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February 13, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
There's nothing cute or romantic about addiction. In this issue’s feature story, Vox profiles Angie Carter, a woman who opens up about the role the disease has played in her life. It started the day when, as a 14-year-old, she had her first drink and fell in love with alcohol. At the time, it felt like a real relationship to her.
The idea of loving alcohol or cocaine or gambling the same way you love a person is uncomfortable. It feels wrong. It’s inevitably destructive. But the description might be the best way to understand what it means to be an addict. This is why we chose to call her tale a love story.
Our staff had an ongoing conversation this week about how to present the feature, a story we’d slated for publication a month ago. The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman by heroin overdose thrust the topic into the forefront last week. Not to mention the countless people, whose names we’ll never know, who have lost their lives to addiction.
In the end, we decided to move forward with our original cover choice — addiction, a love story. It represents Angie’s journey through a dangerous love, and how a newfound love, for herself, led to a connection with her current husband and the escape from addiction’s grasp.
Angie shared her story in order to help others going through the internal conflict she overcomes every day. Despite addiction’s complexity, the outstretched hand of someone who’s survived it might be the best therapy. This was the case for Angie. She opened up to those around her. She got to live long enough to find out what it actually means to love. She’s almost 20 years sober, but accepts recovery as a lifelong process.
What’s remarkable about her story is the power it holds, simply in the retelling, for those ready to listen.