Euthanasia Should be a Choice
This is controversial but hear me out. I have been dealing with a family member who is an alcohol addict (has been for years) and it has really opened my eyes to the type of hell addiction entails as well as the hopelessness of some people who just don’t want to live anymore.
We all come into this world with various baggage that piles on over the years. Not everyone is going to have a good life and not everyone is suffering. Yet, many live lives that through circumstances, family issues and other varying factors become unbearable to a point where you just want the pain to end. This in a way is what people who die by suicide want – for the pain to end. It’s very easy to say that we need to live content lives and look for the good in the bad etc. and not let things get you down. Fact of the matter is – life can be a bitch. I can say this with absolute conviction – not because I want to kill myself but because I know how painful life can be – especially when it’s not shit that you have brought upon yourself. Many children today suffer for the sins of their parents – and we do not have regulated parenting. I personally believe parenting should come with a licence coz children have no choice in choosing to be born or who their parents are. Yet they suffer with varying issues because a lot of people unconsciously pass on their baggage to their children.
In this situation, where the suffering in life has been long and due to various setbacks; addiction is an escape for many. Addiction is truly a fucking nightmare. It rules your life, it creeps up on you. The damn thing is genetic – but no one is talking about it coz we are too busy worrying about a bloody caste of farmers and a religion of temples without actually checking a person’s medical history. That should give you what you need to know – addictions, illnesses, family histories of behaviour etc. But no, the superficial trumps the scientific – fantasy fiction a la South Asia where everyone is from a “good family”.
Sri Lanka has no rehab centres for alcoholics. It has counselling. Majority alcoholics in Sri Lanka are men. Have you ever tried taking a man for counselling or asked him if he is comfortable with it? I don’t need to tell you how bloody patriarchal this society is. It’s so toxic and men are suffering and dying daily – paying the price of boru pada shows and feigned strength while dying inside. But no. We must maintain the façade / status quo / family name blah blah. Sure – I hope the family name can save you from your gut spilling out coz of the ethanol burning through it daily. I hope the status quo would ensure that you die in one shot when in reality alcohol addiction will make you suffer worse than carrion and prolong it as you die – slowly, painfully. And the truth is – you will be the one wielding the spear that wounds enough to cause infection, gangrene and eventual septic rot.
And when you talk to the person – they don’t want to live anymore. They want to die – and especially men who are older. What do you say to them? There is a rainbow waiting for you when you hit 80 years? The truth is that most addicts succumb and die. Precious few are saved. Which is why prevention is crucial. And this country has zero accountability or acceptance by the alcohol distillers and the promoters of such beverages. Heck yes – I drink. But now – I am very mindful coz now I know I have family history. Which means I am more susceptible than others. And no – addiction doesn’t give a damn about your gender – whichever you choose. It is a singular most all consuming curse that you can bring upon yourself.
And so in this scenario – would you still say that people who want to die should be forced to live? What of choice? Switzerland has an organisation called Dignitas where if you are terminal, you can choose to end your life with less suffering than you would have had you lived. The movie ‘Me Before You’ features something similar. Portugal passed the Assisted Suicide Bill for certain circumstances. It’s a Catholic country. So would you still hold religion or humanity when you watch someone you love suffer because their demons are too great for them to fight anymore? Or their bodies are too broken for them to live happily? Do you know how many doctors have said they would gladly euthanise the patient because they can see how much they are suffering? Suffering may be the doctrine you believe in but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Personally, I have informed my family that if I am on life support – brain dead – donate my organs and pull the plug. If I am terminal – I would consider Dignitas. I am not living like that. And that is my choice. It is a very hard thought and hard fought one. I will not be subjected to the humiliation of an undignified death. That is not anyone’s choice – it is mine. And I will deal with whatever maker / force / God out there. Again, that choice is mine.
And so I am asking – because I can see the pain my family member is going through – and though I would gladly give a kidney to save him, I can’t. His pain is too far ingrained and he is not of a mindset to accept counselling or therapy – should Euthanasia be a choice? Unfortunately, there is no painless death for an alcohol addict. So in this scenario – I am basically having to tell myself that I will watch this person slowly drown himself and kill himself painfully and with great suffering. I can assure you there is no greater hell than this.
As much as one would love to believe in God and Karma and whatever forces there are – I have no faith in anything anymore. I understand actions and reactions and I understand the forces of the universe. I have no hope for miracles – that died when my aunt died 8 years ago. Yes, I have experienced what could be termed miracles but these are not conjured at my calling – they are given when the universe decides. It is not at any church, congregation or cult. It never was.
And so I ask you today – to think about what I have written and to also start on the paddy wagon of addiction prevention. Coz alcohol addiction is a deadly disease and it is almost glorified in this country as a marker of how cool / manly / progressive you are. Alcohol kills your brain cells. Alcohol alters your brain and alters your behaviour. It ruins your body. It has no benefit to your health save for making you feel on top of the world or numbing your pain for a few hours. It causes cancer. It ruins families. It is one of the worst substances out there and yet we all gladly have it. Accepted addictions – we mock the ‘kudu karaya’ and venerate the drunkard. We use it as a measure of worth and it is glorified from schools to clubs, to offices to wherever the hell. What a bunch of ignoramuses we honestly are. And what a sick people we honestly are.
In Buddhism, there is advice to always follow the middle path. This is not heard of in drinking circles. We have given Dutch Courage way too much space in our lives. We really need to stop and think.
We also need to encourage more dealing with demons through professional help – therapy, counselling etc. And these need to start young – when you are able to change certain ways and accept them. Men in Sri Lanka need to start seeking help when you need it – it’s not a weakness. It’s crucial for survival. A feigned sense of machismo and dignity is gonna make you suffer and die. I am watching it now – I know it’s your defence mechanism. But it will eventually kill you and those you love. Do you honestly want that?