that the person swears to never experience it again, if only they can have one more hit. But that cycle is difficult to break out of day to day with no support or services.
It’s hard for us to imagine because we have a balance with our pleasures and pain. We can adjust and handle them. With addiction, they have lost that ability. Rational thinking, long term thinking, and dangerous consequences are temporarily wiped from the equation.
If you need more info on that process visit my page Here. I’ve combined my favorite brain videos in one place.
So here we are. Stimulus checks coming out. Parents everywhere are in fear of what their loved one will do with them. Personally, I’m in quite the quandary. My son is hurting. Starving, having lost over 100 lbs in the last 9 months. But he doesn’t want food. His brain only sees the next hour at a time. He has lost his vehicles and tools which was his ability to make money. He has warrants and mandatory sentencing awaiting him if he applies for anything including a job or services to live. A healthy brain would choose to turn itself in, like the pancreas, but the brain is a different animal.
My son needs money. He has burned every bridge to obtain that money. Technically the checks are his money. He paid into the system for 17 years, working his tail off since he was 15. He built the American dream until heroin stole it all.
Or he gave it away to heroin. But again, I’m not the judge & jury of another persons life.
I loved the following response to the stimulus money post.
This recovering addict states that we can’t blame the stimulus checks or anyone else really, on furthering an addiction. It’s ultimately up to the individual, which (to me) is why tough love & rock bottom are not blanket solutions for everyone. People recover when they decide not, it’s not really in anyone else power to make them sit in a corner until they do….But that’s another story.
I am Andi, from Romania. I know from my ”addict status” that I was prone to find anyone and anything else guilty for my consuming, but my own illness and choice of not healing what I need to heal in a healthy way.
So…in recovery, I’ve learned that this is what we call ”stinking-thinking”. We can blame …as you say, even the government, but we addicts know very well that with or without this money I would find a way to consume when I crave. Sorry… it’s the reality of this disease.
Addiction is in the world since forever and there were times…not when no government gave no money, even more…they would take money from people, and addiction somehow was still preserved… So…I am sorry but at a time it will be important to admit step 1.. and to emotionally grow up, and admit that it’s actually nobody’s fault, nobody is creating this disease for someone else, we addict embrace it, it’s like a natural drive to which we respond, but it is my-as a sick person-responsibility to do something about it. Especially if I am an adult myself.
Nobody can do this path for me. Well yes, it was convenient for me to find excuses: I consume because my friends do because the neighbor’s cat died, because at work my boss, my mom isn’t loving to me, I am fat…because women suffer in Irakc or the ozone layer is thinning.
The reality is that I consume no matter what is going on in the world – you guys from outside can find me any excuses ever I’ll be content cause its giving me more time to consume, actually, it because I have this awful disease that does not help me control my compulsions and progress of it, is because I’m not doing anything to stop the behavior and do things for my spirit and soul. I hope my sharing would help me understand, the topic certainly helped me remember those times when I was thinking this way and it stopped me big time from doing anything good for myself.-Andi Miana
I have no answers as of now. I can only keep praying and hoping that somewhere, sometime, some person or entity can reach my son before it’s too late. Until then, I will do my best to treat him with dignity and respect that he deserves a healthy, safe, productive life again. 💚