Remember when we couldn’t talk about ‘certain’ topics: br**st cancer, homos**uality, relig**n? Well, lately I have been talking about a sickness that has to do with the search for love and meaning. After I saw all the guys wearing the pink breast support T-shirts, everyone now has a rainbow on their bumpers, and my afterlife philosophy is based on love not judgement, I decided to start talking openly about addiction. I don’t clear the room anymore.
I still do get those sad eyes and uncomfortably long periods of silence while others are thinking. Then, the one old stoner guy in the crowd opens up and everyone joins in.
People want to talk about their losses, fears, and questions. Too long our culture languished in polite, super short conversations about addicts, which only meant someone else’s kid (who was a rotten degenerate) and a chart of statistics on poor people. Addicts’ lives were too real and immediate for anyone to really understand the relationships, the relief, and the reality associated with an addiction. Now everyone knows an addict, is an addict, or lost an addict. We are everywhere, and they can no longer hide us in caskets devoted to a singular tragedy.
Finally, Helen is Reddy and roaring, but the tune is “I am addiction hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back and pretend.” They can’t ignore our losses, and they are startint to ask us to be a part of the conversation. At some point addicts and their loved ones need to speak up, but many are still afraid to tell the truth. They can’t always find someone who understands, and many still are hiding the truth due to the reactions. Just like Helen Reddy’s hit single, we want this single to hit the charts and change the reaction to our engendered group. Addicts and their loved ones are under-respected, and the stereotype needs to get rewritten to include who we are, what we are, and why we are.
Sit awhile and talk with Matt Edwards. He died at age 25, but he is still talking. Please join your voice to Matt’s and show the world that addicts are worth loving, understanding, and saving by putting a few dollars toward getting this film to production. We need to change the conversation to include us, the addicts and the ones who love them.