Ask An Addict: Many of us are living in the shadows

A young doctor I know, who wants to work in

addictions medicine, recently said overdose deaths were good as they were a form of natural selection.

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I also read on a Facebook forum — for mothers whose children are addicted to drugs — that a nurse told a mom she was happy when drug addicts died as this meant they would not “infect” other people.

This mom then posted a photo of her son, an addict. The photo was of him at three years old, just an innocent child.

People jump on bandwagons like this.

They say people like me, a loved, decent human being and well respected in my professional life, are nothing but demons, the scourge of the earth.

Many hard-working, contributing people like me live in the shadows.

There is a group of people in Kamloops that meets weekly to be held accountable in its work (a referral is needed).

This group is composed of doctors, nurses, people in safety sensitive positions (jobs which impact us in our daily living), lawyers, police officers, pharmacists and judges.

They attend either because they are mandated to or because they wish to voluntarily come.

Sadly, it is a fact that those who have to account to a supervisory body do much better in recovery.

These are the people who don’t (or can’t) hide with the disease. They may have come voluntarily forward or they might have been caught.

I truly believe that if more people came forward and shared openly who they were, the disease would hold less stigma.

By not being open, we addicts become like the bogey-men who live under your bed.

All nasty things are attributed to us.

Two well-known addicts in our community died in recent years of overdoses. They did wonderful things for us and they contributed a lot in their very short lives.

One was a very accomplished national author, the other a high-profile community member who started many charitable, volunteer activities that benefitted many.

You might ask why I don’t reveal myself if I feel so strongly about being visible in life.

I don’t hide in my personal life. Many who know me, know I live with the addictive disease. This truly helps in keeping me accountable.

Unfortunately, due to comments like those I receive when writing this column, I cannot at this time have my name in the public.

Even the anger expressed at me by anonymous people has been incredibly harsh, considering the fact I am simply trying to make living amends, trying to help other people by sharing my tale.

One day I will reveal who I am. I eventually want to write a book based upon experiences in my life. 

I recently read an excellent novel, Blackout—Remembering the Thing I Drank to Forget, by Sara Hepola. It is a New York Times bestseller and I am envious of her.

Envy always points me to what I want in my life. Her book starts with nine pages of rave reviews. It shows that many want to know what we live with.

Even though I am met with hatred at times, this is what keeps me alive and gives me some hope.

It is dream of mine that doesn’t involve the consumption of drugs.  

Ask an Addict is a column penned by a Kamloops scholar with expertise in addiction issues and someone who is also an addict. The column is meant to inform and help, which is particularly important as we remain mired in an opioid crisis that continues to claim thousands of lives each year. If you have a question you would like answered, email it to Anonymity is guaranteed.

© Kamloops This Week


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