Lost in a Crack Pipe – A Simple Definition of Addiction.

Dear Readers,
It was a very dark night as I weighed the cost of dealing with my crack cocaine addiction or simply committing  an “accidental overdose”.Years ago, when a fellow crack addict, who  introduced me to crack cocaine, told me that I was an addict, I sneered at him and told him to give up his role of amateur therapist. I  believed that I could stop using anything at anytime.  And look how successful I was, I had just passed the Washington State Bar- so no way dude- and pass the crack pipe.
I really didn’t get it, until the night it hit home that my crack use could kill me.

So for those who don’t know the definition of addiction I chose this one from the American Society of Addiction Medicine:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological,psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

While this definition is  dry and scientific it captures the whole scope of addiction which affects all aspects of the addict’s life. It’s complex biology and brain circuitry, but the patterns can be broken and addicts can get the monkey, dragon or whatever you want to call it off of their backs.

For me on that night in February of 1997, I recalled something that a psychiatrist had told me years ago: If you commit suicide  your children’s chances of committing suicide increase by 50%.  I had already harmed my children who were 6 and 8 at the height of my drug addiction. I did not want to add an increased risk of suicide.  Living and fighting my addiction, at least gave me the hope of someday explaining to them what happened to their mother who got lost in a crack pipe.

The Addict Writes

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