I’ve seen lots of articles and conversations on social media lately asking the question when dependency is a disease or a selection. When I see this topic I typically put my guard up, and obviously I take it pretty soon. After all, Im an addict. I would venture to assume that most people who only understand me via social networking or as an acquaintance (aka, Facebook buddy) are not conscious of this reality. I certainly dont seem like an alcoholic. And my husband doesnt seem like a drug addict. In fact we seem like the ideal couple who has it all together, and in lots of ways, thanks to Gods grace, we do. He healed us both.
Im a working nurse and also a homeschooling mom. I own my own small, skincare business, along with my husband owns a restaurant. We thrive in our businesses, our relationships with one another, and also as role models to our kids, but it wasnt always this way. Once upon a time our lives were ruled by dependence. I almost said even as writing this we allowed our lives to be mastered by dependence, but appeared to be placing more energy in our hands than I think they may deserve.
I come from a long line of addicts. Alcoholism runs in the family, together with suicide and other mental health disorders. Because of this reality I always understood that drinking could be a bad idea for me, but I made the decision to drink anyway. Theres that word. Choice.
Looking back Im uncertain of when decision ended along with the disease of addiction took ahold of me, but it feels like the lines blurred. I dont think I ever made the conscience decision to become determined by alcohol I couldnt go a day without it. I dont recall growing up with fantasies to sit in my garage inebriated and crying over how unhappy my life had become. I dont think I ever said, Im going to continue to indulge in this substance that places my life and the life of many others in danger. I never wanted to put my nursing license or my patients at risk because I had been too weak not to be hung over to a work day. I didnt think Id ever be dumb enough to set a five-year-old in my car and drive drunk to go get beer, but I really did. I didnt desire to shout and fight together with the people I loved. I didnt need to blackout, not recall hour blocks of time. I make the choice to develop such ridiculous, reckless, and self-destructive behaviors. By this point I felt without choice.
It had begun with a decision, but somewhere along the way that it became something I no longer controlled. It controlled me. In a sinful world I had fallen, and I couldnt get back up however much I wanted to. Every day I would wake up feeling like crap. I would say to myself, now is the day I quit. But then I wouldnt. I couldnt.
Substance dependency changes the chemical composition of your mind. I really do believe the propensity to to lean towards dependence is inherited. I think we as human beings make an initial choice to utilize, but then the sin overtakes your heart. It will become a struggle, an anchor, chains binding you. Nobody chooses to hurt the people they love.
I didnt drink my initial six pack and sayI’m planning to become so determined by alcohol that I need to ostracize myself from others. I need to drink a lot that I reach a point where I cant imagine how to live life without it.
Addicted fathers dont select drugs over seeing their kids.
Addicted mothers dont choose to steal from the people they love.
You dont choose to ruin your lifetime, self-esteem , health, and also the confidence of those men and women who care about you. Who would choose that?
And even once you choose to leave dependence behind its stronger than your own choices. I proclaim I didnt conquer addiction. I think the Lord gave me the power to overcome it, but I think its still there just like a lion sneaking from the brush. I realized that I was an addict, and as an addict I didnt have the freedom to casually use alcohol just like so a lot of my friends and loved ones do. I had to choose to leave it entirely behind, but not the end of this. Its a decision I must make daily since the energy of dependence isnt something as straightforward as saying yes, I will, or no, I dont. Its more than that. To say otherwise is providing human weakness too much electricity, yet to say dependence can’t be overcome is not giving God sufficient credit.
Addiction is no respecter of persons. It can take over the kindest young man from the very best household, and it can affect the intelligent professional who carries herself with grace. Addiction may begin with a decision, but the slippery slope it becomes which leads to certain destruction goes past any conscience decision any human being could ever make. I think to answer the question of if something is a disease or a choice isnt as simple as that. After all, life never is.