Discussion Among Strangers

While working at a community kitchen a contributor for Open Discussion noticed a peculiar occurrence.  Spoons were disappearing at an alarming rate. A young lady approached inquisitively and asked why spoons would be the only utensil to vanish.  To our contributor the implication was clear. The two shared the following conversation…

What are your thoughts on addiction?

Addiction is a serious topic that takes lives and destroys families. I have watched it destroy my own family. It is a serious topic that I have felt we should be paying more attention to. I feel that the issue is only getting worse.  

Do you have any experience with addiction?

Not personally, however with it absolutely running through my family. It brings me great anxiety to think about the fact that I’ll be 21 soon and addictive substances will be more open to me. I frequently have nightmares of myself drinking and driving. It makes me cringe when I think about the potential for new substances to be developed by bad people who are just trying to make money, but also destroying lives.  I have some solid fears about drugs and alcohol due to the fact that I have seen at a very young age what addiction can do to people.

What have you seen?

My uncle smoked crack, and I watched him beat my aunt. He always told me that if I ever told my mother he would beat her too. I watched him drink so much, I feel like that man was always drunk or high. His eyes didn’t even look human the way that they bulged out of his angry face. After everyone found out what was going on it divided my family. I never saw my uncle before he died. My mom and dad still make me nervous when they drink. But they are together, they are happy and so I try to think of the positives.  

Tell me what you think of the stigma surrounding substance abuse?

Stigma is attached to everything and it is very tragic to have to say that. People think that because you’re addicted to something that you’ve completely devolved from a person. But not only that, addiction doesn’t just mean, drugs. It can also mean something along the lines of being a hoarder or a binge eater. I just think that people need to learn to open their minds. We all struggle with this issue, which means we need to come together on it.

What do you think should be done about the issue of substance abuse?  

I think there should be better and cleaner rehabilitation centers. People who really care and want you to succeed. Plus if there is less stigma and people were more aware, it’ll happen less and less often. Or if it does happen people will communicate about it and try to make the situation better.  

Would you change anything you have gone through or would you have done anything differently?

I would say no. All of my and my family’s experiences make us who we are. We’ve grown and mourned together. Which is the most important part of family, togetherness.  

Would you support an open discussion surrounding this topic?  

Absolutely! I support open, respectful, and equal conversation on all topics. This topic in particular is one that I am excited to see more people talk about, and I thank you so much for what you’re doing!