I joke with family and friends that I’m “addicted” to chocolate.
I need it. I crave it. I will make a separate trip to the gas station to buy it. I know who and where offers the best chocolate for the best price. When I see friends eating chocolate, I’m not too proud to beg.
If I don’t get my daily dose of chocolate, I am cranky, snippy, irritable and downright grouchy. As a true “chocoholic,” I take the time and find the money to feed my addiction. How common is this scenario when we are talking about alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers and potheads?
We can joke about my chocolate addiction because it is not life or death. It isn’t labeled with negative stigmas of weakness or lacking selfdiscipline. In fact, friends often gift me chocolate — my enablers — and my mom pretends I don’t search her house for some when I come to visit — denial. I’ve never been accused of criminal behavior associated with getting chocolate and I’ve never been referred to formal treatment.
Does all of this sound absurd when we are talking about a “chocoholic”? Does it sound absurd when we are talking about alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers and potheads?
Addiction is a disease. Addiction can be life or death. Addiction is full of emotions. Addiction can lead to strained relationships. People with addictions find ways to fill their needs, stop their cravings and cope with withdrawals until they can get their next fix. And with every addiction comes the possibility of recovery.
We must not be afraid to find out what addiction is all about. We have to be brave to identify who may have problems with addiction — whether it applies to our own drinking, your friend’s marijuana use, your parents’ smoking habit, or the friend of a friend whose kid was sent out of state for heroin treatment.
We must become aware of how the addiction is affecting ourselves, friends, families and community. We must be comfortable when we talk to our loved ones about their addictions. And why should we do this? Because every person with an addiction can find recovery.
We must look at addiction and say — “You will not win. You will not take another child, sister, brother, wife or husband from our families. You are not welcome in Sheboygan County and we will work together to build and support a Recovery Community that will demolish you.
” You can take a place in the new Recovery Community by celebrating National Recovery Month in September. Start with the Aug. 29 Addiction Awareness Community Event from 3 to 7 p.m. in Fountain Park. Guest speakers will be Stop Heroin Now, United We Can, Rise Together, and staff and residents from Pathways in Kiel.
Browse booths from local support programs and talk to people in longterm recovery. Contact Kelly with I Love My Addict Support Group at email@example.com for more information. Contact MaryAdele at firstname.lastname@example.org for more about addiction and other events in September.
—MaryAdele Revoy is the drug free community grant coordinator for the Family Resource Center of Sheboygan County.