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.

VISIT LISA AT www.lisacolbert.ca.

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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.