I got some flack for a facebook post I did the night that the Cory Montieth overdose death was announced. I was still reeling from the devastating Zimmerman verdict when I saw the announcement on Twitter. I was frustrated with the story shift admittedly, but my real frustration was about the senseless loss. Here’s what I wrote:
I feel terrible for Cory Monteith’s family. I really do. It is very sad that he is dead. But Cory squandered his life, a blessed life. Threw it away for a high. Trayvon had his life stolen from him.
My frustration is deep for the loss of all life. My pain is palpable for both parents. Having had my own life, people I love, destroyed by addiction-having children who are living in a world that makes light of drugs and dismisses the dangers of using, I am angry about the arrogance of drug use. I am through with the inane belief in immortality. I am blistering with the ridiculousness, the wastefulness of it all. The comparison above grew from the fact that in a world that still has so many mountains to climb, so much work to do to ensure equality of life for all, there are still so many people, every day, bathed in privilege who stomp through life like a bull in a china shop. I have no patience for people who treat their lives so callously. I am raw with grief about it all. I can mourn for Cory and still be furious with him.
I did break one of my own house rules by posting while “freaking”, but I am in line with one of my others in that I am owning my words for better or worse. True, in hindsight, and with a cooler head, I probably would have finessed my initial post a little better, but the sentiment would remain the same.
I am all too familiar with the devastating effects addiction can have on the user and the people who love them. But even though I have great compassion for the struggle that addicts face on the road away from the disease of addiction I am still furious about the arrogance that sets the ball rolling in the first place. Yes, arrogance. Because before there is addiction there is an arrogant belief that despite all of the documented side effects and life devastation that drug/alcohol use can bring they believe none of that will happen to them. Oh no, they are above all of that. They are stronger, luckier, and way too smart to fall into any kind of drug trap. Yeah, arrogance.
I am tired of people giving their lives away, and to me that is what you do by using drugs. You are playing russian roulette with your life. And unlike a lot of people, I can stand very tall on my soap box and say that it is possible to live life, a full and enriched life, without using drugs, because I never ever have. When I told my daughter that she scoffed. At first she thought I was lying to her and then she looked at me like I was some sort of an alien. Then she proceeded to tell people my truth as though I was something only to be found in a museum. That’s just wrong, and it further fuels my fire of anger about the societal tolerance of drugs.
I am sick and tired of people, however inadvertently, telling my children that using drugs won’t get in the way of their future, or end their lives, because they used, “snicker, snicker”, and yet they turned out okay. I’m tired of entertainers making light of usage like it’s some sort of “in joke”. That people complaining about drugs are just “out of touch” or not “hip enough” to understand how harmless they are. Those same people turn around and bemoan the “tragic” and “surprising” deaths of people like Whitney Houston, Cory Montieth, Amy Winehouse and more. Well, the “tragedy” is self inflicted. and there really is no surprise. Drugs kill people and destroy lives every single day. Every single, mother lovin’ day. And let’s not get it twisted, drugs don’t just destroy the lives of the user, they destroy the lives of the people who love them and have to stand by and watch helplessly. And I do mean helplessly because you can lead a horse to rehab, but you can’t make them drink the water of recovery. You can’t save them. Recovery is in the hands of the user. If they don’t want it it won’t happen. And your loved ones don’t have to die for you to lose them either. It just means you mourn them for that much longer waiting for the phone call you know will come eventually, telling you they have finally succeeded in ending their lives for good. And you feel guilty because in a way you just wish the call would come already so you can stop living in fear of it. There’s nothing funny about any of that.
So again, I reiterate, I ache for Cory Montieth’s family, and the families of so many others before him. I am mad as Hell that any of them have to go through the excruciating pain of losing a loved one so needlessly. But as a society we play a role in their deaths. We do. As long as we snicker and “wink wink” about drugs our children will grow up with the right words in their mouths, “just say no” but a dangerous sense of permission in their minds. Because hey, we turned out alright.
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