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The only qualified drug counselor is a prior addict

pain-not-addiction

People give advice all the time. For some people, it’s damn near an addiction. Not a real addiction. Those involve mind-altering substances. But it’s a prominent behavioral trait.

I’m one of those people. I give a lot of advice. Much of it unsolicited. But even I – know-it-all asshole that I am  – know where to draw the line.

Let me take you back. Picture it, Disappearing Island, Florida.  Went out to said island with a group of friends, as well as friends of friends I barely knew. During the trip, I lit up a cigarette. And here comes well-meaning asshole. We’ll call her “Cunt” – because I really don’t think she was well-meaning as much as she was a know-it-all cunt.

Cunt: You know that’s bad for you, right?

Me: Nope. No idea. Last my doctor told me, this was an ideal cure for female hysteria. Well, that and leaches.

Cunt: Have you ever tried to quit?

Me: Yes <proceeds to explain the approximate billion drugs, nicotine replacements, doctors, hypnotists and therapies I’ve tried >

Cunt: Well, what you really need to do is put your cigarettes in a baggie. Every day, you put less cigarettes in the baggie, until there’s no cigarettes in the baggie…<honestly, this retarded shit went on for twenty minutes and I can’t be bothered to regurgitate this stupid idea which I guarentee worked for no one in the world, ever.>

Me: Oh, did that work for you?

Cunt: No, I’m not a smoker.

Me: Well then, you don’t know shit. Now shut up.

Look, there are some things you need some experience on to be able to offer an opinion. There’s plenty of other things you don’t. For example, I don’t need to be a parent to know it’s wrong to punch a toddler in the face. Just from being alive, I know toddler’s faces are squashy, still forming and not safe for punching. This is a thing I would know if I’d never given birth.

I see a plane nose down in the center of a local Walmart, I don’t need a degree in aeronautics to determine the pilot fucked up. Planes aren’t supposed to land in Walmarts. Clearly, mistakes were made.

Some things, you can have an opinion on just seeing them. You don’t need any prior experience to understand the root issue. You punch a kid in the face, you’re a bad parent. You plow a plane into the Dale Earnhardt Jr. collection at the local Walmart, you’re a bad pilot. Even laymen can understand that.

But laymen don’t understand addiction. The job of an addiction counselor is the only one in the world where experience being high on drugs should be required. You need to have been an addict to understand an addict. And by an addict, I mean a real addict who’s been addicted to mind-altering substances. Not addicted to macramé, or mysteries or chocolate.

Stop appropriate my culture, pussies.

I mean the kind of addiction where – if you don’t have that thing you’re addicted to – you can’t function until you do. That thing becomes your sole purpose for being alive. When you try to quit that thing, your brain tricks you. It says “hey, come on, that shit makes you so happy. And life’s too short to be unhappy. Who cares if it makes you sick? Sure, not having it will make you live longer – but if you have to live without it, are you really interested in living that long anyway?”

Unless you’ve lived that, you don’t get it. Yes, you can be the kid of an addict, the friend of an addict, the partner of an addict and think you know – but you don’t. Your opinion isn’t going to make an addict quit, because addicts live inside themselves. They’re only capable of seeing a short-term world through their own eyes. And for the rest of their lives, even if they get clean, they will always think of that one thing that tempts them. At least once a day, they’ll remember that high. And they’ll never be able to let it go.

If you really want to give me advice on how to cure my addictive behaviors, give me the schematics for a time machine. That’s the only true cure-all – the ability to go back in time and stop myself before I started. At the very least, have some fucking experience in what being an addict is like. Only then are you qualified to dispense life advice to an addict.