Deserving What You Get

Common scenario in my home when the four grandchildren are over.  One of them takes a toy from the other and in running away, falls. Both are crying but the one whose toy was taken calls out, “That’s what you get!”

Surprisingly (or maybe not), it’s a common sentiment among adults.  If you do something wrong and suffer consequences, then you deserve it. As if the consequences in themselves aren’t enough, we have others there to remind us of the way in which we contributed. I can hear the high-pitched sound even now, “That’s what you getttttt!”

Recently, I’ve found myself getting caught up in news pieces on social media regarding drug addiction and overdoses.  The comments make it clear that anyone who dies from a drug addiction deserves it.   

Just don’t take the drugs and you won’t have to worry about an overdose. Honestly, I wish it were that easy. And I pray that no family will have to go through the pure hell of watching a loved one spiral down this messy, life-sucking, monster. 

Just over a year ago we buried a relative who struggled with drug addiction. Last month we buried another relative who yes, struggled with the same addiction but was also clearly overmedicated. Seven different prescriptions from ONE doctor, and an additional four from another.

We are still waiting for toxicology results.  And what has made this harder to grasp is that our loved one had finally started overcoming the addiction. He was doing so well.  But he was also taking medications that slow down your heart, along with him having a weight problem and sleep apnea. So, the jury’s still out on what was the actual cause of his death.

I make no excuses for either relative who struggled. However, I do give leeway to my nephew, who was introduced to drugs by his very own father…while he was in high school.  Young. Impressionable.  Devoted to his dad (not having the realization of his toxicity). 

Sadly, he’s now gone. And our family remains at the edge of our seat, hoping and praying for his brother to not be the next one.  Watching someone almost literally die before your eyes is draining.  Ugly. Hurtful. Frustrating.

It doesn’t have to be drug addiction. There can be other ways that we think (if we don’t say out loud), “That’s what you get.” 

Sometimes I feel like compassion is missing—even in Christian circles.  Judging the situation and determining that all consequences are deserved. Neglecting to recognize the pain and devastation that others suffer in these terrible circumstances.

My family has been absolutely shattered. While we yet grieve this tremendous loss, we pray fervently for there not to be another casualty.

I fully recognize and accept that consequences are part of choices in life. Whether it’s the young woman who chose to abort her baby.  The man who strayed from his marriage, or the teenager who injected himself with heroin. But let our compassion become greater than our judgment.   

10 thoughts on “Deserving What You Get

  1. My father used to point out various people who were harming themselves in some way. His comment was always the same “But by the Grace of God, there go I” and we would talk how many ways it could be us.

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    1. Once upon a time I was one of those who, while sympathetic, would look down on those who’d ‘allowed’ themselves to become addicted to alcohol and illicit drugs. However, upon learning that serious life trauma, notably adverse childhood experiences, is very often behind the addict’s debilitating addiction, I began to understand ball-and-chain self-medicating:

      The greater the drug-induced euphoria/escape one attains from its use, the more one wants to repeat the experience; and the more intolerable one finds their sober reality, the more pleasurable that escape should be perceived. By extension, the greater one’s mental pain or trauma while sober, the greater the need for escape from reality, thus the more addictive the euphoric escape-form will likely be.

      The lasting mental pain resulting from trauma is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is prescription and/or illicitly medicated.

      The preconceived erroneous notion addicts are simply weak-willed and/or have committed a moral crime is, fortunately, gradually diminishing. Also, we now know that Western pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed their very addictive and profitable opiates — I call it the real moral crime — for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting immense suffering and overdose death numbers.


      1. I really love that you shared this. We are so quick to judge someone’s choices without considering what let up to them. And I completely agree with your statement about Western pharmaceutical corporations pushing their drugs. That’s created the biggest epidemic and yet, they get away with it. There was no reason that my nephew should have been on 7 different prescription medications, especially two that slow down your heart rate. It’s absolutely as you call it, the real moral crime. Thanks for commenting!

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      2. I’m on at least that number of licit chemicals; my own mini pharmacy; started in 1987. Big Pharma definitely does NOT want to lose me! …

        Neglecting people dealing with debilitating drug addiction should never have been an acceptable or preferable political option. But the callous politics typically involved with addiction funding/services likely reflect conservative electorate opposition, however irrational, towards making proper treatment available to low- and no-income addicts.

        It’s as though some people, however precious, can tragically be consciously or subconsciously considered disposable — especially by government bean-counters — because they are debilitatedly addicted to drugs. Then those people may begin perceiving themselves as worthless and consume their addictive substances more haphazardly. …

        Emotional/psychological trauma from unhindered toxic abuse, for example, usually results in a helpless child’s brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it can act as a starting point into a life in which the brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines.

        Though I have not been personally affected by the opioid addiction/overdose crisis, I myself have suffered enough unrelenting ACE-related hyper-anxiety to have known, enjoyed and appreciated the great release upon consuming alcohol and/or THC. …

        Often societally overlooked is that intense addiction usually does not originate from a bout of boredom, where a person repeatedly consumed recreationally but became heavily hooked — and homeless, soon after — on an unregulated often-deadly chemical that eventually destroyed their life and even those of loved-ones.

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      3. Sometimes I believe it’s a lack of empathy or compassion for others that makes it difficult for some people to truly understand the nature of addiction. You’ve shared a lot of information that I hope will help others see this in a new light.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your family’s story, Stephanie. To be more fully informed is to be less judgmental, and in a position to be more helpful. That painting of an addict and Jesus is riveting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love how you worded that. To be fully informed IS to be less judgmental! I’m going to remember that. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. And yes, I agree about the painting. It’s so powerful and shows us how much Jesus is right there with us.

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