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Drug Addicts in TV shows

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Technology' started by Devil Dave, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. Chip

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    This is probably a function of not having had much interaction with folks with substance use disorders, and/or from seeing stereotypes or reading news stories. The majority of people with SUDs are harmless. And there are plenty of people not on any drug or alcohol who are angry and potentially violent.

    Of course it makes sense to assess situations and keep oneself safe above all else. And at the same time, when we let go of the judgmental language and perspectives, it opens up compassion.
     
  2. Rin311

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    I've been told countless times as a kid that "drugs are bad", and being a "good kid", I listened. Didn't help much when I had to deal with a huge load of self-hatred, internalized homophobia and rejection by my parents. The shitty part about drugs is that they really help. For a while, all the noise gets shut down and you can breathe. But then it comes back, so you have to do it all over again. That's how I got addicted - not because I didn't know better, but because I was a suicidal depressed 14 years old who was too sheltered and too depressed to have any other outlets and no way to change the situation I was in.
    The way drug addiction is depicted in TV is usually not very realistic. They don't tell you that you need to learn a lot and change a lot, and that years later, you still need to start every day by deciding, again, that today you will not use, and try your best to stick to that decision. And they don't tell you how judgemental people are when it comes to these things.
    "Beautiful Boy" does a good job telling the story. But it's too big a story for most TV shows to handle well, I think.
     
  3. Devil Dave

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    I stepped away from this thread for a while because I was getting a bit emotional and heated. Glad to see the conversation has calmed down.

    I definitely needed to distance myself from that situation, because it was getting to the point where I was fantasising about arming myself and hurting the people who were harassing me. And I hate feeling that way, it's not worth sticking with a job where you picture yourself being violent. I went to that job in the first place, telling the employers that I want to provide a valuable service and develop a good relationship with my local community, and then I found myself living in fear of my community with none of my employers being willing or able to back me up.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I think one reason I find drug addiction stories in TV shows unappealing is because it is treated as a side story that lasts for a few episodes, and we don't really get to feel what the characters are going through. They use, become addicted for a few minutes, have a near fatal experience, then get "cured" and go back to normal. And this is while other story lines are happening at the same time. Either that, or drug addiction is depicted as a "bit of fun" that gets out of hand, and it gets resolved when the good guys beat up the drug dealers. That's probably not the most sensitive and responsible way to tackle drug issues in a work of fiction.
     
  4. Rin311

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    You got placed in a very difficult situation. No workplace should expose its employees to violence or threatening behavior, and you're totally right in being pissed off about that (anyone would).
    Alongside that... please try to have some empathy towards those people. No one wakes up one day and decides their goal in life is to become enslaved to a drug, involved in crime, and hated by everyone. Being in active addiction is the worst experience I've ever had - and I've been through a lot of shitty experiences. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. In between those moments of euphoria you get moments of clarity, in which you understand and see what you've become, and hate yourself for it... but because you're stuck where you are, and you have zero healthy coping methods, the only thing you can do about it is keep running and get high again. One of the worst things, once you start recovery, is facing the monster in the mirror and dealing with having hurt all those people and done so many immoral things to support your habit. I have no doubt those people you've met know what they've done and feel bad over it. Take care.
     
    #24 Rin311, Mar 3, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2020
  5. Rin311

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    And I totally agree with you on the way TV shows present addiction. It's not a few-minutes-long-problem, and you don't really get "cured", but they sure like presenting things as if that's the way it is. It's stupid and annoying.
     
  6. Loves books

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    Greys Anatomy has Amelia Shepherd. She was addicted to drugs and she’s a recovering alcoholic. Her story started in the spin off Private Practice. Richard Webber is also a recovering alcoholic. There are storylines based on their addictions throughout the show.
     
  7. Devil Dave

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    I think alcoholism is handled slightly different from drug addiction. Drugs are normally acquired from dirty dealings or by some sinister means. Alcoholic drinks are something people can just buy from a pub or shop without breaking any laws. It's also quite common to see comedic references to alcohol in movies and TV shows.
     
