“There’s a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause.” – P.J. O’Rourke
“If you are thinking, you are winning.” – Flobots
The moment “heroin” or “a history of drug use” is added to any news story these days, the “Outlaw Narcan” people climb aboard that tired, one-trick pony and continue their ignorant and hateful cries for “Addict Genocide.”
I’ve extended an olive branch to those people on multiple occasions. It is my goal to return their hate with education and my own cry for compassion.
Ashlee and “Mac” have helped me, but probably not in the way you’d expect. I’ve been very clear about my desire to tell the “other side” of a story. In most cases I don’t know the individuals myself. I’m not trying to write their biographies.
I’m trying to help you think about things from another point of view.
This world can be a shit-show at times. You’d have to be blind, deaf and naïve to think otherwise.
However, PERSPECTIVE is so key. Educate yourself. Be involved. Don’t be apathetic. Nevertheless, pretty much everyone who has any kind of conscience also has a threshold of how much misery they can observe or endure before they have to shut off the news.
That’s okay. You’re human. You’re allowed to pause the “13th” Documentary on Netflix and watch “People are Amazing” videos on YouTube for a bit.
Catch your breath, because this isn’t going to be a fun one either.
Ashlee and Mac have MUCH bigger problems than drug use. They’ve shown me the limits of my compassion. I will always root for an underdog. I will do everything in my power to meet people where they are and try to share some hope.
Nevertheless, I am no saint. I draw the line at child abuse. Maybe someone with a bigger heart can defend their behavior, but I’m not that guy.
Ashlee injected her children (all age six and under) with her “feel good medicine” or “sleeping juice” either out of laziness, neglect, or simply because she was a sociopath who wanted to share a hobby with her children and happened to have extra heroin lying around. I doubt it.
“… even without the issue of heroin.” Bravo, Troyer. Bravo.
That’s the other part of this story that shows me these two are not a reliable depiction of substance abuse disorders. The majority of addicts are good at harming themselves but (in my personal experience) most of them would never actively harm another. Also… very few of them are eager to share their “happy serum” with anyone, let alone a child.
“Extra! Extra! Drug use turns everyone into demons!!”
Right. Sure. (But seriously, be careful injecting that “Marihuana” kids!! It could lead to “weird orgies” or all kinds of… shit, if there was anything valid here it would just start to sound like an enticing sales pitch.)
At least they got the “Not recommended for children” part right.
Here’s another “credible” headline for you…
“Farmville makes you kill babies.”
Ashlee is addicted to heroin. However, heroin didn’t turn her into a monster anymore than Farmville turned Alexandra into a baby murderer.
Do the millions of you who have ever gotten bored of picking pixelated pickles feel like she’s a good spokesperson for your group?
I’m using this as an example because I still have a very deep compassion and love for my brothers and sisters in recovery as well as those who suffer the hell of active addiction today.
The tale of Ashlee and “Mac” is not a heroin story. It’s a child abuse story.
I’m far from perfect. I’ve made mistakes that under the media microscope or a certain “spin” could have painted me in an entirely different light.
I’m all about personal accountability. I had to read about myself in the newspaper two years ago. I was listed under “Utah County’s Most Wanted” and had no idea. I drove someone else’s car four blocks, was arrested with $15 worth of drugs, and stole a Mamba from a gas station.
I walked into court two days later and turned myself in. The judge is an incredibly wise man and I will always be grateful to him.
I expected to be arrested that day but he just said, “oh, we had an old address. We just didn’t know where to find you. I’ll lift the warrant. Come back in a month so we can talk about it.”
However, if during my own struggle with addiction I had ever exposed or endangered my daughters directly because of my weakness, I would fully expect to be held responsible for my actions. I would have no valid objections if Child Services had deemed me an unfit father.
I have overdosed in a parked car before. By luck or fate, nobody had a camera on me and I was fortunate enough to wake up.
If I had overdosed while my little girls were in my care and I’d left them feeling unsafe or abandoned, the remorse would crush me for much longer than any jail would hold me for that crime.
Addiction can certainly bring out the worst in people. Logic goes out the window when someone feels like every cell in their body is screaming for relief or escape.
Nevertheless, if I had ever stuck a needle into my daughter’s veins in a malicious and deplorable pursuit of “peace and quiet,” well… I’d fully expect to be strung up in public by the testicles.
The contents of the needle wouldn’t be the most important factor of that story.
Child abuse is child abuse is child abuse.
I have nothing to say in your defense. Like I’ve said before; if you rape, molest, kick the dog for fun, beat women or kids, or derive personal pleasure from inflicting pain in the defenseless… I will not meet you as a friend. Physical restraint would be a hefty expectation.
There’s a reason you have to seek out protection in jail from us “addicts” who are there on non-violent offenses. Maybe the judge gave us “equal” time for our offenses but there’s a reason I spent my days reading, working out, and playing Spades while you spent your days looking over your shoulder for the next “blanket party.”
You deserve every miserable second of it. That is the difference between those with good hearts who struggle with substances and those actively harm others.
We know how to handle those situations in jail. I’ve seen thieves, alcoholics and addicts wrap up a child molester in a blanket and kick the living shit out of him. I may not have joined in but I didn’t feel a twinge of remorse about standing by and watching our form of inmate justice take place. It’s the same reason guards will respond a little bit slower to break-up those fights.
Trying to find optimism and perspective doesn’t mean you are ignorant or apathetic to the problems of the world. It simply means that you prefer working toward a solution instead of wasting time moaning about the problem or throwing your hands up in resignation.
Farmville didn’t drive that woman to brutal infanticide. Heroin doesn’t make people abuse children. The biggest difference between those stories is that Farmville wasn’t considered an “epidemic” and people weren’t forced to play it in hiding because of shame or the fear of collective hatred.
Yes, there are people who suffer from addiction and also do terrible things. They are a small portion of the recovery community but unfortunately get the most media exposure.
Yes, people need to take ownership of their actions and should be responsible for cleaning up their messes. Absolutely. That’s why virtually every 12-step, SMART, religious, new age or even medical path to recovery also involves “making amends” in some form.
Yes, I am certainly aware that these news stories and situations could have played out DRASTICALLY better without the involvement of drugs. That’s not my point.
Yep. We get it. We are all very aware of that fact.
My point is that there is a clear line in the sand. Millions of Americans struggle with addiction. Millions more are living their own hell by watching an addict they love.
I still believe in the goodness of the world. I believe recovery and redemption are possible. I believe that most people with addictions never set out to cross that line between losing themselves and actively harming others.
If there’s something in your life that has you flirting with that line, maybe today is your day. Don’t wait until you wake up to find your face on the news, blood on your bumper, a dead child, or somebody’s face digesting in your stomach.
It begins with those three magic words…
“I need help.”