Educate & Engage. Stop Judging & Listen.

Life is actually well shit sometimes, is it really that surprising that people look for an escape?

Many people I have walked alongside in this life and have learnt to love, have struggled with an addiction. I mean, life is actually well shit sometimes, is it really that surprising that people look for an escape? I’m sure many of us can say that we’ve had that friday feeling of ‘get me a bloody pint’ or ‘pass us the wine’, just because we need a release. In a fast paced, stressful world we all have something which we turn to after a heavy week. For some people it’s going to the gym, walking the dog or going to the cinema. For others it’s going to the pub, getting on a session with their mates and not coming home for 2 days.

Language is powerful in that we see people in terms of the labels we prescribe them

We often judge people who turn to drugs and alcohol in hard times. Or even those who just love a party at the weekend, but it lasts longer than expected. This dislike towards drugs stems back to the days where prohibition begun. To sustain prohibition, endless stories are flooded to the masses which have a moral undertone to create fear. This can be noticed by words such as ‘druggie’,’crackhead’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘reckless’ and ‘selfish’. This kind of language is powerful in that we see people in terms of the labels we prescribe them. By labelling and categorising people, we are able to distance ourselves from such ‘immoral’ behaviour. In doing so we forget that every person who struggles with addiction is a human. 

People who struggle with addiction need empathy

I have long had a problem with the way we dehumanise people who struggle with addiction. Note that I will never refer to people as ‘addicts’ because i’m conscious that this can become a label in itself. My family members and good friends were/are not simply ‘addicts’. They are people. People with a history, which stems way back before their birth. Some peoples history is more difficult than others and some people struggle to cope. In this way, I am always present with the notion that people who struggle with addiction need empathy. They do not need to be demonised for their response to what life has thrown at them, nor held fully responsible for the cards they were dealt.

My family and friends were/are people with vast potential. They have the potential to be anything they want if they could just see their worth and value. Yet most cannot see from my eyes- that they are wonderful. They are the potential poets, musicians, dancers, storytellers, comedians, writers, philosophers and thinkers of the future. They have wisdom that many people do not, purely down to their life experiences. In this way, they are strong and their voices need to be heard.

This week is dedicated to anybody who needs the space to talk about their own addiction, or may be walking alongside a loved one who is struggling. It is for the mothers and fathers who see their child self destructing. It is for the son that never knew love. It is for the children who grew up confused at their dads mood swings. It is for those recovering, recovered or just taking their first steps. It is for those who have dabbled. It is for those who are adamant that drugs are wrong. It is for those who want to hear some stories of how people get so in deep. We need to unite and talk about all things drugs. 

Lets educate each other x

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