Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

A Disease??

If drug addiction is a disease, say like diabetes or cancer, why does the afflicted person feel so much shame and rejection??  I have been on again, off again addict.  My family has been there when I have needed them.  Now that I am "on again", why are my loved ones excluding me from holiday get togethers??  Or family parties??  It hurts so badly.  I feel as though they are sick and tired of my relapses, and truly dissapointed in me when I have relapsed in the past.  This time they are excluding me from the holiday family get togethers.  It hurts so badly.  

Back to my quesiton, If addiction truly is a disease, why is there so much shame?????
43 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
3197167 tn?1348968606
Man, this is an "oldy but a goodie" thread!!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Addicts often feel shame because they are unable to control their addiction.

The inability to control an addiction is not  reason for shame.

Sometimes people are unreasonable.

Addict are people, too.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Yes I started taking them for the pain,but at some point I started liking all the false energy and the euphoria they gave me,by then I was taking them mostly for the high.To be honest at that point,even though I was feeling the 'high' from them,my back was starting to bother me again.I think thats what they mean when they talk about that 'opiate pain syndrome'.Then at some point I was chasing a 'high' that I was never going to get again and I continued taking them because I was STILL trying to chase it and I was afraid of the w/ds.When I started abusing them,running out of my script early,buying them,doctor shopping,those were ALL my bad choices.I chose to know I had a problem,that I was addicted.I chose to put the drugs above everything and everyone in my life.I just didn't chose in the beginning to ever become addicted to the pills.I didn't start taking them with that intention at all.That NEVER crossed my mind in the beginning,that I would be sitting here today,many years later,saying that I'm an addict.I don't know if that makes sense.I don't know how else to explain it.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
so u mean that u built up a tolerance to the regular strength (thru no fault of your own)....
then moved on to extra strength (built up a tolerance to that as well....)

ok im reading ur post....and i know i will miss things here and there (and i gotta run back to the dentist....so if im not back for a bit u know why)

ok, but u said that u started taking them not for pain but for the high, right?  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Lovemypillhead

Hon,I'm not quite sure what you're definition of dependent vs.addicted are.I don't mean that with any disrespect,I really don't.I know there is a difference between the 2.You see for me and a lot of people who are or were addicted to pills,I went to a doctor.I was suffering from chronic back pain,and I initially started taking the vicodin to control the back pain,to have some quality of life.I wanted to be able to stand up straight,and get through a work day without being in tears half the day,come home clean my house,take care of my kids,cook, do laundry.It was my choice to take the pills,but I also did the physical therapy,and continued with the doctors appointments.I wasn't taking them to escape anything but the pain,in the beginning.When I first started taking the vicodin,I didn't like the way they made me feel.They actually made me feel sick to my stomach.Someone up above mentioned they had the same experience.I started breaking them {the 5 mg.pills} in 2 and only taking half every few hours.I built up a tolerance and started taking the whole pill,then I built up a tolerance to that and started taking one and a half and then 2.When I told my doctor,I was honest with my doctor in the beginning,he gave me the extra strength vicodin.The same thing happened with the stronger pills.I started taking more and more.Rationalizing with myself that I needed them.I actually had myself convinced to some extent that my back pain was getting worse and that I needed to keep increasing my dose.Looking back I think I realized when I started running out of my script early that I had a problem,but the addicted brain can make the addict believe anything.When I would start to feel the w/ds from running out of the pills,I would again rationalize with myself that it was because I was out of the pills and my back was hurting so bad that it actually made me sick.Was that true.....nope.I was sick because I was out of the pills...period.I was addicted.By that time I wasn't being honest with my doctor about running out early,that tells you that I knew something was wrong.I was buying pills off of people to last me through until I could get my script filled....Eventually I ,through the grapevine,found another doctor,who as long as you paid cash he would write you a script for anything you wanted,and I never let my 'real' doctor find out about him.I went from not being able to handle a baby vike{thats what we always called the 5 mg pills} to taking 4 extra strength vikes at a time 5 times a day,more if I had them.When did it get out of control.....probably back when I started increasing my dosage on my own.You see the thing is hon,I started taking the pills for the back pain,at some point that switched to taking them for the high,towards the latter part of my active addiction to the pills I was taking them because I was scared sh!tless of the dope sick.When I started buying the pills and seeing the other 'doctor' I was hooked,out of control,and I chose to continue that behavior for a long time.I knew by then I had a problem,that I was addicted.I was lying and keeping dirty little secrets.I was spending money I didn't have.I was a sneak and a minipulator....I was and still am an addict.I didn't set out to be an addict the first time I put the pill into my mouth.I was really looking for quality of life,being pain free when I first started taking them.I really had no idea back then that eventually those nasty little pills would take control of my life,take my life away.I don't blame anyone else for my addiction but me.I was lying to my family,I was lying to my doctor.I knew what I was doing,I knew I was addicted,and I still continued to chose to keep destroying my life and hurting my family.I'm not proud of any of that.I carry guilt to this day,but I have to deal with it,because I did it.I was 30 years old when I started taking the pills.I was married,had a good job that I liked,had my children,owned a house,had a nice car...My life was good,except for the physical pain.I didn't drink,hated the taste of any alcohol,didn't do any type of other drugs.I had an acceptional life.I didn't chose the first time I took those pills to become an addict,but once I realized thats exactly what I had become,I didn't chose to immediately seek help and stop.I made some horrible choices in my life,and I made them,nobody held a gun to my head.I did all those things,with no regard for anyone or anything.This is just my story,but I know it's pretty similar to some others here too.I made the choice 289 days ago to stop destroying my life,stop hurting my family,stop being someone that I didn't respect or even like.I just wanted to explain to you my story hon.Peace and love...Kim
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
again, i dont think anyone would choose to live with addiction and loose so much that comes with it (family, jobs, money, friends....)  i mean, who would want that life? who would openly choose that?   nobody of sane mind that's for sure.

