The Land of The Free & The Home of The Addicted!

By: Jenn Stottlemire

“I try not to get involved in controversial discussions.
You know, the ones where everyone is so set in their beliefs that nothing you say will change one another’s mind so both sides start spewing hate, ignorance, and lack of experience.
The walls start building around each individual and eventually, communication is completely shut off with a big ol “f*** you” before hitting “block” or hanging up the phone.
Yeah, those type of conversations.
Yet I’m finding myself saying “I don’t get involved in controversial discussions” more and more; maybe I’m reminding myself to insert foot into mouth, take a few breaths and let it go.
Maybe.
Or maybe it’s time for me to say something; not to be right, but to connect; to build.
For myself.
For them.
For my vision of connecting the addicted world with the non-addicted world.
Just maybe.
Take foot out of mouth.
So Columbus has seen 50 overdoses in 48 hrs.
50.
Tensions are high; fear is setting in; sadness is spreading like wildfire; anger has found a permanent residence in our city.
Controversial conversations are on the move.
Emotions have created gaps in previously set boundaries.
Lack of knowledge, empathy and experience fuels hate.
“Narcan enables the junkies to use with no consequences.”
“Addiction isn’t a disease; lazy people making bad choices.”
“Use government funding for people with real diseases!”
“Those people don’t deserve their kids.”
“Let those junkies die; it’s population control!”
“Stop giving Narcan and this problem will eventually take care of itself.”
“If you are stupid enough to stick a needle in your arm, you deserve the consequences.”
Should I go on? Trust me, I can.
These are all real comments, made at the bottom of the same articles that parents who have lost their children to this disease read.
Children who at one time held their dad’s hand crossing the street; wearing backpacks bigger than their body.
The same children who made Mother’s Day cards out of sticky popsicles sticks and red marker hearts.
The same blogs that addicts in recovery read; addicts who have survived a war only to be beaten down by people who have never fought in it.
The same newsfeed that children who have lost parents-siblings who have lost siblings-friends who have lost friends to this epidemic have to scroll past; hoping that they can hold back tears from the pain of loss because now those tears seem to be shameful and unworthy.
All because someone doesn’t understand.
Can all these hurtful comments be made into truths?
Some yes, with some rewording and manipulation.
Am I going to tell you why my experience in active addiction shows these statements are not true?
I absolutely can, just not in this post.
My mission is not to prove one side right and one side wrong, but to connect, unite and empower.
We need each other. We can’t do this alone.
To the ones who don’t understand, I’m so glad this disease hasn’t affected you to the point that you do.
To those that don’t fully understand, but try, I’m sorry you have been affected so closely that turning your pain into support, education, and hope is now therapeutic.
For those of you who fully understand, I’m sorry. You must be one of us. You must share the same disease; wear the same shoes. You have gone thru the same hell, I’m guessing, but do not give up because the solution is beautiful and it is available to us all.
Ya know, I’m just a junkie, married to a junkie.
2 people who reach out daily to help others in need.
I’m just a mom who has a little boy with perfectly placed freckles and a great sense of humor.
A little boy who at one time fell asleep without his mom reminding him to say his prayers because she was too dope sick to crawl up the stairs and tuck him in.
A little boy who has memories of a mom who could not function long enough to push Matchbox cars around a plastic track.
A little boy who no longer has to live like that.
I’m an educator who walks into a school and gets hugs from 45 kids who have no idea the broken path I was once on.
I’m a church member who sings along with the worship band, high 5s the pastor and loves the heck out of God.
I’m a daughter; a sister; an aunt and a friend.
I’m a junkie who once thought that life was a needle and a spoon, but was given a second chance because my story was not done.
Who are you to decide if those junkies you speak of are unworthy? Who are you to say their story is over?
I love you all, near and far.
I truly hope unity can be obtained.
I desire a world of just that.”
About The Author: Jenn is an emerging young writer, Mother, Wife, and all around amazing women in recovery. She resides in Columbus Ohio with her husband David and wonderful son Jackson. As Jenn always likes to say
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