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Demi Lovato's OD: Discussion Part 2

What can we learn from it? And how can we use it to spread positivity?

The first part discussed how addiction forms and the impact it can have, as well as the development of Demi’s mental health issues (found on my page). Throughout her SIX YEARS of sobriety she removed the yes-people from her life, surrounded herself with no-people who had her best interests at heart, and developed more healthy coping techniques to deal with situations in which the desire to escape occurred.

"I wanna be a role model, but I'm only human."

As admitted in her song "Sober," she relapsed earlier this year. No one knows exactly why. We don’t know what aspect of life caused the thought of being under the influence cross her mind in a positive light. Whether it was a pain. A negative pressure. A self-hatred or self-destructive act. For whatever reason her support system was no longer enough. Maybe it was the transition from a manic period and her inability to cope with it. She had been advancing her career for many months prior, and the commitments she had made would have put a lot of attention and pressure on her name. Maybe it was the introduction of drug abusers into her life. She was surrounded by it. Maybe it was the lack of concern shown towards her breaking of sobriety. She convinced everyone she just wanted a drink in the daytime, that it was normal 25-year-old behaviour. Maybe it was the disappointment she felt towards herself about the relapse. She now had a huge weight on her shoulders and a reason to feel self-hatred. Maybe it was because she cut out the supportive people out of her life. She no longer had people holding her back from increasing her abuse of drugs. Maybe it was because she surrounded herself with more yes-people. She was now back in a situation that enabled and encouraged her to give into the testing thoughts of her addiction.

As an addict it is easy to convince yourself and those around you that you still in control. That you can stop if you wanted. That you’re just taking the drugs for fun. That you’re not as bad as so-and-so. That it’s not an issue because you’re still functioning fine. After a relapse, it doesn’t take long for the addiction to regain control of your thoughts and start destroying your life again. The dangers with a relapse can be even higher as throughout sobriety your body lowers its threshold to nothing once again, but when you return to the same drug using behaviour you are likely to take the amount you had previously been using as part of habit. However, this time your body is not used to receiving such a high amount of a substance, and therefore the risk of overdosing is increased. Unlike the onset and development of the initial addiction, a relapse is often a very fast, downward spiral into very dangerous behaviour of which your body is no longer equipped to cope with.

Unfortunately, Demi fell back into this relapse behaviour. She thought she was fine. She thought she was in control this time. She thought she was finally free. But then she nearly died. Her ‘friends,' the yes-people who had been using Demi and her money as a source of drugs and partying, were suddenly nowhere to be seen and she was left for dead. She was so lucky she was found. She was so lucky they had Narcan on them. She was so lucky that it actually worked. She was so lucky to be alive. It was reported that she was found surrounded by her own vomit and blood. As much as I hope this wasn’t true, it is very typical of a drug overdose and saddens me the pain she may have endured throughout the night whilst her body was shutting down.

But surviving was only half the battle. Now she has to start living. She has to embrace rehabilitation and sobriety all over again. This is difficult in itself, but with the whole world watching you, I cannot even imagine the pressure she feels. Despite the overwhelming support for her health and recovery, there is also so much hate and sick jokes towards her. The aim of part one (on my page) was to educate those who were joking about addiction and disregarding the struggle behind substance abuse. Another portion of hate however, comes from feelings of unfairness, despite good intentions behind the negativity.

Within seconds of the news of Demi’s overdose, messages of support started to flood in. People around the whole world wishing her well and speaking up about addiction. However, Demi is a celebrity, who has money and healthcare, whereas not everyone struggling with addiction has these options. In fact, it seems that the majority of sufferers with addiction live beneath the poverty line, may become homeless, and find no motivation or opportunity to seek help. It is the saddening truth that those who need the most help, cannot afford or find it. And I agree. It is ridiculous how little awareness society has about the devastation addiction causes. The support that Demi received is completely on another level to the disgust and hatred towards the desperate people searching the streets for any source of drugs, as the result of losing everything in their life to this disease. And it is wrong that these people aren’t receiving the same support.

In spite of this, it doesn’t mean Demi isn’t suffering any more or any less. She is lucky (term used very loosely) that she had the money to continue sourcing drugs as well as upkeeping her materialistic life. She is fortunate enough over the course of her struggles, that she had the wealth to seek the help, treatment, and continuous therapy that is needed to cope with an addiction. But using this as a reason to cause more hate and negativity is not the way to deal with it. Instead we should be grateful of the awareness this is bringing to light (and the constant awareness she raised during her sobriety as well), and use it to emphasise the lack of understanding towards the darkest side of addiction. Use Demi’s experience to highlight how addiction takes over, how much it can destroy a life, and how much of a lifelong battle it can be to avoid relapse. Awareness is the most important aspect in causing change. Rather than belittling the struggles of Demi, use the worldwide attention it has caused to educate society on the many unfortunate, unnoticed people losing their lives every day.

Support for those suffering with addiction is support for every single individual going through these struggles. Addiction and mental health do not discriminate. Demi is lucky at the amount of support she receives, but she is human, she isn’t immune to pain and as a result she almost died at the hands of her addiction. It makes more sense to use the attention it has raised for positivity and raise awareness of the struggles of people who are ignored or marginalised.

It goes both ways. You can not shut down Demi’s substance abuse and then expect it to teach others of the major issues it causes, because the contradiction suggests an element of choice in the development of a life-threatening addiction and is unhelpful in arguing that everyone is deserving of help. In the same way that Lovatics cannot support Demi in her battle for recovery, but then snigger at the beggar on the street or engage in songs that glorify the world of ‘druggies’.

The fact of the matter is that addiction is a life-threatening disease that is attempting to take peoples’ lives every day, and we shouldn’t need to wait for it to be successful to realise this. Each human on this earth is a person. Those struggling with addiction are PEOPLE. Whether it’s a celebrity engaging in Hollywood parties, a father dealing with the stresses of adult life, or a homeless person who sees no hope in living each day sober. We need to start realising that no matter how the addiction forms and displays itself, every person deserves help and support and awareness.

Please seek help, or support those who need help.

NB. Just before posting this, it was announced that the talented Mac Miller has just died of an overdose. This is such a tragedy, he was taken so young and didn’t deserve to lose the battle. It just emphasises the power of substance abuse. The only division in addiction are between those who are lucky and survive, and those who are taken too soon and lose their battle. It is sad that society had to wait for yet another death to start realising this. However, the negativity that is being discussed in light of this news is devastating. Arguing that Demi should have been taken instead. HOW ABOUT NOBODY NEEDED OR NEEDS TO DIE BECAUSE EVERYONE DESERVES THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECOVER AND FIND FREEDOM. WHEN WILL PEOPLE REALISE THE REAL DANGER OF ADDICTION AND START TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO ALL, RATHER THAN SNIGGERING OR MAKING JOKES. I have officially lost hope in humanity.

RIP Mac Miller <3


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