GUEST BLOG: Walk in an Addict’s Shoes By Whitney Bixler

By Whitney Bixler
“Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes.
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse,
walk a mile in my shoes”    
~Elvis Presley Lyrics

By Whitney Bixler
(Cody’s Cousin)

For those of you out there who are confused about why addiction is now considered a disease, please read the facts. You are right in that the initial time someone drinks or uses drugs it is a choice, however for some people out there it then becomes not a choice.  Their brain changes and it is no longer a choice for them. For most it can stay a choice. But for some people it changes.

Before you spew hateful theories of your own, please read the facts.I doubt your theories would stand up against the professional medical community who have been studying this for years. If you believe your theories over the professionals who have dedicated a life to studying the brain maybe I need to get you some information on how the world isn’t flat anymore as well.

Scientific studies overwhelmingly show it is a disease. Yes, at 14 years old a lot of us experimented and drank a beer or two or five. What if you were the unlucky one who’s brain changed forever with that experimental drinking or drug use. Must be nice to have one, two or three beers and not have your brain take over and make you have more.

Some people don’t experiment with drinking or drugs when young. Some swear a life of no drinking or drugs. It’s not for them. And then they trip over a child’s toy and need a knee surgery. Or get their wisdom teeth out. They are prescribed pain medication from their doctor for the few days after the surgery.

As an unlucky one, their brain is forever changed after starting the prescribed medication. They are following their doctor’s orders to a tee. But for them their brain is changing.

Was this still a choice to have a life of drug abuse?

Most of the anger I see from this topic is deep rooted by people who have family members who are addicts. People who are being hurt by addicts. People who are so angry at their addicted family member they want to scream hateful things. They want to shame and blame that person for hurting them.

It’s an ugly disease. It’s a hurtful disease.

If someone was in their “right mind” if someone was truly in their right mind do you think they would act the way they are? No. Something is wrong with their brain to make them act that way. No one wants to be an addict. Who the hell would want to be an addict? They need help. Even if they don’t know they do. They are sick. Even if they say they would rather die than get help.

Would you expect someone with a broken leg to walk to the hospital? No. Then why do we expect someone with a brain/ mental problem to make sound choices and decisions? The brain is the organ that makes decisions, where rational thinking and risk assessment take place. If it’s broken it can’t do those things correctly.

Have compassion.

Look closely at your family members. Is it still truly them? Or have they changed? Has something else taken over? What if this were you? It’s hard to understand when it’s not your brain that has been changed. It’s hard to understand what’s going on when you drink a beer and can easily not need another one. Have compassion that someone else might be experiencing something different that is out of their control.

Whitney Bixler – June 29, 2017

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