You’re not Alone – From one Addict to Another
Addiction is isolation, despair, and escapism. It is feeling like a stain wherever you go, not being understood and feeling alone. No matter what the substance, we feel like there is no other way. How can we get through the day without being numb from ourselves? How are you supposed to deal with life when you can’t face yourself in the mirror?
“They think that, like mental health, it is a matter of self-control and that if you practice it, it’s because you’re selfish and weak. That is not the truth. Like depression or cancer or the color of your skin, you do not choose to become an addict. You are simply hardwired the wrong way. There is no shame in that. You are not lacking. You are not weak. You are a human being that becomes consumed by something that lies and seduces you. It will make you say or do anything to try and fill that hole and get one moment, just one … moment of peace.”
In the darkest moments of addiction, you don’t see a way out. Resignation to this disease seems to be the only option. In the literature, it says, “We are people in the grip of a continuing and progressive illness whose ends are always the same: jails, institutions, and death.” We accept that as our fate. We will bow down to the one thing that offered us salvation from ourselves, until it took away any peace we ever knew. It’s hard when a voice in your head that sounds exactly like your own telling you that you will never be anything but an addict. You do anything to appease that voice, to make it silent for a second, a minute or forever. The only way we know how to do that is to keep using. Keep going, a slow suicide through addiction. How can there be any other way?
The light that came on the first time we drank or drugged gets snuffed out in the darkness of addiction. The moment that everything went from black and white to technicolor is gone, the colors become sickeningly vivid. We’ve entered the rabbit hole. We’ve learned how to navigate in a world where we are removed, a spectator to our own life. Moments of clarity come and are just as quickly extinguished. The realization of having to get clean is terrifying. The withdrawals, getting everyone’s hopes up again, treatment, doubt, fear, “Can I live the rest of my life without using drugs or alcohol?”
All these questions and doubts swirl in our heads. “How can I possibly get through this?” “How did this happen to me?” “Who am I without drugs and alcohol?” “I don’t know any other way.” You are not alone. There is always someone going through what you are. There is another person who feels or has felt the same way you do. That is the beauty of the recovery fellowships. We have people we ran with, dealers, favorite bartenders, or cop spots in addictions. Those are our measures of comfort, that was what we turned to when we felt alone. We have been stripped of those things. Where do we turn to now?
We start to turn to people who have lived those same things and have found a way to get through life sober. People who want to be around you, not out of convenience or necessity. They see the person that we are, under all the pain, shame, guilt and hatred we place on ourselves. Slowly but surely if we chase recovery the same way we pursued a drink or a drug, we can begin to see these things in ourselves. It is possible, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a process. Just as we didn’t become addicted overnight, we don’t get better that way. We never honestly “have it.” The same moment you feel as if you’ve figured it out, the sick voice in your head will creep back in. It will sound as sweet as honey and will rationalize “one time.”
Beware of the voice in your head. It is a smooth talker and can take you back out the longer you talk to it. Don’t let that frighten you though; you’re not alone. You have people around you who will listen. They have been there, they have walked through those days and can help you walk through them. When we stop trusting the voice in our head that has almost killed us, we can listen to others. Listen to their experience, strength, and hope. Listen to whatever higher power has gotten us this far and realize that we do have a purpose. You are never alone, and you never have to feel like you are again.
“Tell your friend who is struggling with this that you love them no matter what and then show them that you do. It may not seem like much, but more often than not, it can be the difference between someone picking up and using that day or deciding to wait. To not do it today. To live.” The voice in our heads isn’t going to tell us anything other than to give up. “All it wants is for you to consume, to try and fill a black hole that is insatiable beyond anything you can imagine.” We know that story all too well, try something different. Choose to live.
If you are struggling with substance abuse or know someone who is, reach out to us today at 855-448-3638. We are here; we have walked the path that you have. You’re not alone, and we will be here for you.