A Better Question: Why the Pain?

Stephen Kavalkovich

SFYB Contributing Writer

By Stephen Kavalkovich, Former Paramedic

In our society today when someone does something “wrong” pain, the sharks begin circling. Recently, the artist formerly known as Prince passed of a now confirmed drug overdose. To the spectator hearing the news, this seems preposterous. He had fame, wealth, and all the worldly things that most dream of. Why would he choose to go down that dark road to oblivion?

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Why does the well respected heart surgeon lose his medical license for unnecessarily performing procedures to line his pockets? When the 21 year old young man from an affluent home is now living on Skid Row after 13 drug rehabs, we need to start asking a better question then why the addiction.

The more relevant inquiry should be why the pain? From the church basements all over the world which host 12 step meeting like AA, the world at large can begin to get a clue as to what the real problem is. “ I have an alcohol or cocaine problem” can be heard time and time again.


I would challenge this and suggest that “ you have alcohol or cocaine solution”. As they say, pick your poison. Whatever the maladaptive or scorned behavior one chooses, the root of it all has to do with the pain one carries. The shopping to excess or eating tubs of Ben and of Jerry’s is just a short lasting analgesic bandaid to cover the hurt.

A family is baffled at that awful Uncle James who isn’t invited to Thanksgiving Dinner anymore because of the whirlwind of destruction he has left in his wake. Rehab, jail divorce, and dereliction and yet he still robs people to get one more bag of dope. He is just weak, they whisper on the phone or in a passive aggressive Facebook post. Is he weak? Or is he trying to numb a deep pain that he isn’t even consciously aware that he has?

The first time a boy kissed Shelly in High school came and the connection and affection that she never received from her absent parents draped over her like a warm hug. As long as she didn’t say no when the boy wanted to go further, he wouldn’t withhold that “love”. The first hit of heroin and suddenly the warmth of a blanket, cuddled with chicken soup on the couch, this is love, right? To the body and mind, yes it is. Why would someone want to give up that feeling if they never received it from anyone or anything else?

Once they combination for the particular person is dialed into the lock, a strong association begins, and breaking it can and has proved fatal for scores of people. Since we are all humans, we all carry hurts. Take a hard look at yourself and ponder what do I use as my medicine? More importantly, chase the rabbit down the hole further and ask why?


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Stephen Kavalkovich
Stephen Kavalkovich - Nationally Certified Recovery Coach, Author, Speaker, Former Paramedic

I am a man who lost, rather, gave up all that I had as a result of addiction. My substance abuse began shortly after returning from New York City on 9/11 following the terrorist attacks. However, my entire life until and beyond that point was a vicious cycle of switching seats on a sinking ship up until I all but drown. It is my goal to share and care for others just like someone did for me. I hope to inspire and encourage you and show that their is a way to freedom and peace. As my writing will show, I have experIenced much pain and loss in my life. My purpose is to share through written word and speech as a way of helping others face their demons.

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