All i meant was it is choice to decide wether or not to pick up a drug for the first time, second time, third time and so on.  And, in the first, second, third time--u are NOT addicted!  U are doing it to either fit in with peers, stress or something along those lines. Of course there are the few, few people who are going to a real dr, getting a script, taking the pills as directed....then get cut off and are in a bad place....(but again, there's a diff between being dependent and being addicted)......

But, most people who get addicted to pills, in this case, self medicated and spiraled outta control.  that is a choice.  people who drink too much.  that is a choice. people who do coke. that is a choice.  smoke weed. choice.  if you know addiction runs in your family and if u believe it is inherit'd and it is a never ending disease that has no end ( unlike cancer which--u know, if u die...at least u get peace from that as worried said and i totally disagree with that logic but whatever) then why not make the choice to stay away from the drugs and or alcohol.  

i just strongly feel that nowadays, especially here in america, we are so quick to blame others and not take responsibility for our own  choices and decisions.



Helpful - 0
442658 tn?1563386491
i feel everyone here has there own feelings about this.  i see myself in so many of your answers.  i personally feel from knowing myself for 51 years, i am a bonafied addict.  all my life i have grasped on to something be it good or bad.  my dad was a terrible alcoholic since i was very young.  his father was the same way.  my mom...nothing.  somehow i feel like i have my dads gene cos i have been addicted to many things through life.  no one caused me to use...it was just me grabbing on to something.  i have managed to get rid of most of my addictions except cigs.  these are just my personal words but i do think there is an addiction gene and unfortunately i got it.  i did realize i couldn t go on with the pill addiction so i had to get over it by making the choice.  hope this makes sense.  very interesting post....maria
Helpful - 0
401095 tn?1351391770
agree with flmagi...being a nurse i have seen it too many times...children of alcoholics especially...i am not but 2 of my grandparents were...one on each of my parents side..their childhood was enuf to make it to where they do not even drink...either parent...so perhaps i am lucky as i did not grow up around abuse....but i see people who did grow up in the environment and it is so much harder than it is for me/and it is hard for me/dont get me wrong/but to watch them abuse everything they touch/agony over and over...and being in the health care industry i see people withdrawing from alcohol all the time and it is a painful thing to watch much less endure

