People can argue about addiction being a disease or a choice. But one thing that cannot be argued is the power of addiction. Whether created simply by making bad choices or by our genetic make-up, the power of addiction is constant and it does not discriminate.
My daughter Kamdyn was my saving grace, my angel, through my divorce. Without having joint custody and having her in my home half the time I think my fall would have been swifter and ended with death. She was my motivation to pull myself together each day and continue. I swore that I would never let her down and always be there for her. I had to, she was all I had left. My older kids had moved on and were beginning their own lives, but Kamdyn was stuck with me.
It can grab a hold and destroy any one
Several years before I hit my bottom and entered rehab I would see people that struggled with addiction and cast my judgement on them. After all, it was only “those kind of people” that were stupid enough to get mixed up in it that it affected anyways. I found out as I entered recovery that was one of the biggest deceptions about addiction out there. It can grab a hold and destroy anyone no matter the walk of life they come from.
I was a teacher and successful coach. To the people on the outside I had so much going for me. They couldn’t see that inside I was crashing and burning. You see I didn’t look the part. Then one day I was homeless and had lost just about everything that I held dear.
What got my attention?
I still had Kamdyn, I thought. The little angel that I swore I would never leave and always protect was losing me to the bottle. I began to give up my time with her, make excuses not to see her, and when I did have her I would get sitters so I could go to the bar. The power of addiction had a death grip on me but I was blinded to it by the booze. What got my attention?
The third day in rehab I had learned I had lost all my parental rights to be Kamdyn’s father. Then, and only then, did it hit me. I was in a rehab, Kip wake up, you are an alcoholic. I was sitting next to highway patrol officers, prinicpals, nurses, salesmen and women, and even a few waiters and fry cooks. Addiction had taken us all, it didn’t care how much money we made, how big our house was, or our family upbringing. It’s power got us all and I had become “one of those people’.
There is a stigma with addicts and alcoholics. They must be bums, trash, and unintelligent. I found out first hand that they are just the opposite. They are CEO’s, actors and actresses, professional sports stars, professionals, blue collar workers, and our youth. What you may see in the media or on the street is just a by product of the addiction and a show of it’s power.
Know it is powerful, Know it will kill
We are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, we are real live people who have lost hope and purpose and sought the answer as an escape into a substance. Choice, disease, is really irrelevant once it has affected you or your family. Know it is powerful, know it will kill, and know it does not discriminate.
And maybe, just maybe, reach out and love them. Extend a hand of compassion and let them know you love them and you care. So even if it is a choice, show them a better way. Show them your faith, open their eyes to your hope, and above all else pour out your love, Addiction is powerful but together we overcome and united the power of addiction can be unplugged.