Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being.

Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being.

Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being.

As a child I was taught to believe addicts are somehow “bad people.” However, now that I am white-knuckling through my own sobriety and recovery, I am finding these so-called “bad people” are my soulmates. Addicts are remarkable people. Addicts fight a war within themselves every single day. Addicts are stereotyped and discriminated against. Addicts are beaten down and made to believe they are weak. With all odds against them, addicts do live healthy lives in recovery, and for that, I am grateful.

I feel like when we were growing up, we were told that addicts and alcoholics were these bad people with no real direction in life. We were taught to “Just say no to drugs!” And if you didn’t, you would end up looking like you were 68 instead of 28. They left out the part that worst thing about addiction isn’t losing everything you have but losing yourself.

They didn’t tell us that years later we would be on our hands and knees searching desperately for change so we would have enough money to buy alcohol at the store. They left out the part where being sober feels like the worst thing in the world because you can’t stand another minute without being numb to it all.

They didn’t tell us that addiction is a disease and those of us who suffer from it are sick.

I wasn’t ready for this.