ADDICTS: You can’t understand us, we don’t understand ourselves

I am feeling the grief of addiction taking too many lives. I am wishing peace for their families, and I am sad they could not find peace for themselves. I know the pain of active addiction, and I am reminded of days when the emotional strain was so excruciating it felt physical.

Many of us use to numb emotional pain only to find ourselves more deeply conflicted. The drugs are only a temporary escape creating a new shame to escape from. The feeling of being controlled by a substance that creates insidious need, moving lines of morals and values in the necessity for more becomes tortuous. I remember wanting to reach inside my body to claw at my organs to feel something other than the vacancy inside me. The drugs helped me to step out of the chaos inside me while it created a new one. Then there was the deepended duality of maintaining a facade for those in my life, because no one could know the mess I was. I had to appear okay and could often convince myself I was.

To those who have lost loved ones to addiction we don’t want to cause you harm. It is unfair you are left more helpless than we are. If we blame you, know it is our way of deflecting the shame for feeling like we do not have the willpower to stop hurting you. We try not to see your concern and to minimize your fears for us.

We may not understand yet that it is not about willpower or weakness  and that the very way we fight to stay clean steals our worth, when the drugs pull us back in. We need to surrender and admit we have a dependence that is not easily overcome. Everything is complicated in the stigma attached to drug addiction. We need help, but we are fiercely independent, and perhaps at the same time paralyzed by codependence.

Addiction is always in opposition, a duality inside us that pushes and pulls to keep us unstable and needing to look for management by altering our state of mind. We are creating imbalance while desperately trying to balance ourselves on a razor’s edge. We are slowing killing ourselves but we are desperate to live, we just don’t know how to do that without drugs. We need to feel like we are worth being supported and helped but we push against assistance. We have to find a way to love ourselves and in the meantime, please just love us.

And yes; sometimes I liked my behaviour and I enjoyed the party, but the party always ended. You can’t understand us, we don’t understand ourselves. Just try not to judge us because, even if it is not obvious, we are not easy on ourselves and we feel like there is no use being anything different because society has taught us hopelessness in regard to addiction.

We are not hopeless. We do recover. Please be patient with us and believe we are capable of staying clean, even for one day. And when we do, know it is each day we stay clean that gives us time to heal and believe another day clean is possible.


More from Flicker Behind Delusion


Vulnerability Conflict

I try to live my life softly, and to move with the things I have learned to apply to my life that align me spiritually and congruently with my authentic self. There are times when this becomes toxified by my own self sabotage and places that live inside me that have not healed from the past. I am mostly capable of living in the moment, then occasionally, latent cells that are deep inside me burst to bring forward the emulsified sludge that is surrounded by a need to be kept safe from trauma and vulnerability. I get slowed and disconnected by the thick nature of what was held there, compartmentalized, and now spilling to contaminate without notice or defense. Or perhaps it is my very defenses that create the disconnect, allowing the sticky sludge to pull me back as though I cannot step forward. I feel as though I have taken a misstep into something that surrounds and pulls back like tar not yet set in a gap in the sidewalk. I have stepped again to a place where trauma still has power over me. I know what the best things are to do and I want to be able to do them, but at the same time I don’t. It would mean using a voice that is so soft I can’t hear it within myself sometimes, so how do I bring it to the surface to share with someone else.

If you have experienced trauma in your life; and trauma is different for each of us, you will understand what I mean. An experience today brings up emotions and fears that intellectually I know are exaggerated, but that does not mean they resolve. For me, I am sent into a spin like a vehicle hit on the back corner by another vehicle traveling at high velocity. My body is sent in one direction, my emotions in another and my spirit can’t catch up to either. I want it to stop but my mind takes over and I as I try to be in control the pain heightens and tricks me and wants me to be with it. There is a physical and emotional response that is whiplash to my psyche. As dramatic as this all becomes inside me, I breath and bring everything on the outside to appear as though there is nothing wrong. My focus is off, my energy drips with lethargy, but I will make myself okay and again steal the truth from myself. Move from the authentic to what appears more comfortable.  I don’t want to accept that I have not integrated the traumas from my past into the tapestry of my life naturally. I want to be bigger than the subconscious space where my responses do not fit the situation because my experience in trusting took me to harm. I am the same as anyone who I would tell to be patient and compassionate with themselves. But my expectations are high and my disappointment in myself fueled by that instead of finding understanding for myself. Understanding that I would give to any friend, instead I treat myself like an enemy who I want to deny. I must become willing to integrate what is already perfect in its flaws instead of turning my back to find the false image of myself I sometimes wish to make true.

Something greater than myself can and will help me when I turn towards instead of back, but this involves the very trust that the trauma wall keeps me from breaking through. Faith is where it begins and because my higher power does not have the human qualities that have broken my trust, I can safely let go and allow the universe to provide. Here lives ultimate patience and love, I just have to find that patience and love for myself, so I can let go and trust even when my human reactions and fears try to tip to false need for control. I know when I allow my life to unfold, even the moments I perceive as most challenging become an accepted part of my experience.

Choosing the Street Home

Tonight I am grateful not to turn down the street that takes me home to sadness, resentment and lies. Instead I continue straight to the path today that takes me to a home of joy, serenity and love. There are places that still hit me with unexpected reaction that begins in the subliminal, then surfaces to provoke emotions I cannot even connect to. I feel my mouth watering for my drug of choice, even though I have no desire to use.

