Accepting and admitting we are addicts of any sort is often fraught with denial, ignorance of the condition, and mental obsession, among other things. The insanity of addictive behavior eludes us, and we continue to indulge hoping that ‘repeating the same activity will yield different results‘-an old A.A. adage. We so want to be ‘normies’ who can spend $20 at the local casino, then comfortably and easily leave. Food can be portioned, weighed, and calories counted, so we are safe from weight gain, right? Another goal is to drink a beer, put it down, and not even consider another. Cocaine? Meth and other drugs? Well, we can take them or leave them, no?
And on and on…
Problem is, we cannot-if we are addicts. This writer is a surprisingly still-surviving example.
I have been an addict since I was 9 years old when a relative of mine, concerned with the trials of ‘becoming a woman’, offered me around 50 Darvon capsules to take care of the menstrual pain I was bound to experience. Well, I never developed this agony she promised, but sure loved those pills-damn, I found a 9 year old nirvana I never imagined!
And I was off and running.
Many of us come from addictive homes and learn coping skills to survive, I certainly did. Mama was alcoholic, so was my father. Constant fighting, verbal abuse and child neglect were the norm. These scenarios are extremely common. This sort of cycle has gone on for centuries and will probably continue for ages to come.
Yet as I look back on my various addictions, I am now able to see the horror I’ve left behind. I’ve left others wondering wtf was wrong with me, my choices in life, my seemingly uncaring attitude, my downhill slide in many areas. Certainly I was a rebellious child of the 70’s, but my behavior was incomprehensible, though the people who cared about me had no clue as to my addictions and their dangers. Strangely enough, those were more innocent times…
I have been addicted to many substances and behaviors over 40 years now and am still working to relieve my obsessions. I have succeeded at ‘conquering’ many of them, yet still struggle with others. Addiction is a lifelong battle and quite personal. Thus the stories addicts tell will differ yet there are many commonalities.
Damage incurred over the years can be devastating to family, friends, and to the self. Addiction leaves marriages and families in ruins, workplace relationships destroyed, and financial resources wiped out. For the addict, self-esteem, hope for the future, confidence and sense of self can be forever damaged.
Yet there is always hope. Hope is the child of courage that keeps we humans going in spite of our difficulties. There are many groups, rehabs, detoxes, and other supportive people and environments that are willing to go the extra mile to help anyone in need of assistance for any addiction.
All you need is to ask.