It appears that most people on my timeline are entertaining the debate of drug addiction: disease vs choice.
If you haven’t already seen it, a woman by the name of Brianna Lyman wrote an article entitled, “Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease”. Where she addresses all addicts (and anyone who supports them) to let them know that their drug addiction is in fact a selfish, self-centered, decision to slowly kill themselves and throw away everything good in their lives.
I’m sorry, what?
She goes on to talk about how an addict chose to smoke weed, shoot heroine, etc. thus concluding that they too must choose their addictive traits in their personality and the makeup of their brains. And while yes, every addict chose their first drug or drink, what happens from their is not a choice.
She cited this article about drug addiction, and then proceeded to pick and choose which parts she agreed with. This self-proclaimed controversy causer went on to conclude that drug addicts saying they have a disease is a slap in a child cancer-patients face.
Is this real life?
I’ll hand it to her, choosing childhood cancer as a means to prove her point was a safe bet. Not because she’s right. But because no one could (or would) ever look at a dying child cancer patient and tell them that they’re the same as a heroine addict. Well played, Brianna, well played.
But while you’re out exploiting childhood cancer for a few more twitter followers, let’s get real for a second. As a former cancer survivor AND someone who loves an addict, I resent everything your article stands for.
[I’m not going to chat about all the science behind addiction being a disease (fellow writer Melissa Svec did that here).]
Equating drug addiction to childhood cancer Is NOT appropriate. Yes, drug addiction could be prevented by abstaining from initial use. But saying that a drug addict is choosing their addiction and their lifestyle once they’ve become addicted is a narrow-minded view of addiction. And since people don’t like to blame cancer patients for their own wrong doings, let’s do just that. Being a cancer survivor, I have that right, don’t I?
How is choosing to smoke 4 packs of cigarettes/day and ending up with cancer not the same thing as Joe Somebody choosing to do drugs and ending up with an addiction?What are you going to say to the cigarette smoker after their cancer diagnosis? “Sorry buddy, your cancer doesn’t count as a disease because you CHOSE to smoke”.
If you’re going to discount addiction as a disease based on childhood cancer, you have to take into account ALL forms of cancer for all types of people. Nice try though.
But I guess what really gets me about her article, is that rather than shedding light on the needs for better treatment, or ways to help support an addict through their addiction, or what on God’s earth we’re going to do about the opioid epidemic, she’s sparking a cyber-debate on the validity of addiction as a disease. So, inter-world, I’m answering the disease vs choice question with another question:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: when someone is an addict, it doesn’t define who they are, as much as it defines who the people who love them are.
That goes for you too, Brianna. Your words regarding an addicts disease doesn’t define the people you’re speaking of, it defines who you are. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17) So while you’re out there disputing the validity of someones battle with addiction, people are dying.
What does it matter if you gain the twitter-verse and lose your soul?
While I hate myself for feeding into this poor woman’s Insta-fame, I’m hoping that other mamas out there like me, who are sick of this debate, will join me in teaching our kids that there is a right and a wrong way to treat people. All people. Not jus the ones who live up to societal norms.
This mama, is NOT with Brianna Lyman.
Not following Momming with Grace on Social Media? Don't miss out!
Love this post? Click the icon below to share.