Right now, a drug addict paces in the ER, so desperate for a fix that COVID-19 holds no terror for them.
Right now, some sick person is waiting too long for an ambulance because two paramedics are running up to an addict’s apartment to Narcan them for the third time this month.
Right now, an addict is spamming one of their doctors’ overloaded phone lines with demands for prescriptions.
That addict could be me.
It’s been more than eight years since I got clean. Since I experienced the magic mix of luck, grace, privilege, and yes, hard work too, that helped me (so far) beat the odds.
If I were still deep in my addiction right now, I could do any of the things I’m thinking about. It would feel like a matter of survival to get the drugs I needed, and the threat of deadly illness to myself and others would feel very far away.
Someone who routinely takes a handful of pills they know might kill them isn’t exactly dialed in to any logic of self-preservation, let alone consideration of others.
I’m not doing anything great in the pandemic so far. I don’t work in an essential business like health care or food acquisition. I’m one of the many whose most useful contribution is to stay the fuck home and take really good care of myself to minimize the chances of getting sick, or having to go the ER for any other reason.
But at least I’m doing that instead of being an active liability. And if all I’ve accomplished in the past eight years is just developing the ability to be less of an asshole at a time like this, I’ll take it.