One of the things about adult medicine that frustrates me, is that many health problems are self inflicted. Many, certainly not all. Time, age, genetics, environmental factors...........all those play a part. But alcohol and tobacco really really really jack you up!!
In the past month, I've met a couple of patients who are alcoholics and are suffering from the effects of that disease. After a few days of hearing the same story in a different body, I began to get very very annoyed. Why on earth did people put themselves through this kind of pain? Why on earth did they even start only to find themselves so addicted and unable to stop? Why, really, why ? But then God started to work on me and remind me that I too have certain addictions. True, I'm addicted to neither alcohol nor tobacco, but how about blogs? books? cleaning my ears? food? And while the things I'm addicted to wont necessarily show up in physical manifestations and aren't inherently dangerous, they affect how I use my time, money, effort, thoughts, speech, world view etc.
So, I still get upset, angry even, when I see what abuse of substances do to a person. But I also remind myself, that people's stories and lives are more complex than their diseases. People don't just become alcoholics because they want to end up in liver failure neither do they become drug addicts because "well, why not?" Very often there are hurts and damages that go well beneath the surface and go way back in time. The substance abuse is often a huge and devastating symptom of a much darker and deeper problem. The thing is, knowing this doesn't make it easier to take or to understand. And it doesn't make it right. And it doesn't make the pain for the pt go away either.
Sometimes I hate these ambiguous thoughts/ideas/feelings that have no conclusions and no answers.