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Sympathy for Addicts

sunrise

aka ginger warlock
V.I.P.
I once had a discussion with a work friend discussing suicide. I said that if someone overdosed and was not in a mental state I felt they should be allowed treatment and help, her response was that this was insane and they have brought it on themselves to which I asked if she would expect treatment if she was drunk and needed her stomach pumped, she said yes to which I said that she had brought it on herself so how was that any different?

Now this may or may not be the right attitude but I do believe that logic. But this got me onto thinking about addicts. Be it through any kind of drugs, drink whatever do you have sympathy if they ask for help?

Say for example a man is 18, he has lived at home for all of his life, he has always been a good student, done everything that was asked of him and got into a very good university. Two years into Uni he is struggling and in one act of foolishness he chooses snort a line of coke or takes ecstasy but someone in the Uni finds out and he is suspended, he is worried about talking to his parents and takes more and more drugs. He drops out and his parents do not want to know, as a result he ends up on the streets and his life is effectively over.

Would you find sympathy for this person? If you knew or got to know his past would you feel bad and want to help him out? Has it indeed brought this on himself and deserves what has happened to him?

I think people deserve another chance but I appreciate that some people may see it as if they don't want help how are they meant to be helped at all?
 

stripes

Registered Member
I would always have sympathy for an addict if they asked for help, but don't suffer the 'I'm trying my best approach' gladly. Plus, I'd never accept someone whose addiction put another person at risk.

I've only had one addiction myself. I've never touched a drug, have approximately ten units of alcohol a year, and have never smoked, but my addiction was food. I don't believe anyone's so addicted to anything that they can't stop, though. All these people who say "I try to quit smoking" haven't had a big enough reason to do so. When I decided it was time to kick my addiction, I did so. It's not been easy, not at all, but it's not impossible either. If someone wants to help themselves, I'd be the first in line to provide support.
 

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
This reminded me of a discussion we had in January about whether or not addiction was a disease: http://www.generalforum.com/divisive-issues/alcoholism-disease-80911-page3.html

Give it a read if you're interested, ginock. My statements in that thread, saying that I believe that addiction does have a very strong physical/genetic component, always lead me towards having sympathy for those that struggle with alcoholism, drug use, etc.

Regardless of if the case is about an 18 year old guy that has worked hard in school or if it's about an 18 year old girl that has dropped out of school and is living in poor circumstances and making other poor choices, I still feel for the person and hope that they can have successful treatment.

That being said, I understand the societal complexity of the reaction to addiction. It's been proven to have that physical/genetic component, but it also involves choices and emotions. It can be hard for people living/interacting with individuals that are using to view it all through that clinical and scientific lens.

So just to go formal on my answers:

Would you find sympathy for this person? If you knew or got to know his past would you feel bad and want to help him out? Has it indeed brought this on himself and deserves what has happened to him?
Yes, regardless of his/her past I would want to point him/her in the right direction as far as treatment. I don't think that people deserve bad things to happen to them in most scenarios, but sometimes consequences will end up being learning opportunities for people to better themselves. It's a tricky balance.

I think people deserve another chance but I appreciate that some people may see it as if they don't want help how are they meant to be helped at all?
With addiction, it's often said that people can't successfully overcome it until they really want help and treatment. In the mean time, those that care about people in this situation can still provide help through friendship, love, support, and the avoidance of enabling.
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
In the illustration of the university student getting caught for one time and expelled, which triggered his downward spiral of abuse, it insinuates the university and the parents are at fault. Disciplinary consequences are in place to get the person back on track. I can't say for sure how often it backfires, however this student took one bad decision and let it cause him to make many bad decisions to follow. Does he deserve sympathy and help? Sure.

Someone like my Dad though, that has abused alcohol all his life, risked his career, was not a father for us kids, never sought help, had two failed marriages, lacks friendships, is bitter and angry....I'm less sympathetic. I would have rather him address his severe OCD and hyper-criticsm...and then I think his alcoholism would naturally fade.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
In the illustration of the university student getting caught for one time and expelled, which triggered his downward spiral of abuse, it insinuates the university and the parents are at fault.
No, it doesn't. In your mind maybe, but it does no such thing. It's merely used as a variable and a very believable one.

Someone like my Dad though, that has abused alcohol all his life, risked his career, was not a father for us kids, never sought help, had two failed marriages, lacks friendships, is bitter and angry....I'm less sympathetic. I would have rather him address his severe OCD and hyper-criticsm...and then I think his alcoholism would naturally fade.
Sorry to hear that about your father, but I do recall reading literature claiming that alcoholism has genetic factors so it may not just fade naturally. Nevertheless, people who have gone extensive periods like your father may still not have the frame of mind to realize or are not brave enough to admit that they have become the problem.

Speaking on general terms, I think people more often than not think they can just put themselves in the shoes of someone with an addiction. They think it's easy to imagine it or that they can empathize when really, you can't understand an addiction fully without experiencing one yourself. That's not to say I think people should start investing in razors and angel dust, but I think it's worth noting. Addictions can swallow a person,
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
No, it doesn't. In your mind maybe, but it does no such thing. It's merely used as a variable and a very believable one.,
What is a variable? The parents and the university? A person that allows discipline to backfire are making a conscious effort to rebel. He turned one occurence into an addiction. Nevertheless he is probably deserving of some help.

Sorry to hear that about your father, but I do recall reading literature claiming that alcoholism has genetic factors so it may not just fade naturally. Nevertheless, people who have gone extensive periods like your father may still not have the frame of mind to realize or are not brave enough to admit that they have become the problem.,
Thanks and absolutely he doesn't have the frame of mind, or realize, or bravery to admit crap. But the guy is smart and isn't a sociopath so I would think he could dig deep and make it happen.

Not to mention, I've overcome the genetic tendency.

Speaking on general terms, I think people more often than not think they can just put themselves in the shoes of someone with an addiction. They think it's easy to imagine it or that they can empathize when really, you can't understand an addiction fully without experiencing one yourself. That's not to say I think people should start investing in razors and angel dust, but I think it's worth noting. Addictions can swallow a person,
Well as being a heavy drug user at one time in my life, I think i can identify. Never though did it leave my mind completely to know I was smarter than the drugs. In the end I overcame. I'm not claiming others are dumb and therefore can't quit. I'm saying they are not grabbing what power and control they have.
 
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sunrise

aka ginger warlock
V.I.P.
In the illustration of the university student getting caught for one time and expelled, which triggered his downward spiral of abuse, it insinuates the university and the parents are at fault.
If that is how it was insinuated that was not the way it was meant but simply an example of can happen to people, I have known people who have fallen of the rails and I think that in some cases the example can ring true.

I don't think it is fair to blame the university or parents but I have known some people who have these attitudes.
 

Iris

rainbow 11!
If they don't show a sincere desire to quit, then no. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and a father who thinks she can do wrong. I won't lie, my bitter anger is definitely influencing my opinion here.
 

butty92

Registered Member
Addicts get themselves into the state they are in obviously but if they are seriously prepared to do something about it, then I would have sympathy as it is not easy dealing with an addiction, especially when there could be problems that exasperate the situation.
 

BrinkOfExistence

Registered Member
Addicts get themselves into the state they are in obviously but if they are seriously prepared to do something about it, then I would have sympathy as it is not easy dealing with an addiction, especially when there could be problems that exasperate the situation.
Not entirely true they are people out there who kidnap women tie them up and inject them usually with heroine to the point where they become dependant on it then tell them you can have a fix if you do this for us, usually prostitution thus someone else got them into the state that they are in.
 
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