“Breaking the Chains of Addiction” is the theme of the 2.5-mile walk on Saturday, Sept. 24 in Waterfront Park, and it’s a theme that deserves our attention and recognition. Addiction is a disease that affects all of us in some way – some of us (including your humble author) are addicts, and others know, live with, care about and are otherwise affected by, addicts and their addictions.
People who are not addicts have a difficult time with those of us who are. We seem driven to self-destruction; we seem haunted by self-doubt and determined to undermine any and all good things in our lives. But it’s not that – we’re addicts. We have a disease.
And as such, we’re responsible for taking action to get better. It’s not up to those around us to fix us, even though, early on in our addiction most of us look to others for a solution. That never, ever works, but some of us try until the day we die to find “the one” who will magically make everything good and right with the world.
If we’re lucky, we’ll stumble into a 12-step recovery program. This is, for millions of addicts of all kinds, the only solution that actually works over time. But not everyone is willing or able to find this answer. And for those, life continues to be a living hell. Some have managed to handle their addictions without 12-step, and others have found their way back to addiction despite the program. But by and large, 12-step programs save lives every day, one day at a time.
And the thing is, we think of addiction in sordid, almost romantic terms. Heroin. Alcohol. Meth. But there are different forms of addiction, and they all cause pain and suffering.
For instance, my addiction is food. That’s right. I am a food addict. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. I know, because for many years, I stood alone in my kitchen and consumed vast quantities of very healthy, often organic food. And despite the fact that the food was healthy, I managed to eat my way to 330 pounds. That didn’t look quite as dramatic on a 6-foot 3-inch frame as it would on a shorter person, but there was nothing right about weighing that much. It nearly killed me, and each day I saw that form in the mirror, I suffered. Each time I hauled that body off the couch or out of bed, I suffered. Each time I stuffed my face with vast amounts of food, filled with remorse while I was doing it, I suffered. And nothing helped. Until I found my program.
I’m pleased to say that many fellow addicts have the same story, no matter what their addiction. There is hope, and there is recovery. It takes willingness and work, but it can happen. For those of you who don’t have this disease, but share the suffering and pain with those who do, perhaps you should join in Saturday’s walk. See the faces of recovery. It feels very, very good.
Registration will begin at 9 a.m. at Ferry Street and Joe DiMaggio Drive (the entrance to Waterfront Regional Shoreline Park). The first 450 registrants will receive a free t-shirt.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
1780 - American Revolutionary War: Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point
1867 - The "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial is published in the New York Sun.
1937 - J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is published.
1981 - Sandra Day O'Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.