In our society we’ve got addiction all wrong.
I saw this picture of Carson Pickett, an Orlando Pride Soccer player, who was born without a left forearm.
When 2 year old Joseph Tidd, also born without a left forearm, came to her game, they did a high five with their elbows.
Carson became the role model she always wanted for herself.
It is so heartwarming it brings me to tears.
What if we did this with addiction?
What if we praised our differences, our unique challenges, and our strength to overcome, despite any defects we may have been born with or any challenges we grew into?
What if when we saw someone else with addiction issues we recognized them and gave them a high five and said “me too.”
What if when someone was struggling with pain and turning to alcohol to self soothe, we wrapped them in a blanket and showered them with love?
Instead we label them, shun them, punish them, and even criminalize them.
What if when we started to see our loved ones go down, their brain’s hijacked by alcohol dependence, we put all hands on deck in love and compassion?
What if we stopped asking mother’s to keep making lunches, driving to soccer and running the ship while they are turning to alcohol to relieve their pain every evening?
What if we stopped being mad at moms for drinking too much wine with the neighbors or sleeping in the next day and starting realizing it is a cry for help, and maybe instead, we could provide some help?
Some actual relief so they would have less reason to turn to the bottle.
What if, instead, we said, here I’ll drive the ship for a while.
I love you.
You can take care of yourself first.
What if we encouraged rehab as a place of meditation, yoga, therapy, and a welcome time out, that so many women and mothers desperately need?
What if there was no shame in taking care of your mental health?
Why don’t we make it common to say, when you are overwhelmed, it’s ok to take a break?
It’s top priority.
It’s urgent that you go to the wellness resort.
Tune into yourself.
What if when someone stopped turning to alcohol as a solution and quit drinking, we celebrated it?
What would that look like?
A congrats you are taking care of yourself party!?
Instead we look at them with pity.
I’m sorry you couldn’t control your drinking.
Now you can’t drink poison and have fun like the rest of us.
You don’t belong anymore.
You’re different from us.
We don’t want to hang out with you.
If you don’t drink what we are drinking, then we don’t like you anymore.
We blame the person. Not the drug.
The stigma of getting help keeps so many women in a drinking loop.
Rehab and sobriety are viewed as a punishment.
What it actually is, is radical self care, and that should be encouraged.
Quitting drinking is checking into yourself, instead of checking out.
It is putting your own oxygen mask on first.
It is a process of rewiring your brain.
The gray matter in the brain of someone who has overcome addiction, grows to more than someone who never had an addiction issue in the first place.
This is incredible.
When you quit drinking you are literally growing your brain.
Yet in our society we shun these people.
When we see someone going down we just turn our head and roll our eyes.
We wait for it to get worse.
We think it has to reach a certain point of rock bottom (one step above death) before we help.
I am telling you, it’s never too early to race in with help.
What does that look like?
Love, compassion, honesty, and kindness to the extreme.
Wrap that person in a blanket and tell them you love them.
Tell them it doesn’t have to get worse, they are going down, and maybe they can’t see it, but you can.
You are there for them.
There is no shame in getting help.
Bring in the reinforcements.
Take away the stressors.
Their mental health is #1 top priority.
Not drinking is not weird.
Drinking an addictive substance and expecting not to have consequences from it is weird.
Thinking there is no right amount for everyone to drink.
It’s a myth to think not too much, but just enough, is the right amount.
No one knows this secret formula.
There is none.
None is the right amount for most.
If that includes you, get support.
Find a coach, therapist, and sponsor.
Read the books.
Listen to the podcasts.
Create a community of like minded people, online or in person.
You are not alone.
Just like if a loved one was diagnosed with any ailment, you would learn and get all the resources you could to help them.
That is what someone struggling with alcohol needs.
They need love, not shame.
They need to know it’s ok to get help.
It’s ok to never drink again.
It’s ok to have this issue.
So many beautiful people have this issue.
Overcoming alcohol dependence, gives you the biggest brain of all.
I will be your coach.
I will wrap you in a blanket and tell you I love you.
I have been there too.