The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for addiction is bending your pointer finger into a hook and tugging at the side of your mouth.* In effect, it’s a wry way of saying “you’re hooked.” Deaf culture–and its humor–amaze me and I can’t help but smile back. I do appreciate its bluntness.
I support families and individuals behind the scenes who deal with addiction, among other things. I help children reunify with their families, parents reunify with their kids. I help with high level administrative work, low level trench work and all the inbetween mundane tasks. The families and children will never meet me, will never know the battles I fight for them over funding or what I do to make sure they receive second chances. I prefer it that way. If I could blend into the very wallpaper I would, especially if it helped lessen distraction. Just let me work and throw me a cookie every so often; others can do the touchy feely. Am I right, INTJs?
Whenever I encounter addiction, I try to suspend myself from drawing conclusions. I fight against my brain that automatically wants to reason, as it wants so desperately to understand and to figure out a black and white solution quickly. I know this isn’t possible and is fringing on a type of harmful pride. I’ll also be mostly wrong without knowing all of the data, as every addiction story is different and nuanced. Judging others so rashly, even if your intentions are benign, is like investing into a bank about to go belly up. There’s no return and you look like an imbecile.
I have an extremely difficult time understanding addiction. INTJs, including myself, like things to make sense. They want people to make sense. And addiction does not make sense. It is a snare that sinks its teeth in and doesn’t let go easily, if at all. Many argue it’s a disease, one with a genetic basis. The thought wearies and bewilders me. However we approach addiction, it’s a journey best done together. You never go into war alone.
The human struggle is universal. We are all weak and fragile, albeit to different things. Let’s reflect that in our writing, shared with the humility that we might just not understand it all.
*See ASL video here.