interesting topic but addiction is painful and i really do not believe any of us "chose" it...just dont
Helpful - 0
401095 tn?1351391770
agree on the painful part...many addicts/99% experience a pain that is not the same as a cancer patient...but so very painful in a different way...it is a lifetime and it never ever goes away..wouldnt compare it to someone dying of cancer and will be gone next week...but then again i do not know..we can kill ourselves in a heartbeat...did u know "thomas" who wrote the thomas recipe died this year of an overdose..addiction is deadly for many..it is painful...not curable...and an affliction that takes will power long after detox is over..some people have done this over and over numerous times....i have a back that is screwed....but i would choose that pain over the pain i have experienced due to my addiction...anyday of the week
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
--Njshar,
    
First of all, I remember all the feelings that come with being involved -and in love- with   someone in the grip of active addiction. I recall the anger, that came from the manipulation and lies. There was always the worries as to whether there would be money to pay the mortgage, etc. Then, of course, the pain of rejection. I couldn't comprehend why the children and I weren't 'enough' to fight to for ... Why did the drugs and alcohol always 'win', I asked myself? Fear was my constant companion. Perhaps that WAS the worst of it, the fear that IT would never stop.  And "IT' became an entity, in and of 'IT'self to me. A rival for my affections ... a 'mistress' that I could not wrestle from him. But always the enemy that I could not battle. -- I may not have trusted the promises and long speeches about how, "..this time.."  Much may have finally lost the capacity to move me, but I did hurt for his pain. -- And I never, never, forgot how to HOPE - WISH - and want to BELIEVE!  
                               Your family hasn't forgotten either njshar!
They may be afraid to dare to hope but that's the wonderful thing about optimism ... we all have so much of it! No matter what, it simply continues to create more of itself! Often, those that have experienced the most frustration and disappointment, need to be  allowed the time to learn how to trust once again. I read in my husbands 'Big Book' (from AA - and please forgive my paraphrasing!) ... that the substance abuser needs to accept that the behaviors they engaged in while using, those things which they have done and have not done, should not necessarily expect to be forgiven for in ones lifetime... -- Don't place a timeline on others feelings. Although I believe that forgiving comes sooner and perhaps easier than forgetting - either way, sobriety won't come with any guarantees when it comes to people we have let down .. or our own feelings of being mistreated.       While you must place staying clean FIRST, working on your relationship with those you love is an emotional priority. As you learn again to love honestly, you will (with time) become honestly loved once more!  -- Njshar, I know this was 'wordy' .. but it was no attempt to be one bit preachy. I should end this by telling you that I eventually became the 'monster' which I so feared and hated. Kim's first post above is as close to my own story as any I have read recently. So I have been both the 'abused' and the 'abuser' ... both such a struggle! But now I am married to a lovely man .. and sadly, my first husband (I spoke of above) passed away several months ago, from heart complications, due to all his years of drinking. His parents are coping but inconsolable. Not a happy ending ... however, they never gave up on the love of their son ... or their HOPE!
                                                   .... Prayers and Blessings Njshar!...
Helpful - 0
306455 tn?1288862071
I think addiction is a disease, maybe not like diabetes etc, there needs to be a different classification for this disease. Some people may start taking drugs recreationally and others for pain, but taken long enough, we all get addicted. If it is not a disease then why are babies of addicts born addicted? The baby did not make a choice to become addicted. The disease was passed down.  Although we have a choice to stop the drugs that feed the disease, the disease will just lay dormant in our systems, waiting to be feed again so it can become stronger.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
GREAT  DISCUSSION!   I, too have pretty much been dropped off the Holiday Christmas get together due to being an Addict... and if it IS a disease...like diabetes....would I not be invited because I had Diabetes?   I don't even think so.

In My opinion... and this is just a small part of why I think people think this way...  Addiction is a disease of the MIND, like Metal Illness....and we all know the stigmas that comes along with that!..