  8. Chip

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    Again, no offense, but this is a completely ignorant and judgmental statement. I don't mind educating people, but I really wish people would consider the hurt and harm of what they are saying when they're displaying their ignorance.

    Alcohol use disorder ("alcoholism" is an outdated term) is fundamentally identical to other substance use disorders.

    A very large portion of opiate use disorders start with opiates prescribed for dental work, broken limbs, recovery from surgery, and the like. Likewise, a huge portion of amphetamine use disorders arise from prescribed use of amphetamines commonly used in treatment of ADHD. Or, in other cases, from someone offering a pill to someone with a headache (in the case of opiates) or needing to study for an exam (in the case of Ritalin or Adderal.) Same with benzodiazepines.

    The "dirty dealings" and "sinister behavior" almost never starts out that way. The judgment just oozes from your description of this, and is incredibly offensive to those who are struggling with these disorders.

    Those who are prone to dependency may not even realize what's happening at first, and then usage increases... and doctors may initially merrily refill... or people may go to a second doctor to get a second prescription.

    So the idea that "alcohol is something you can buy without breaking any laws"... the exact same thing is true of the majority of drug addictions. Oxycontin is almost indistinguishable, chemically, from heroin. Methamphetamine is nearly identical to ritalin. It's easy to pretend that you're somehow better or different than people who have become dependent on drugs, but if you had the predisposition to addiction, and were prescribed Vicodin for a broken leg... you'd soon enough be doing the "dirty dealings" in order to meet your needs. Your judgment of others is, quite frankly, incredibly fucked up.

    As for alcohol... the overwhelming majority of people who become dependent on alcohol do so before they are of legal age to drink. So as far as your argument that those people are "not breaking any laws"... well, that's just bullshit. Underage consumption of alcohol is no different than illegal diversion of prescribed medication or, for that matter, buying illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin. It might also interest you to know that treating alcohol use disorder for someone with a serious problem is actually far more complicated and risky than treating someone with opiate or stimulant use disorder; a significant number of people with AUD die during detox each year; almost no one dies of opiate detox. And it is quite possible to die from alcohol intoxication, though the death rate is lower than, say, injected use of opiates, for the simple reason that our bodies have the capacity to expel orally consumed alcohol, reducing what would otherwise be an obscenely high death rate from alcohol overconsumption.

    I really hope that people reading this take away the idea that judging those with substance use disorders does nothing except make the person doing the judging feel better about him or herself at the expense of others. No one wants or plans to be an addict. No one who is in the throes of an SUD doesn't wish they'd never started, that they could just stop, or that it was as simple as "talking to their doctor" or "just saying no" or anything of the sort.

    The truth is, no one can know for sure if they are at risk for developing an SUD until they do. We can make educated guesses, for example, by looking at familial history of addiction, significant trauma early in life, severe mental health issues on the part of parents early in life, and similar factors. And we know also, for example, that anyone who has 'blacked out' from overconsumption of alcohol is at severe risk for alcohol use disorder, because the same gene that causes blackout is highly correlated to alcohol dependence. (Those without that gene won't black out.) But outside of those factors, no one can reliably predict. And just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean that it could not happen to you in the future.

    So showing some kindness and compassion for those who are less fortunate than you are might be sensible.
     
  9. Devil Dave

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    I appreciate all the knowledge you are sharing, but I am talking about in the context of fictional TV shows.
     
  10. Chip

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    Interesting attempt to reframe things, but if you look at your earlier posts, especially where you were talking about your own situation, and getting emotional and heated, I don't think you can credibly make that argument. And even if you are, much of what you said does not apply to fictional TV shows, as many of them are getting very realistic in the way they portray the problems.
     
  11. Kyrielles

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  12. Kyrielles

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    :green_heart::green_heart::green_heart: