The Choice(?)

My Personal Encounters with Addiction

Choice:

/CHois/

noun

an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

Is this a choice?

It seems recently, everyone has a very strong opinion on the topic of addiction. I have noticed this particularly on Facebook. The argument goes something like, "If a person chose to do drugs, then they chose addiction." There are a number of different reasons that I disagree with this statement, mostly due to my personal ties to addiction.

I have watched multiple family members fall victim to addiction and I can attest they did not live the life they wished for. My brother is now 10 months sober and nothing like the person he was under the shroud of addiction. My father is still controlled by his. Neither of them are the same sober as they are when they are under the influence of (insert substance here). 

Brother

As I aforementioned, my brother is now 10 months sober. Of course this is a wonderful thing, but it is a double-edged sword. After starting his substance use at the age of (roughly) 18, he is now about to turn 27. Meaning about 8 years of his life are a haze that seems like a surreal dream. Coming out of this haze, he seems to have not matured in the way most people do throughout their early - mid twenties. He is fixated on physical appearance, has very unhealthy mental episodes, has no sense of social boundaries, and has an incredibly immature sense of humor that borderlines offensive. None of this is as bad as once he was on drugs, but it seems as if time has halted until he became sober. Because of his addiction, he was unable to grow.

Many people would say this is a result of his choice to take the substance. I cannot argue that he made a choice to take a substance, but I disagree that addiction is a choice. In saying addiction is a choice, it is heavily implied he could have stopped at any point of time in those eight years. He could have made the choice to stop. My brother has died and been revived twice. The first time was because of his attempt to stop cold-turkey; his body would not allow him to discontinue the use of the substance. The second time was because of an intentional overdose; he did not believe he would be able to heal himself and he believed our family would be better off if we did not have to worry about him anymore. He may be sober now but if he were to take the substance today, he would not be able to make the conscious decision to not be addicted. He IS an addict, even though he IS sober. Addiction does not stop when one gets sober.

Father

I actually did not learn of my father's vice until I was 17; he was able to keep his addiction well-hidden. There is not much I have to say about him, but if he does happen to see this, I would like to say that I am sorry. I know he is not living the way he wants to and he wants to make the change but does not know how. We were not very close when I was young, but I can tell he has regret of not spending time with me. I wish things were different. I wish he had the strength to get better.

This is not a completely tragic tale, however. He does have the ability to hold down a job. He is financially stable enough to support himself and help the ones around him.

He is a good man, but his addiction brings out the worst in him.

Me

I have never been an addict, but it would be debatable if this was a choice. I have taken as many, if not more, drugs as my brother and father have, yet I have never felt the need to continue. I've made the choice to indulge, but never fell victim to the same terrible characteristics my family has. I cannot help but feel thankful I have had support from caring friends whom I consider family.

I am currently 23 and I am not an addict.

Synopsis

I believe you can choose to take a substance, but if you fall victim to addiction, you cannot make a choice to stop the addiction. I have never wanted this in my life, but I never had a choice of family. 

In all fairness, I do not wish life, to this point, would have happened any other way; the way these events have folded out have made me the man I am today. I do, however, wish my brother and father find themselves, wherever they may be.

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