Reality Check: There’s Nothing Glamorous About Drug and Alcohol Addiction
There’s a scary misconception about drug and alcohol addiction that needs to be cleared up. Hollywood and other places sometimes portray addiction as glamorous, but the truth is that it is anything but. Drugs and alcohol are not something to glorify, but instead are something to fear and despise.
The reality of what happens to a person’s body on drugs and alcohol isn’t pretty, and death is usually chasing the heels of addiction. Many celebrities have died of drug and alcohol abuse, and their memories and moments are forever captured in the film, pictures, and the internet. Impressionable people look at such images and think, “I want to be like them”. Well, you don’t and here’s why.
The Downward Spiral of Addiction
The first few parties where a person tries alcohol or drugs can be exhilarating, fun, and full of the promise of fun nights to come. Many people stay in this stage and never progress to addiction. Others find that they can’t stop, and they get on the fast track to dependency.
At the onset of addiction, a user’s body slowly becomes accustomed to the ingested substance. Those initial encounters are euphoric, pleasurable, and feel really good. Over time, your body requires more and more to have the same effect. A new addict will notice, if they have enough sense, that their priorities are shifting to surround the drug or alcohol, and money is increasingly flying out of the window.
As addiction progresses further, basic human needs are overlooked. Showers are skipped, laundry isn’t done, the right food is no longer eaten. Drugs or alcohol are such a priority that nothing else matters, and it begins to reflect on a person’s appearance.
Heading Towards Rock Bottom
The addiction continues to worsen. Blackouts start to occur. Friendships and relationships that were once a priority no longer matter to the addict. Feelings get hurt, fights occur, and homes fall apart. Embarrassing things begin to happen under the influence, and these are the things you don’t necessarily hear about.
For example, a couple was recently out to brunch. During that brunch, the girl consumed so much alcohol that she gave herself alcohol poisoning. Besides the obviously detrimental effects that have on her body, a number of other things happened. Her favorite restaurant banned her. She vomited and lost control of other bodily functions in front of her significant other and friends. She proceeded to go home and fall asleep and woke up with no recollection of what happened.
There is absolutely nothing glamorous about that. It’s embarrassing, shameful, and pitiful. People may think “that will never happen to me”, but in truth, anyone who struggles with drug and alcohol addiction knows that no one is immune to the disease. Addicts cannot control their intake of their substance of choice.
Dying As A Result of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
From Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain to Philip Seymour Hoffman and Prince, these are celebrities who died as a direct result of alcohol and drugs. To list, all of them would be extensive. The infamous “27 club” alone has a frightening number of members. For those of you who don’t know, the 27 club refers to a group of celebrities who died from drugs or alcohol at the age of 27. They include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones. The number of people in the club totals over 50 musicians. And those are only the ones who died at that specific age.
In the rest of the world, people die every single day as a result of drug and alcohol addiction. 2013 data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that approximately 570,000 people die annually in the U.S. due to addiction.
Those deaths aren’t pretty, and definitely not glamorous. Some die in car wrecks. Others in accidents and fights. Some die alone, perhaps after choking on their own vomit, or bleeding out due to an overdose. While others commit suicide, and the sad truth is that they probably would never have even thought of doing so if they weren’t under the influence. There are a select few who do not die but mess themselves up just enough to spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair, institution, or both.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Destroys Everyone
Loved ones who find addicts in bad situations or dead have to deal with the emotional disturbance. They will forever have that unpleasant image in their head. Lives are effectively ruined, questions remain for a lifetime, and deep scars develop that never fully heal. Medical bills remain long after an addict is gone or is completely incapable of taking care of them themselves.
Drugs and alcohol are not accurately portrayed on TV. They are not all fun and games, something that the “cool kids” do. They are bad substances that have very real and often fatal consequences. The best thing to do is stay away. And, if you think you may have a problem, seek help as soon as possible.