How Do We Fight Addiction? Together

Demi Lovato / YouTube

Like many of you, I’m still reeling from the Demi Lovato news. When I found out about her apparent overdose, it shook me to my absolute core. I knew in the aftermath there would be countless tweets of support, articles of love written, and Instagram post of happier times shared throughout the internet. Which there was. But it was the what was written in the comments section of those posts that infuriated me enough to write this.

I know, I know, I broke the number 1 rule of the internet that you should never read the comments section. This day in age there could be a video of puppies playing in a field with butterflies on a beautiful summer day and someone would still find something negative to say about it. It’s the world we live in. I don’t know what made me scroll down to the comments and read in horror but here I was reading things like:

“Oh look another rich privileged junkie celebrity we are supposed to care about again..”

Or

“This girl can afford anything in the world how could she not be happy?”

Between the beautiful words of encouragement and well wishes there were comments after comments that sadly followed this trend:

She’s beautiful, rich, famous and talented…how could she possibly not be happy?

Addiction has been so intensely researched and studied its mind-boggling to me that people still think that fame, status or how much money you have in your bank account can magically shield you from this manipulative twisted disease. I will type these words a billion times all over the internet and scream it from the rooftops if I have to:

ADDICTION AND MENTAL ILLNESS DO NOT DISCRIMINATE.

It doesn’t care where you came from. If you are rich or poor. Black or white. Gay or straight. It can affect anyone.

I went to rehab when I was 20 years old. I came from a good town and have a good family. I had gotten a scholarship and was living out my dream of playing lacrosse at a top 20 Division I school. I was on top of my game.. and I was the unhappiest I have ever been in my life.

Years of secret various addictions finally led to the breaking point and my rock bottom. Then came the treatments. Inpatient, outpatient, groups, counseling. Then just like Demi Lovato, the relapses.

Relapses are excruciating. But sadly, they are part of the disease. This isn’t Demi’s first relapse and it might not be her last. But that reality doesn’t mean you should be any less supportive of her or anyone who has fallen off the wagon.

Why am I sharing this? Because I think sharing our stories is crucial and paramount to breaking bias and having genuine human connection (the common theme of most of my articles on this website.)

Sending a tweet in support of Demi Lovato’s recovery is great. Instagramming an old video from one of her concerts you enjoyed is sweet. But I urge everyone to try to do a little more. If someone is talking down on an addict around you, try to remind them it’s a disease. If your friend is throwing the term “junkie” around carelessly caution them the power words can have. Make minor yet impactful changes in your daily life to show support of Demi and the legacy she is building for mental health awareness.

Demi’s overdose relapse has been felt around the world. She is a light for so many and to see that light dim in pain hurts all of us. It is especially felt by her fellow brothers and sisters fighting addiction who know one action can make everything tumble down so fast.

Let’s fight this horrible disease together. You’ve got this Demi. TC mark

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Image Credit: Demi Lovato / YouTube

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