I think people consider Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, etc... to be (TRUE DISEASES) because they affect the BODY.......  I don't know....just my ywo cents
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
true....
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
A guy I played baseball with, with the Padres, John Kruk beat testicular cancer........free and clear. Can we say we beat addiction and never have to fear it again. I believe Addiction is a brain disease and a chronic relapsing disease.

My Dad was addicted his whole life to Darvocet, so I guess I got it from him. I was very against his drug use until I had to take Painkillers after all my surgeries from playing ball. I did not choose the addiction and I take full responsibility.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I dont think people say to themselves "wow, i really wanna loose everything, destroy myself...hurt my family, make my kids cry, etc"  but, it is a choice to do drugs or drink.  that's is a choice.  maybe it isnt a choice as far as how we are born.  but nobody makes u do drugs.  and, u cant say u craved a drug the very first time u did it because...u never did it before.....so u wouldnt know.  we try things out of curiosity...peer pressure....etc.

my g-ma was a huge pill addict, god rest her soul

so, my mom....always knowing that...determined early in life...that she would stay away from pills.....because she was afraid she'd get addicted like her mom did.  

i just think people need to take some responsibility for their actions and unfortunate things that happen as a result of their decisions and choices.

i have to take responsinbility and own up to things...i think an addict should have to as well.
Helpful - 0
536882 tn?1225512859
Back to the original issue of feeling isolated and wondering why family doesn't want anything to do with some of us at this time of year.......

Part of being accountable and acceptin responsibility for my addiction is realizing how badly I hurt and betrayed those who love me the most.  The lies, stealing, hiding, isolating, ignoring, arguing......all the rotten things I did and said to them while I was using......and they STILL love me.  They do love us....it just takes them time to heal those wounds just like it took us time to physically and mentally get better.  Many of our friends and family are not ready or willing to completely trust us and accept us back into their lives with open arms.  We have betrayed a trust that goes much deeper than the surface.  When I am not invited to a dinner, or party it is hard not to get angry, or hurt.  But, its really none of my business WHO they decide to invite to what.  Its their party?  In time, old wounds will heal and the best medicine is a life lived in active recovery.  When they see that we are actively working on staying clean and becoming better people than we were, it helps them forgive.  When we say "I'm clean" yet everything in our lives says otherwise they are less likely to trust us.  Each time we relapse. it hurts them more.  Eventually they can't bear to hurt any more so they choose not to get involved.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your family, is to follow through if you're serious about getting and staying clean.  Actions speak much louder than words.  And one other important thing to realize.....Addiction is not an 'on again off again' disease (or choice?).....it never goes away.  Its ALWAYS with us.  Once you realize this, maybe you wont have the 'on again' part anymore.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Disease,,,any harmful,depraved or morbid condition as of the mind or society. Disease,,a condition of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distingushing signs and symptoms. I couldnt find any definitions that talked abouts choices
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Addiction has been around sooooo long does it really matter if its a disease in a traditional sense or not ? As far as it being a choice,, while many have a disease that they had no choice in many have diseases like addiction where there were choices. Smoking causes many more diseases other then lung cancer, overeating to obesity causes many health problems and diseases,,hell ,staying out in the sun to long can cause skin cancer but having choices doesnt make it any less of a disease or make one persons disease any worse or better then those that had no choice. My wife has breast cancer and of course my sympathy level for her is much higher then for myself or anyones addiction but I still consider myself as having a disease. When I"m in active addiction or going thru wds it doesnt really matter how I got there but how I"m going to get better just like with any disease.
Helpful - 0
702286 tn?1239011660
i feel your pain. when i go to a family member for help of the monetary kind, they might give it if they can pay with their visa card directly to the repair shop for instance. i used them for years before they knew what was going on. i am genetically predisposed to addiction as both of my parents were alcoholics, but functionally so. i had alot of TRAGEDY and abuse by the time i started using at age 11. once  i used, i knew that i always wanted to. the family members were ignorant of alot of the **** that happened when i was little. some, once they found out felt guilty as heck for not realizing it at the time. what is that chemical we addicts have in our brain? T.H.I.Q.. once this gets triggered addiction becomes an active disease. i think one must live it, or work closely with it for a good length of time to understand. guilt and shame... well i am still working on that everyday. the past is very hard for me to let go of, whether it was stuff done to me or stuff i did to others. try not to expect too many people to understand your disease. just know for yourself, and try to draw some strength in that knowing. bledded be.  sway
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
But by that theroy, an addict should be able to get away with anything really....because it isnt their fault that they were put together this way....
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Because drugs are a completely different thing then cancer.

