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all of my patients are physically dependent on opioids. ICD 10 F11.20. some of them are addicted to opioids. a lot of them aren’t.

maybe you’re physically dependent on something. for which there is no ICD 10 code. caffeine, zoloft, dopamine, adrenaline. maybe you’re addicted. coffee, zoloft, social media, shopping, toxic relationships, speeding, gossip, little debbie Christmas tree cakes, work, success, sex, HGTV.

maybe you think I’m being cute. or metaphorical. just making a point. no one goes to rehab for gossip addiction (maybe they should). no one goes to jail for possession of little debbie Christmas tree cakes (maybe no one should go to jail for possession of anything. maybe the jails are a crime)

addiction is an escape from the pain of being human. being human is more painful for some than others. but it is painful for all of us. and if someone tells you it isn’t, that is because they are so deep in their addiction, they have lost touch entirely.

eve and adam ate that apple and it all went to shit, you see. our eyes were opened and sickness and pain and toil entered the stage. we all fell down, down, down. and ever since, we have very logically sought to numb the pain of it. because there is no way up, up, up. not in this life anyway.

we are afraid. to hope, to love, to ask for love, to speak our truth, to share our pain, to need or be needed, to want or be wanted. we are afraid to take up space and that we might disappear, to be silenced and to be heard, to be alone and that we might make a genuine connection. we are afraid we are unlovable and that to be loved would be the most unbearable pain imaginable. or perhaps, worse than that, ecstasy.

in addiction we connect with other people. no we don’t. we are with people and we are less lonely and so we think we are connecting. logical. understandable. but let me tell you a story about the time my friends let G die when he overdosed because they were high too and didn’t want to get in trouble and i knew they loved drugs more than they loved me or each other. and the time i went back to my dopamine adrenaline filled emotional intimacy free relationship because right at that moment i loved it more than my kids and i do not want to tell you that but how else can we do better?

and they told me my son played next to other children but not with other children and that he was too old for parallel play. but tell me how much time adults spend engaging with other people and not engaging next to other people? are we connecting spiritually or are we churching next to one another? and those residents we work 90 hours a week with that we save and lose lives with, do we know them at all? and so pass the pipe and hand me that spoon and we will share a hit of Netflix and yoga and pumpkin spice latte next to one another in this Fallen World.

there is no ICD 10 code for the unbearable lightness of being but maybe there should be