**I am honored to have my friend Lori Ann Walterman-Angelino on here as a guest author sharing an important message with all of those who let's say maybe don't understand what it's like to be a real steal your grandmother's rent money and blame it on your sister addict.

By: Lori Ann Walterman-Angelino

DEAR ADDICT HATERS!!!!!!: Hello, you don’t know me but I am an addict. I am one of the “dope fiends” or “crackheads” you love to bash whenever someone mentions addiction on social media or hear it in conversation. I know it’s hard to forgive the things we sometimes do because of our addiction, but I have a question for you. What is the worst thing you have ever done? Obviously, I won’t get an answer to this question but think about it. The thing that you hate that you did. You know, that one thing that not too many people even know about. Well, what if everyone knew about it? What if for the rest of your life you were labeled by that one act that you would erase in a second if you had the chance? That is what being an addict is like, kind of.

Now, I don’t feel like being an addict is the worst thing a person can be or do. You, however, feel like it’s a terrible thing. Don’t get me wrong: If I could erase it from my life, I would. In an instant, it would be gone, but I don’t have that option. I can’t even do what you do and pretend that this thing didn't happen. In order for me to ensure it never happens again, I have to work hard on making sure it doesn’t. If I don’t, my disease will tell me I can have a drink or do a line and not fall back into full-blown addiction, but I will.

Do you work hard to make sure your worst thing never happens again? Let me guess... you are thinking, Addiction is not a disease. It’s a choice. Right? Yes, all addiction starts with a choice. The same damn choice you made when you were young and hanging out with friends. You drank the same beer I drank. The same pot I smoked. You even tried the same line of white stuff someone put in front of you at a party. You were able to walk away and not take it to the extreme. Since I have the disease, I will spend the rest of my life either struggling to stay high or fighting to stay clean.

As children, we don’t decide we would rather be an addict instead of a cop. You don’t see children pretending that their dolls and stuffed animals are dope sick. When is the last time you talked to a little girl who told you she couldn’t wait to grow up so she could turn tricks to feed the insatiable hunger of her drug addiction?

My best friend didn’t blow out the candles as a child wishing for a substance abuse disorder because she couldn't wait for the day her kids would go to foster care. Nobody wants to have a substance use disorder. Some of us just do. So always remember: You made those same choices, too. You just got lucky that it was me and not you. If you still have doubts, you can take those up with the Center for Disease Control or the United States Surgeon General. They have classified addiction as a disease, but then again... I am sure you know more about it than they do, right?

I pray that you don’t have to reevaluate these opinions because you find out your child or parent is an addict. If you do, just know that we will accept you into our community. We will help your loved one. Do you know why we would do that? Because we are good people who just want the chance to live like everyone else. So please, before you write another post bashing people who are suffering, think about it. Not only are you hurting the people who have the disease, but you could also be hurting everyone that loves them.

You have people on your friend's list or people that may overhear you at work who have children who are suffering right this moment from addiction. What did they do to deserve the awful things you put out into the universe that do nothing but perpetuate hate and judgment? Addiction is a disease. You have a right to your opinion. But no matter what, hurting people is wrong. If your struggling please reach out, there is a better way of life waiting for you!

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