This series of articles is based on my interview conducted on Atlantic Avenue surrounding the stigmas of addiction.
A. Well, I don’t really know how to answer that question. I can tell you what I’ve learned. I have learned that addiction is a brain disease, once you put a substance into your system and you happen to be a part of that group of people who drugs and alcohol affect in that way you’re gonna have a different response to that substance than eighty percent of the population.
So twenty-percent of the population has an alcoholic or addictive reaction to drugs or alcohol. I also think that there is a good percentage of people who are born with this disease, just like there are people born with the predisposition to become diabetic or have heart disease. I believe addiction is a disease characterized by loss of control, meaning that once the substance is in your system you can’t predict the outcome or plans change.
Now people who are not addicted and not chemically dependent, if they go out for a drink and they know they are gonna drive home, they’re not gonna have another drink because they know they are gonna have to drive. Social drinkers who get DUI’s are only going to get one. They made a mistake they don’t make that mistake again. Alcoholics get DUI’s all the time.
When an alcoholic goes out for a drink and knows that they have to drive home they either, A) Get wasted and drive home any way, B) Get wasted with no regard or care for how to get home. Or C) Do something totally unpredictable, because alcoholics and addicts by definition lose control after the first drink or drug.
I actually worked with a young man who one night wants to go out drinking at a party but because of his past actions his friends said he could only attend the party with them if he was the designated driver. This young man agreed. He said, “I will not drink anything” “I will drive you home” and said, “Of course I can drive a car with a manual transmission”.
Well, because he is an alcoholic, selfish and uncontrollable by nature he, snuck a few drinks as soon as we got to the party, hid his drinking from his friends, started to drive them all home, but all ended up taking a cab home not because they found out he was drunk, but because he didn’t know how to drive a car with a manual transmission. He drank, lied and but others safety second to his drinking. That’s a good example of addiction.