There is no clean time that takes me to a safe distance from my addiction.Until tonight, I had not really been to the part of the city that holds ties to picking up when no one was available in closer proximity. And the ride I went on in my head came unexpectedly.

I can feel… like it is in real time… myself gripping a small piece of plastic as I drive home in anticipation, likely for the third or fourth time that same night. I recognize it came to a point when I didn’t even have the restraint to wait until I got home. My imagination is running away, giving me flashes and feelings of the pipe in my hand.

I am living this in my mind as I retrace the route in my car four years later. I feel tears wanting to fall, but I don’t understand what this emotion is. I know I love my life clean and I do not feel the fear this type of experience would have brought a few years ago. I won’t feed the part of me that is somewhat resentful I can’t go back. As fast as the unclean thoughts enter I let them go unable to identify the emotions I am experiencing.

I am, almost without consciousness, vividly recalling the rush I loved. I am picturing rocks of substance in the environment around me as if in some parody movie playing in my head. It is almost laughable and because humour is my best friend I will laugh about this later, but for this moment I am given intense reminders with all my senses that addiction lives just under my skin.

I have accepted that for the rest of my life I may have these moments. My mind and my body have memories that can be provoked in the most benign instant. I am grateful I can acknowledge this and take it for what it is, just a moment in my life as an addict and when I choose the next moment to focus on my recovery, and how much that means to me, I take the power from addiction.

As I write this I feel the peace that brings. I am powerless over my addiction, but I have choices in my perception in times like this and I choose to look back and raise my middle finger to that part in my mind that took me off balance for a second.

…and now I can laugh.

Active Addiction

It was the sadness that ran so deep it made my body ache,

It was my heart beating so hard I could hear it in my ear drums,

Yet in another moment fading to an almost undetectable wisp.

It was the mirror, like a magnifying glass, taking regret to pure self hatred.

My emotions felt as though they would shatter like thin ice.

At the same time I wanted to claw out my organs just to feel.

Make the world stop just for a moment.

That is why I came here, but now I am exhausted as it seems

I am alone trying to hold the earth from continuing to rotate.


I will not forget where I came from and I practice gratitude everyday for living clean. An addict, any addict can lose the desire to use and learn to live clean. I am no longer alone and I am grateful that being an addict and finding recovery brings me so many gifts when I allow life to unfold knowing I never need to use again.


I want to write about everything that inspires

I want to write my deepest desires

I want to set fire to the page

I want to use ink to work through my rage

In writing I can find deepest purpose inside

Words flowing onto page to reveal things I hide

Thoughts turned off

Spirit only flows

Words with deeper meaning

Everything I’ve always known

No blocks

No fear

No judgment

Just today

The past stays behind

Allowing inner child to play

I will use a pen in place of a pipe

To escape with purpose

To a place that is ripe;

With spiritual connection

Inner peace and healing

The place I strive to be

No floor, no ceiling

I want to write to get out of myself

I want to write to be inside myself

No beginning, no end, just possibility

A place where there is truth I could never before see

Finished for now, yet just beginning

Putting a stop to false thought spinning

No longer looking back in fear

Staying in now, keeps the future clear

Knowing my destiny is ahead

Now there is purpose on the path I tread


I gave you all of me, believing I could trust

You became my everything, my love, my life, my lust

Part of every breath, until I was gasping for air

Smothering in the toxins we had come to share

Words of amend and change became trade

Trust severed by promises believed when made

A cycle of apology leading back to blissful entwine

Boundaries reset with a pencil drawn line

A line soon crossed and justified in push-pull exchange

ExhaustIon and defeat where patterns never change

Dysfunction by intention fed

Defensive doubt, resistance, dread

Trying to grasp at a dream made of smoke

Left crawling on the floor, attempt not to choke

The exit blurred and not well marked

Memories circling like a shark

Confused with times of playful content

Twisted with damage, yet appearing unbent

As the creases deepen with each relapse or retreat

No more hand holding or false plans to repeat

The cycle is broken with final separation

Walking away, no compensation

Except to rebuild damage to spirit

Trust, hope and faith reopen to clear it


It was the pipe that was taking me down, was it not?

Stepping over the line, tripped and got caught

The invisible thread cut through skin, then to flesh

Deep to the bone, making old wounds seem fresh

To distort, to justify, to take me away

Sacrificing spirit, emotional decay

Shrinking smaller and smaller, and I can’t stop it

Shaking going unseen until cause to drop it

Lost in the shadow of all that is wrong

Days without reason to even go on

Distorted in haze of thought and false emotion

Not able to unravel tight wound contortion

Pain only goes deeper with attempts to change

Process and patterns in jumbled rearrange

Alone and isolated with fears caving in

Weighted down, hopeless, will pulled thin

Medicating, escaping the only way to cope

The choice that deepens desperation, the thief of my hope

Then appears another way

A sliver of light representing a different day

Allow for surrender, reach out to start again

Open to a path where the darkness will end.

I was going through my poetry journal, I wrote this in June  2013 and finished it today (January 13, 2014). Feeling gratitude for the hope and faith the program of Narcotics Anonymous has brought to my life.