5 Things I Wish I'd Known About Addiction
Jun 22, 2022
Can you remember your first drink?
I remember mine.
I was 13 years old.
That first pull of Black Velvet burned.
But when the second and third hit my stomach, euphoria washed over me, wrapping me from head to toe like a warm blanket.
More than 40 years later, my pulse still quivers at the thought. It was love at first sip. A femme fatale attraction. Slipped into like a pair of old, faded Levi jeans.
It tasted awful, but I wanted more. It was pure bliss. I could breathe with ease. My skin fit like a glove. I knew nothing about addiction. But I was instantly hooked.
I chased that feeling for the next 20 years, never quite capturing the elusiveness, and almost died trying.
If only I knew then what I know now, I might have saved myself, and others, years of pain and hardship.
5 Things I Wish I’d Known
- Addiction is a disease defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use. I knew the way I drank was not "normal," but I thought I was weak and lacked control. Had I known I had a treatable illness, I may have sought help sooner.
- Addiction is not a choice. The genes that a person is born with account for half of that individual’s risk for addiction. When two parents have an addiction, that risk increases even more. It is like Russian Roulette who its strikes and sometimes it skips a generation. The only thing for sure about anyone who develops a drug addiction is that they started using alcohol or other drugs at some point in their life.
- There is so much more to addiction that using a drug. Feelings of shame, unworthiness, and self-limiting beliefs keep the dysfunctional cycle alive. I couldn’t wait to escape how I felt on the inside. I once picked up a pill on the street and popped it in my mouth. True story. Pop. Just like Jack-in-the-Box. It could have been a dog-deworming pill for all I know. I was hoping it would change how I felt. I remember being disappointed when it didn’t.
- There IS life after alcohol and drugs. I could not imagine my life without alcohol. What would there be to live for? My entire world revolved around drinking. I thought my life was over when I hit my bottom and was forced to quit. Little did I know it had just begun.
- A myth exists that alcoholics must hit rock bottom before getting help. That is not true. For some, rock bottom means death. If not, you’ll wish it were. If you have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, I encourage you to please get help before 20 years pass you by like me.
Is There Life After Drugs and Alcohol?
I didn’t think there was life after alcohol and drugs. However, what I considered a death sentence has become the best time of my life. It is called recovery. It’s called freedom. Your second chance. It’s the grace of God, love, beauty, and so much more than just quitting. Stopping is merely the tip of the iceberg, a prerequisite to getting better.
I’m not talking about trying harder or “getting it through your thick skull,” as you may have been told. Recovery is a process. No quick fix exists. Nobody comes along to save you. There is no knight in shining armor. It’s about “becoming” and growing into the person you are meant to be.
Addiction is a disease of isolation and loneliness. Admitting I needed help and reaching out is the most important decision I have ever made.
If you want your life to change, please seek help.
- Call the AA, NA, Life Ring, or the Crisis helpline.
- Do you need detox?
- Contact alcohol and drug services.
- Go for trauma therapy.
- Check out an online peer support group.
- Connect with nature.
- Go to yoga.
- Sign up for a program like GendHer®.
Listen to the quiet voice.
What is it telling you to do?
Take care, my friend.
Please drop me a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Click here for my free guide, How to Quit Drinking. And Stay Quit.
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