“Otherizing” Addiction

Its hard to be consciously aware when you “otherize” someone. I think this exercise is unique in that it forces you to be conscious of the barriers you place between yourself and another; at least that’s what I learned when I looked back at on past experiences. I think I’ve always kind of “otherized” those that struggle with addiction. It’s easy to be on the outside and look at someone who’s attached to drugs, gambling, or alcohol and think that if they worked harder, quitting would be simple. I thought back to when a close friend of mine began showing signs of addiction and I had the opinion that it was a phase or that he would eventually quit. It wasn’t until I noticed it wasn’t going to stop and he seriously opened up, that I realized addiction isn’t just something that people choose to do, it’s a mental health disease. Due to what seems like a lottery of reasons, addiction is something you live with forever. Looking back, and putting myself in a more empathetic position, I understand how it would be hard to accept being an addict. I’d be scared by how others would perceive me. Wonder if I can work to be better. Struggle with idea of normalcy. And question if anyone would be there to support me.

-Jackson Fallin

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