Nobody makes someone drink and drink and drink until they become an alcoholic.

Nobody makes someone snort coke, do pills or shoot up.  that's a choice.

A person may be genetically made up of addiction but nobody forced them to take that first drug. Or do it again. And again. And again.

I mean really....look at two people.  One is fighting for their life due to cancer. The other one is fighting an addiction to just say no to pills.  Do u think there is a comparison between the two "diseases" at that point? I don't think that is fair....to lump an addiction in with a cancer patient.  The cancer patient didnt ask for it.  U say well neither did the addict. But, actually they did.  They did NOT have to try drugs for the first time. Or, here's an idea.....they could have taken responsibility for themselves....checked their family history to see if addiction runs in the family before they decided to do what ever drug.   (I am just throwing this out there to see who feels what)

My aunt died of cancer.  A slow, agonizing death. Pure hell for her and her family. I watched my mom suffer everyday in emotional pain. And cry. And be so sad. And depressed. I watched my aunt wake  up everyday  and be so happy she got one more day with her kids and grandkids.  

I watch my bf go thru pill withdrawl and im sorry...but, my heart doesnt break for him like it did my aunt.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Definition of Disease:          

A disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.

Does this describe anyone besides me here.....I accept that I'm a recovering addict. We don't choose the disease it chooses us, No matter what it is.


Helpful - 0
401095 tn?1351391770
I am not into to technical terms anyway..and do not really care what addiction is called but i do know it is a problem..i do beleive there is somthing in some of our brains that is not quite right or that is out of balance..i truly do...i took hydros for a couple of different surgeries over the years and hated them..hated the way they made me feel..actually asked them to give me anything but those....then one day i took one after a few years of not taking any and it was different..totally different..they hit my pleasure button...i loved the energy they gave me and felt like i was the energizer bunny...then they turned on me and that feeling was no longer there..and if i took them right now that feeling would not be there as i have had them for a procedure and pain episode since i quit...something has changed in my brain again and they do not make me high/only yucky feeling...disease, psychological disorder/perhaps as bipolar and major depression are an example of when chemicals are off whack in the brain...just know the pills do not hit veryones pleasure center...and if u ask people u will find that out..they did not get any reinforcement from taking the pills and can take them as needed as they r not lacking the chemical we are..I also feel that if the pills would not have been available i would not have fell into the pattern...so i thnk for me it was 1. availability 2. the right (wrong) time in my life 3. a chemical or NT depletion that I have in my brain
Helpful - 0
699295 tn?1295358345
no bashing...i'm definatlry the text-book addict. i also don't agree that addiction is a disease...like i said before disease alludes to cure. if we live with this for ever, we're never cured...just another day clean. i totally understand the choice to use...and everyones reason differs. i didn't choose cancer...i didn't choose morphine (my oncologist did)...i did choose to ask him to taper me off, he refused trying to downplay the wds...(what a crock)...i chose to keep using for years, thats my bad. as for the gene...it doesn't say you'll be an addict...it predisposes you to have an addictive nature. noone chooses to be addicted...even if they choose to take the meds.
Helpful - 0
2
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Addiction: Substance Abuse Community

Top Addiction Answerers
495284 tn?1333894042
City of Dominatrix, MN
Avatar universal
phoenix, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is treating glaucoma with marijuana all hype, or can hemp actually help?
If you think marijuana has no ill effects on your health, this article from Missouri Medicine may make you think again.
Julia Aharonov, DO, reveals the quickest way to beat drug withdrawal.
Tricks to help you quit for good.
Herpes sores blister, then burst, scab and heal.
Herpes spreads by oral, vaginal and anal sex.