Hopeless, helpless and dying. Anyone that has lived with a severe chemical addiction is very familiar with those realities. Soon the thought of actually being dead seems better than a life of torment and daily decay. The idea of just ceasing to exist is the only comfort that you feel. Immersed in addiction for 24 hours a day becomes physically and psychologically draining as you look for anything everywhere, trying to escape each fearful passing hour. But there is nowhere to run and the next day is a dismal repeat of the present one. You watch people that you love pleading for you to seek help, and you also watch them all eventually walk away. The pain of seeing you self-destruct is soon more powerful than the act of begging you to get help. Once apart from everyone who ever mattered, darkness seeps in and the opportunistic mongers, who term themselves as ‘friends’, infiltrate your empty world of sorrow… bringing you even further down into the endless pit of self destruction. Much further than you ever thought that you could fall. Morals vanish. Ethics are nonexistent and you value nothing…except maybe the drug. You value something that you, also, hate and despise with a vengeance, yet, crave for every waking moment. There is no more humanity within your lonely cold existence and even the occasional spark of hope is soon extinguished by a drug induced haze. Society passes you by though you are hardly cognizant of it. People will reject you, will degrade you and pity you. It won’t matter. It is an ugly world but it is the world that you know. This internal vortex. This is addiction.
It takes one day to die, another to live. There are many motivating factors that bring addicts into treatment. Broken laws, broken bodies, broken hearts and broken dreams may be contributing factors; none are more important and powerful than a broken soul. True recovery starts inside, moving outward. There comes a time when your broken spirit is more powerful than your life destructing addiction. At some point you realize that you are not yet physically dead and a wavering thread of consciousness asks: ‘why?’ This may be the first sensible thought that lives with you for longer than thirty seconds. A deep thought that isn’t being obliterated by your chemicals. This is the beginning of your recovery. It is a little seed. Some say planted by God or another higher power by divine intervention or even a spiritual awaking. Some believe it is a primitive survival instinct. Others believe that it is a product of sheer will. Whatever the impetus, a journey begins. There will be many trials and errors, temptations and disappointments as one rediscovers the hidden fragile persona that has been long since buried. In early treatment, the drug is physiologically removed from your body and a sea of feelings rushes to the surface, waiting to be acknowledged, understood and felt. The discussion of addiction being a disease or a repetitive pattern of self destruction is explored. In the beginning, there will only be unfamiliar words to comprehend as the avalanche of emotions sweep through. So overwhelming that this process can be, it is essential to once again connect with the human spirit. Not only your own spirit but with the reverberations of others. At first, it is emotional painful and frightening but as the murky fog lifts the once dim vision of hope becomes an ever growing shinning spotlight. Once you embrace this new found gift of life, the world will conspire to help you. This is a process that cannot be done alone and the loving hearts, minds and hands of others will guide you through this turbulent but rewarding early transition. You hold your breath. This can be. This is inspiring. This is hope.
One day the sun will shine. The sky will never look as blue and the rainbow colors that surround you sparkle like neon. Was this here all the time? Every day seems to be a new adventure and waking up in the morning, no longer in sickened despair, welcomes pure joy. You are in recovery. Looking in the mirror, you start to see a productive member of society smiling back at you. Sustaining and maintaining a life in recovery takes diligence, as well as dedication to the many support systems that exist to guide you. Some are faith based, immersed in spirituality (turning over your will to a higher power) while others are cognitive/behavioral (a new way of thinking and acting) and others rely on logic (recognizing rational beliefs and using self awareness). They are successful with some people separately or in combination. The common denominator in all forms of treatment is the fact that recovery is an ongoing process that must be attended to on a continual basis. Recovery is much more than abstaining from chemicals. It is reemerging with the world and learning how to live again...then love again. Learning to love yourself. When your capacity for love overflows, you are able to share that with others. Respect for yourself and mankind will develop with an escalating sense of dignity. In time, there will be laughter, and even tears…but the empty shell of a sufferer will exist no longer. The day may include kindness and compassion for the ones you see that are agonizing…as you once did. You will reach out to them…just as others once reached out to you. Will they listen? Did you? Having been at the bottom of the barrel, a new found appreciation for life emerges. You are grateful for even the little things that the world has to offer. For many, this rejuvenation of the spirit is seen as the miracle of recovery. A growing sense of self worth wraps itself around you as the healing process obliterates the reality of a life once dictated to by poison. I do not mean to paint recovery as a mere bed of roses. Repairing the damage done by a dented life requires raw self realization of how, why and when your life spun out of control and ended up in such a sorry state. Couragously exploring the answers to these questions may prevent it from happening again and new found dimensions of your recently learned life skills will truly enhance this new state of being. With time/effort, peace and tranquility will prevail. As you gain personal and/or spiritual faith in the recovery process, the belief that all things are possible will bring comfort to you. You may start to believe that it is, indeed, true. You will move with the world, no longer watching it pass you by. This is now a journey towards all things beloved. This is a new beginning. This is recovery.
Unfortunately, this does not happen to everyone who suffers from chemical addiction. There are those who will never experience the rewards of recovery. But as an Addictions Counselor, I am dedicated to insuring that all who I am blessed to encounter have the best chance to be successful. I am one part of a team of experts. I am Richard Bassett, CADAC and can be found on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RichBassett