I watched my beautiful, extremely intelligent, loving 26-year old daughter, Brittany Hallett, die from alcohol addiction….I’ve witnessed the power of addiction up close and very personal…..My daughter was a good person who certainly did not deserve to die.
The “It’s a Choice!” school of thought actually perpetuates addiction in our society. People hear that addiction is a choice, which implies that they will be in control of choosing when they want to stop. This flawed way of thinking is how so many millions of people all over the world get hooked on different substances every single day. Sure, the first time they consume a drug, including the legal drug of alcohol, was a choice to take that first pill or drink, but they mistakenly assume that they will know when to stop before becoming addicted. They truly believe that they are smart enough to be able to stop whenever they “choose” to. It’s only after they’ve become addicted that they finally realize that it isn’t “a choice” from that day forward. People who believe that it remains a choice, are probably the most vulnerable to fall victim to the disease of addiction. In the history of mankind, no one ever believed that they themselves would ever become addicted to anything….no one would ever choose to live their lives in that hellish agony that could and very often times does take their very life away from them.
Sure… that first time or two consuming their substance of choice, was a choice. Maybe they were drinking alcohol with their friends and family just as millions of people do every day. Not everyone becomes addicted, but there is no formula to predict who will become addicted or when. People often start for emotional reasons to reduce stress, to alleviate depression or to just simply “not feel” their strain from their personal problems….which society has deemed normal to do. Or maybe they get prescribed a pain-killer for a legitimate injury and accidentally become addicted to it through no fault of their own. This can also lead to illegal drugs such as heroin when the doctor cuts them off from their addictive pain killers. Once addicted, the overwhelming urge to have more can become even stronger than self-preservation. If they can’t get their drug from their doctor anymore, they often times will resort to finding a cheaper and more accessible illegal drug to temporarily relieve their withdrawals and urges.
Even those that make that first choice to use an illegal drug before they’ve already become addicted, that choice can quickly spiral into not being able to choose to stop anymore. Many people make a bad choice to take that first pill or to drink that first alcoholic drink for a variety of possible reasons that usually stems from emotional feelings. Maybe they give in to peer-pressure because they just want to fit in. Maybe they feel that they need something to help “loosen them up” because they are introverted or shy, so they try it so they can find a way to fit in. Maybe they are dealing with extreme stressors that are overwhelming to them. Or maybe they are dealing with sadness, depression or anxiety that they find can be temporarily relieved by taking a pill or drinking alcohol. Or maybe they just simply like the temporary “happy” feeling they get from partying with others who also have been taking drugs or alcohol. Whatever got them started….even if it was a bad initial choice to experiment with something new…..who among us has never made a bad choice in our lives! Do they really deserve to die, because of that naive choice they once made!
Once the addiction kicks in, it truly is no longer “just a choice” to stop. Sure….it does take extreme will-power to be able to overcome the powerful urges of addiction, but that is not just a simple choice to stop consuming. It is a life-long powerful struggle that will be with them for the rest of their life. Even decades later, they can still fall victim to succumbing to the powerful urges that have haunted them for years.
The hateful comments about people addicted to drugs or alcohol that I see so often come from people far worse than the people they profess to hate.
My daughter had insurance that would not get her the long term inpatient treatment that she needed to save her life. If she had had cancer, she might have had a fighting chance.
November 5th was the 3-year anniversary of the day of her death. It feels like yesterday and it feels like hundreds of years ago since we lost my sweet baby girl. I miss her with every single breath I take. Here is a face lost to addiction to alcohol…..She’s not just a statistic…..She was my loving baby girl.