What Addiction was Like for Me
Today, when I talk to people about my addiction, they are often surprised. Many people often have a hard time picturing my life in the midst of addiction. Many people didn’t know. Some people had some idea but did not want to acknowledge the extent of my suffering. If I knew you at the time, odds are that I took our relationship for granted and probably used our relationship (to some extent) to foster my addiction.
Addiction affects the addict and everyone who encounters him. Family members, friends, and co-workers are all affected by the addict’s behaviors and actions.
It is estimated that over 23 million people suffer from addiction disorders and only three million people actually seek help for their issues each year.Luckily, in 2013, I was one of those three million. I got help for my addictions.
Prior to 2013, this is what life was like for me:
When I was in the last years of suffering, I lived in isolation and depression. The only time I ventured to the outside world was to go to work and to gather the essentials I needed to survive. Many days, getting out of bed and trying to go to work were just too much. I lived in an isolated bubble, feeding my addiction away from the shame and judgement of others.
There were many times I contemplated suicide. The thought of facing reality and the world seemed too daunting of a task to handle. I mismanaged my diabetes, which ended in hospitalization. My mental state suffered from the alcohol and drugs I was pouring into my system. It was like to trying to fill an unfillable hole in my soul that could never be filled. My self-hatred was too much to bear. Toward the end of this madness, I had lost the will to actually survive. I wanted it to end. I just wanted it to stop.
During addiction, I also manipulated those I associated with in the outside world. I lied to my employer and tried to stay one step ahead of getting fired from my inability to make it to work and to adequately do my job. If friends tried to visit me, I manipulated them into bringing me alcohol to add to my endless supply. I managed my relationships with my drug dealers to ensure I would get want I wanted when I needed it. I lied to family members and avoided contact in an attempt to ensure them that things were fine in my life. I manipulated the medical community to explain my deteriorating condition and to secure what pharmaceuticals I needed. My life was an endless chess game of maneuvering people in a tightly tangled web of deceit. It was a masterful game that was endlessly tiresome.
Today, my life has changed. Gone are the days of isolation and self-defeat. I find purpose in the will to live life. Manipulation is no longer part of my life. I try to live an honest existence by living in the moment. I find reasons to succeed rather than throwing my hands up and giving up. My relationships with family and friends grow stronger with each passing day. I embrace each day and look forward to what it brings into my life.
Each life can change when you surrender to the disease of addiction. A wise friend once told me that the beauty of recovery is never having to live in pain again. Today, I choose to live in recovery!
If you would like to share your story with Heroes in Recovery you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will guide you through the process. When you share your story, you are helping break the stigma associated with substance use and mental health disorders. Do your part to help break the stigma!