Another One Bites the Dust

cory-monteith

(May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013)

Yesterday’s confirmation that Corey Monteith’s cause of death was from heroin and alcohol was sad but perhaps not entirely surprising, given his battle with addiction and stint in rehab earlier this year. His death has widely been reported as ‘accidental’ – an interesting word choice for someone who chose to dice with a hit of heroin. Tragic, a massive loss and untimely, yes. But accidental?

We have no intention of musing over the repercussions of Corey’s death on his partner Lea or his family, nor on what the future holds for Glee, the hit TV show he was such an integral part of. Our focus is on addiction amongst our young generation: the who, what and why.

Facebook and Twitter have been ablaze with ‘Down with Hollywood’ slurs over the past few days, reminding us that Corey is just one of many stars to fall prey to the substance abuse whirlwind that is the fame game. Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson are just a few of the more recent stars who have suffered a similar fate.

Whilst it’s easy to point the blame precariously towards the bright lights of a Hollywood lifestyle, it has to be said that perhaps we’re all rather missing the point… It may not be covered in the column inches, but families all over the world are losing loved ones to addiction every single day. This problem is by no means confined to the walls of Tinsel Town.

The UK currently holds the crown for the highest amount of young female alcoholics in Europe. Something seems to have gone rotten in the state of Great Britain… Why are we bright, vivacious young women (and men) with everything to live for, copping out and living in a false reality of substance abuse, chaos and comedowns?

It seems that wherever one stands on the perceived social hierarchy of life, there are some of us who struggle to find a sense of peace. Why do we use substances after all? They are referred to as ‘mind-altering’ for the simple fact that they do exactly what it says on the tin. They alter our minds. We use them as an escape, as relief from emotional pain, to feel something heightened and euphoric, to fill a void or to find serenity.

If the downfall of Hollywood starlets can tell us anything at all, isn’t it that we humans are all the same? No matter how grandiose our situation might seem, we can all feel depressed, overwhelmed, hopeless, less than, hurt and insecure. And many of us are alike in our desire to seek a quick fix that can numb those feelings, for a short time at least.

Addiction lies at the more serious end of a scale of behaviour that most of us young’uns indulge in regularly – certainly on weekends anyway. Snorting lines in grotty bar toilets, drinking ourselves into oblivion after a tough working week, waking up with complete blackout sans phone and stiletto heel.

Not everyone who uses substances will become an addict, but you can be sure that all addicts started by using substances in a way most of us consider to be socially normal… until it progressed and spiralled out of control.

The harsh reality? Drink, drugs (or any negative addictive behaviour) provide temporary relief but cause long-term damage. There’s no two ways about it. If you can think of any positive things that come from substance abuse do let us know, as we’re yet to discover them…

A sobering thought:

As Addictive Daughters ourselves, we both realised that almost all of the drama and regrettable events that happened to us occurred were when we were under the influence of a substance. Think about this in terms of your own experiences.

Isn’t it time our generation started to seek a different way to process our problems?

We’re not able to offer a quick-fix alternative.

But we do believe firmly in getting ‘addicted to the good stuff’ – in detoxing all aspects of life so you can be the best you possibly can.

Let’s be honest, it takes work, but boy oh boy is it worth the effort.

Day by day, to be moving further away from old toxic and self-sabotaging ways and towards your future with focus, purpose and a solid support network around you makes it a journey worth embarking on.

Here are some of Addictive Daughter’s home grown tips that helped us shun substance silliness:

1) Get honest about your reasons for substance use.

Do you struggle with confidence in social situations?

Do you feel depressed and need the boost it provides?

Do you use it to escape uncomfortable or painful feelings?

Do you do it simply because everyone else does?

Do you do it because it’s fun? If so, why you aren’t able to access that feeling in your normal headspace?

Any other reason?

Everyone will have their personal reasons for wanting to alter their mental state. Once you identify your own, you are one step closer to overcoming the habit.

2) Look at your substance use habits.

What do you use and how often?

If there is a particular habit you have a nagging feeling might be getting a little out of control, try the test:

Go out in your normal social environment where you use this substance and don’t use it.

Consider this an experiment and you the guinea pig (fun!)

Observe how you fared without it.

Did you have to break the rules and indulge?

Did you manage it but found yourself feeling awkward and miserable?

Your experience will tell you a lot about how dependent you are psychologically on the substance, if not yet physically addicted.Don’t ignore the signs – take action before things get any worse.

3) Look at your social circle.

The people you spend time with often play a large role in addictive behaviours.

How did yours respond to your experiment? Were they respectful? Or did they rip the piss out of you (and secretly feel threatened) that you were trying something different? Remember, just because you may not be the worst in your group doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue with your own use. There is always, always someone worse than you!

An important step is to tell the people around you about the shifts you plan on making in your life. It’ll quickly become clear which friends will be happy and supportive of any lifestyle changes you make and who wants to make your life difficult. The latter mentioned are not real friends. Friends want the best for you, they shouldn’t hold you back or insist on dragging you down to their level.

Who you gonna call…?

Visit our mentoring page to find out more about working with us one-on-one and getting your shit together.

If you have reached a point where you feel intervention may be necessary, talk to Frank.

Find out more about fellowships AA and NA.

The tragic thing is that Corey Monteith is just one of the many young people who have lost their lives to addiction. Cory, like any other class-A drug addict, would not have started on heroin – he would have started with alcohol and other gateway drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy or cocaine. If there’s anything we can take away from this sad time it’s that every addiction starts somewhere – substance use is progressive as tolerance builds and the regularity of use increases. We need to become aware as a generation how booze and drugs often become a crutch socially and soon enough, many struggle to function without them.

We ladies can’t keep hiding behind the ‘I’m not as bad as she is’ and ‘everybody’s doing it’ excuses – it’s time for each of us to take responsibility for our wiley ways. On a personal note, we both reached a definitive point where the positives of getting drunk and getting high were far outweighed by the negatives (blackouts, not knowing where or with whom we were waking up and feelings of shame and shittiness as whole days were written off to come-downs.) We set upAddictive Daughter with the aim to help others get aware and take action much sooner before the issues got so bad that rehab or tragedy would become viable outcomes.

With one set of our parents as former heroin addicts (now thankfully 10 years sober), Corey’s passing is a reminder of the seriousness of dicing with drugs and how easily one thing can lead to another.

Let’s start facing reality so that we can live our precious lives to the full.

Persia and Joey x