By now I have spoken to thousands gaining greater insight into the opiate problem. This past August my family and I traveled to Baltimore, MD to attend the National Conference on Addiction Disorders where I continued my personal journey in trauma and recovery to hear from the Addiction experts.
Leaving the conference with an abundance of rehab information, a myriad of new opioid drug company sticky notes and a stack of business cards, I was energized and even more committed to my conviction: Alcohol Abuse is the root of the opioid epidemic and is enabled by our addicted and distracted society.
Addictions, like drugs, can play large roles in our lives and cause relentless turmoil, while other positive addictions, give us strength to dig in, power up, shed our skin and continue on. Addictions are so powerful they propel brilliant minds to invent technology or others to run that extra mile. We would all benefit from taking our own personal Addiction Inventories. Being aware of the Positive-Negative Addiction Spectrum and creating Addiction Inventories would empower us and our communities to capitalize on Positive Addictions to be used as guides for our children. With this Empirical Knowledge, they would navigate the world on a more productive and confident path in life. It’s time to SWITCH OUT Negative Addictions with Positive Addictions that will indeed enhance and revitalize communities worldwide.
Drug and alcohol addiction is horrible, and we need to tackle it at its core. It causes distress for millions, in some form, every day. This crisis is paralyzing and is sending many into hysteria. Opioid overdoses are a national crisis. According to SAMHSA, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the common use of medications with counseling to treat opioid addictions and prevent overdose. MAT is primarily used to treat heroin and opiate prescription addictions.*
The role of the legal drug alcohol is paramount in the deadly combination with opioids and opiates; it cannot be overlooked. Unfortunately, it is all too often ignored. American Addiction Centers reports that prescription pain medications when combined with alcohol is deadly and this type of overdose is on the rise in the US over the past few decades. Even if medication is taken exactly as prescribed and only a small amount of alcohol is ingested, the drugs enhance each other’s effects and can lead to dangerous intoxication and lethal overdose.**
Cultural acceptance, tolerance and grandstanding of alcohol in this gamble continues and will until the dangers of alcohol are seen for what they are. MAT, or using drugs to get off drugs, is working because it makes sense. It is not easy to get clean from heroin or prescription drug addiction. If there is a drug that makes it easier, then why wouldn’t everyone want in? That’s progress, right? Or is it prolonging the inevitable, enabling the addicted? That is another discussion.
This opioid crisis is masking the real problem. In my many footsteps, I have heard few stories of full recovery from MAT. I have spoken to many who are in recovery and some deny alcohol is an issue saying it has never been their problem. I warn that one poor decision, which alcohol is often associated with, can cost them their lives. They shake their heads and walk away in disbelief. I call it Lost in Translation, but really it is our enabling society that celebrates alcohol use which slowly takes the body, mind and spirit of many struggling with any and all forms of addiction.
Too many are suffering. Parents who are struggling from alcoholism are burying their children due to overdoses and blaming the opiate epidemic while completely ignoring the role alcohol has played. Denial is raging rampant within them.
Every day we have a chance to change, take inventory, regroup and reinvent ourselves. Every morning is a new opportunity to shake free of negative addictions that no longer serve to better us. Where there is no plan, failure is sure to be eminent. Step one is to recognize there is a problem. Step two is to progress in forward motion. Help is everywhere! Many care and will go the extra mile for those who seek recovery from addiction.
If I had a choice to get off drugs with prescribed medication 28 years ago, I am not sure if I would have opted in. Either way, one thing is certain, sooner or later, I would have wanted to get off the ride.
One Moment, One Breath, One Second at a Time.
Angela Einstein, Founder AEinstein Universe
Photo credit: Juan – Xtobal