Excuses and validations, the weak attempts of justification: addiction, you believe, is a collection of dull reasons and poor judgment. It’s not a disease; it’s merely an exercise in self-pity. And your patience for it has long since been erased. You have no concern for those who tumble into abuse. You have no worry to spare. All actions have reactions and this knowledge should be enough to dissuade all individuals from becoming dependent upon their bad choices. This is your certainty.
Such certainty is as unkind as it is incorrect.
Addiction — despite what so many may believe — isn’t an excuse to indulge in poor decisions. While a lack of wisdom may have caused the first taste, it’s a physical (and emotional) response that drives the ones that follow. This distinction must be understood.
Defined simply: addiction is an overwhelming dependence on specific substances or behaviors. This dependence shapes the individual to pure need, forcing him to sacrifice all other elements of his life to feed the compulsion. It is a chemical imbalance, interfering with the brain’s processes and causing extensive damage within the body.
It is not therefore just a choice. While free will may have sparked all early attempts, it no longer dominates — instead the individual cannot control himself or his thoughts; and seeking ways to satisfy the addiction becomes his only concern.
This must be recognized by all. Abuse (whether of alcohol, drugs, behaviors or more) is a disease. Its causes may vary — genetics, environmental exposure, gender and more — but its results are always the same: an undeniable need to appease an addiction. And this brands it dangerous and heartbreaking.
There can be no denying that addiction is a tragedy: and yet too often is it dismissed as proof of delicate minds and fragile egos. The truth is far more complicated, however, and must be understood by all.