A few weeks ago I shared a video I had seen on my High on Hugs Facebook page.
It was an interview with Mathew Perry. In my opinion he did an excellent job of describing the disease of addiction/alcoholism.
He was in quite the heated debate with a fellow named Peter Hitchens.
I will not give you my personal opinion on the Hitchens fellow. My parents told me if I don’t have anything nice to say, I probably shouldn’t say ‘it’ at all! That being said, I’ll let you all form your own opinion of the douche bag. OOPS!
The video had me enraged to say the least. I feel any of you reading this who are or have been in active addiction would agree as well. Here is the link to the debate ► 11:31► 11:31 www.youtube.com/w… Dec 16, 2013
Shortly after sharing the video I received a letter from a friend and veteran who gave me permission to share it anonymously.
The letter had me in tears. It is beautifully written. Telling you I get being in the military would be like…well the fellow debating addiction in the video who’s never been addicted to anything other than being a pompous ass.
Oops there I go again saying things I should keep to myself.
until I have personally experienced anything, I really have no idea what it is/was like and I definitely don’t have any business telling you how to feel about ‘it’
I believe that is how AA, NA and other 12 step fellowships work. The beauty of one alcoholic/addict helping another.
What I can relate to in the letter is addiction. The author paints a very clear picture of addiction and the struggles of coming home after war. I can not imagine the latter.
I can relate to both Mathew Perry and my friend because I am an addict. If I could have willed away my use of drugs & alcohol I truly feel like I would have. Actually I had many unsuccessful attempts at this so-called willing away my disease. It was not until I admitted COMPLETE defeat and asked for help that I was able to stop. I had to become willing. I had to be honest with myself. Good grief my way was NOT working! I had to be open to try something different. THIS and ONLY this is what worked for me. AND, I MUST TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME & UTILIZE THE TOOLS!
- The tools I have gained by not drinking or using on a daily basis and attending meetings
- working the 12 steps with my sponsor
- praying to a power greater than myself and turning my will and my life over to the care of MY higher power
- being of service
- working with others
- being willing to take suggestions & learn from others
- smashing my ego
- trying my very best to be humble & do the next right thing
- asking for help and admitting I don’t know everything!
So that being said, here is the letter I received…
” A War in our Hearts: Addiction From a Veterans Eyes
Different doctors from time to time have made the argument that addiction is all in the mind, and not a true medical condition. As a veteran of multiple combat deployments I agree with some, but disagree with most. I ask you as you read this to close your eyes for a second and imagine your best friend, imagine him smiling laughing and enjoying his life. Now, for a second glimpse into hell; Watch that friend bleeding, begging, and suffering. Imagine your friend taking his last breaths in front of you. Is this real enough?
I am an Addict, and I am suffering. I suffer from the loss of friends, I suffer from pain, and I suffer from my mind not letting me stop the memories that tear me apart on the inside. I have accepted death, and I have lived when others I have loved have died.
I ask the ones with the MD, DO, PA, or NP degrees who do not believe in addiction to question the fact that PTSD, or Combat Stress exists. If millions upon millions of veterans suffer from these diseases of the mind due to combat, then how can any scholar be so quick to discount a different ailment?
As a veteran I have seen the ravages of both firsthand. I ask anyone who believes that addiction is just a matter of self-control to please come to a VA hospital, or wounded warrior battalion, and tell those men that their PTSD is just a matter of self-control.
I have watched more of my friends die from addiction/alcoholism than 18 months in combat zones. I suffer from addiction, and when I see the faces of my friends writhing in pain, asking God for forgiveness; I can say that sometimes it’s just easier to drown those memories out. Addiction is as real as the combat America’s youth has been called upon to go to.
Veterans especially are hurting now more than ever. The vets have been called upon to go to these countries and experience a violence that no man should ever have to see, but if the MD’s are right then our memories are a matter of self-control?
I would say this to any doctor who wants to question the authenticity of addiction. Please go put on a vest, pick up a rifle, and go walk a mile in the boots of America’s military. Come home go to Arlington National Cemetery and talk with your brother a while. Look into a dark room at night and see the blood run from your hands in a memory of a friend you cannot save.
You take your degrees, your faith, and your scientific mind to go through that. Come home and be alone like I am, come home and sit by yourself awhile and tell me that addiction is not real. Sit up and think of your friends stare at your pistol, and tell me obsession and compulsion is a matter of self-control. Get a call from a mother on Veterans Day saying thank you for trying your hardest to save her son. Have her tell you she loves you, and she knows you tried your best. Go through that any or all, and tell me addiction, ptsd, alcoholism, combat stress does not exist.
Finally lose the one you love because she cannot handle you waking up screaming, get the phone call another friend is dead from an overdose or suicide. Please I ask any doctor, give me hope in the dark that these ghosts, memories, and pain are a matter of self-control. A matter of thinking my way to better living, maybe a chance to believe that I have not been left on the battlefield. Truthfully I think you can take your degree and shove it, I think that what I suffer from is as real as Aids, Cancer, MS, or any other disease. I believe day by day I am dying, maybe living dead. I know that I am terminal and cannot go on like this much longer. Yet, this is a matter of will power? Funny, I guess I could will myself to not miss my Marines.
Think about your hypothesis, and rethink your outcome another life may depend on your answer. One who has already decided to lay it down for your ignorance once before.”
So, yet another story of an addict. Thank you my friend for sending this to me and letting me share it.
I pray for the still sick and suffering everyday. I thank God for my recovery.
- So my questions…
- What can I do?
- WHAT CAN WE DO?
- What is THE SOLUTION?
- How can WE break the stigma?
- How can we educate the general public that WE HAVE A DISEASE ?
We have ‘a physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession.
‘One is too many and a thousand never enough’
I’m interested to hear your thoughts and experience on the topic. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is as old as man. I feel it is the perception and stigma against us that must be broken! I also know that time takes time, I’m not in charge, and with most things in life be patient, trust and have faith. Unfortunately even sober I crave instant gratification! So for me, I am going to continue to share my story about what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now. The more we share our story the bigger chance we have on breaking the stigma! We can educate, inform and share the message of hope that we are people with a disease and we’ve found a new way of life.
Big hugs & blessings of hope,