Monday, February 3, 2014

Are Drugs The New Cancer?

(Props to Banksy)

I remember vividly my father playfully calling my mother an addict because of her need for several cups of coffee in the morning.  I was in grade school at the time, and a bit frightened by his association.

In the years since, I have considered myself "addicted" to many things.  Fountain Diet Coke, carbohydrates, exercise and the Frozen soundtrack are just a few of the things that have consumed me to the point of being unhealthy.  But, is it really fair to call these relationships “addictions”?

Yes and no.

Yes, because addictions can negatively impact our lives in any number of ways, on any number of levels.  And no, because I’d much rather give a two-sided, wishy-washy answer to that question than really debate it with you.  I can speak only for myself.

I think drugs are the new cancer.

But before you go getting all pissed off and tell me that I have no right to compare one of life’s greatest medical mysteries to a significantly more understood and controllable one, let me clarify.

I know the wrath of both quite well.  And while one may begin with a person’s “choice” or predisposition to use a substance in a harmful or illegal way while the other really comes down to nothing more than fate or fucked up genetics, the outcome is quite the same.

You either die, or barely escape death, but always have it looming over you.  (In that vein, life is a disease in and of itself… isn’t it?)

For years many have found comfort (or misery) in numerous variations of the expression that each of us knows someone significantly touched by cancer.  Unfortunately, the same is nearly true of drug addiction.  It is for this reason (and this reason only) that I compare the two so simply.

Forget Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger and, most recently, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I am talking about your neighbor, your friend, your uncle, your sister, yourself.

It isn’t a weakness.  It is a very serious illness, quickly approaching the point of an epidemic.  There is no cure, and no one is immune.  No one.

The good news is, there is always hope...