Fear & Loathing In Active Addiction

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As I’ve been looking back on my life and taking a look at how far I’ve come, I’ve experienced a lot of mixed emotions. I knew when I started this blog that I wanted to start from the beginning and progressively move through the phases of addiction and also the recovery process. While trying to come up with ideas for my first blog, a lot of my focus has been on the events that took place during my active addiction. The insanity, the pain, the animalistic mindset and behaviors, the desperation-all the things that contribute to the pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization that addiction brings. I think back to just seven months ago when I was homeless on the streets of Cleveland, living under a bridge, lying, cheating, stealing, and selling my ass just to not be sick anymore, or to get enough money for something to eat, or to get a nasty motel room for the night. I think back to the scary, negative situations I was more than willing to put myself into, all in the name of “just one more”.

I re-live some of those moments and re-feel some of those feelings. All of these things just increased the shame, guilt, and remorse that I was already feeling on a daily basis. I hated my life, I hated you, and I hated myself; and regardless of how bad I wanted to change and live a better life, I just couldn’t seem to figure out how to do it. I couldn’t think of a way to live life without the feeling that heroin and other drugs gave me. I started using heroin and other hard drugs at 21 years old, and from that point on I completely ran my life into the ground. What started out as “fun” quickly turned into a nightmare. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Of course I had heard of heroin before, and I knew it was bad, but I was attracted to it because others around me were doing it, as well as the fact that I learned I didn’t have to stick a needle in my arm in order to do it. (which of course I SWORE I would never do!).

Within about two months I was on the needle, and I quickly progressed into daily use. As my addiction progressed, and as I began to get more and more desperate to get out of self as much as possible, I sank lower and lower on the moral scale-breaking every standard I had previously set for myself. I’m almost certain it was fairly the same for you or someone you know. We always set up these lines that we swear to God we will never cross, yet time and time again we cross them, quickly drawing a new line even further down the scale than the previous. “well, ill do this, but never that!”, “when I get as bad as him or her, ill quit”, I can quit if I want to, I just don’t want to yet”. The list goes on and on. Before we know it, the person staring back at us in the mirror, (assuming we can actually stand to look at ourselves), is completely unrecognizable. Eventually, we get to a point where we cant imagine life with or without drugs. For me, that was the worst place to be, the worst feeling of all.

Where do you go from there? What the hell are you supposed to do then? We have a choice to make at that point-either go on the way we are, and either die (which is inevitable), or end up in jail or prison if were lucky enough. I know for me, I was so used to the way I was living, even though it was completely miserable, any other way of life was terrifying to me. Knowing id have to be sick and go through full withdrawal was scary enough to not even think past that shit. My entire life, every thought, every action was ruled by fear. Looking back I’m dumbfounded at the amount of stress, pain, and negativity that I endured, and that we all endure while were using is unreal. It’s unfathomable that we can go through the insane shit we do, and still keep moving despite it all. We addicts/alcoholics are some of the strongest and most intelligent people in the world. If we want something, we make it happen-usually at all costs.

If we take that fire inside of us and put it towards something positive, there’s nothing that we cant do. Someone close to me always told me that “only when the pain gets great enough are we willing to change”. Unfortunately sometimes we have an insanely high tolerance for pain, at least I know I do. Once we have had enough, we can begin to seek help. In my experience, that part isn’t always easy at first, but neither is anything in this recovery process. Its gonna be hard, its gonna take a lot of work, its gonna be scary and you’re probably going to have days where you want to just give up and go back out there and say F everything and everyone. On the flip side, there will be days where you’re happy. REAL happy, not fake drug induced happiness. There will be times when you have the deepest belly laugh you’ve ever had. You will finally have peace and soundness of mind. The list goes on and on. So, if you’re struggling out there and don’t know what to do, think about what you really want out of life, reach out to someone that can help, do some research on treatments available in your area, and most importantly, give yourself a chance, because you’re worth it no matter what anyone says. Truth is we all are… ❤

XOXO, Steph

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