Addictions and personal responsibility

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Dear Sir

James Cagney once played an investigative reporter who was a pain in some bad guys’ backsides. These gangsters found him leaving a bar, kidnapped him, dumped alcohol onto and into him and placed him in a moving vehicle that struck and killed some innocent citizens. The character was found guilty of murder and put into prison. This would probably not happen today. Our diligent defense lawyers would seemingly argue that the drunk did not have any idea what he or she was doing, and therefore was not responsible for any crimes committed.

Have you ever been under the influence, no matter the hit of choice, and done something horrible, crazy, stupid or ridiculous?

Many of us have indeed. Whether you favour alcohol, a syringe or pill, the feeling of not knowing what you have done is uncomfortable, perhaps even horrifying. Wake up in the morning, only to find your family or friends strangely staring at you?  You have to ask yourself questions like “what has happened, what have I done”? You could be considered a family clown or the community most wanted.

I have seen addicts do some strange things, all to redirect attention from themselves. Their privacy is assaulted once they have done whatever …!  Addicts are mostly solitary individuals, going on a journey they do not understand, or often even admit too. Addicts will often not admit to their addiction, their needs or personal weaknesses. Addicts are commonly liars supreme.

A struggle will be made to get an addict to admit to a need for help. Why ask, when there is nothing wrong right?

Addicts’ personal responsibility begins at the beginning and ends in their journey’s realization that they need help. During this process, it is those that care for and love these individuals who are responsible. Family, friends, neighbours and the community are the caregivers of these people, for there will be no others. It is “OUR Collective” responsibility to save these people. We are those who recognize their illness and act on their behalf.

See a drunk at the wheel, or someone stumbling about, call the cops right away. You could save a singular life or many too.

Losing their freedom for a while is better than having the ability to harm themselves or many others. The very seriousness of addiction should be central in our collective social minds.

I know of 17 individuals who have died of COVID-19, but I have seen many more suffer and die from the many addictions humanity suffers from. Be it a Brother, Sister to another. Often the only thing you will need to do is observe, listen and be wise.

Steven Kaszab

Bradford, Ontario

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