Expressways and Recovery
Since the beginning of my own recovery I hear, “Religion is for those people that don’t want to go to hell and the program of AA/NA is for those who been there and don’t want to go back.” I’ve been through hell and back in my active addiction, but I can’t deny that I had beautiful times before that for a long time. My addicted “stinkin thinkin”’ will always try to just remember the good times and justify or forget the bad times. That is the nature of the disease and that makes it so dangerous.
Some people say that no real fun stories start with “salad”; somehow there are sometimes at least alcohol involved, if people look back in their lives. These are memories we love to keep– the painful time of detox, hospitalization, incarceration or just general sickness is something we really don’t want to remember, therefore we brush it under the carpet of our leftover memory brain cells. So does our neurotransmitter system.
Old neuro-pathways die hard, new ones don’t build easy. Neuro-pathways are habits that our brain has learned over time. When we think of pleasure, we think of the substance that brought us this feeling in an easy quick way. That’s the disease. Those triggers can be real, painful, and tempting, but the good part is, that they usually don’t last long. This too shall pass. Hang in there if it hits you and get help for the time it lasts. If I want to get over these triggers for longer periods of time, I have to build new pleasure pathways. For example meditation can calm me down or exercise can give me a good feeling of joy. It works, if we work for it, just as six-pack abs isn’t reached by just watching a fitness video. Those changes are slow, recovery is a process, not an event.
Some people (like me) engaged in alcohol and drug abuse for years and years at an abnormal level. However we were still able to function with a halfway decent, normal life. It takes years and often decades before someone hits a bottom, slowly creeping down the downward spiral of health, spirituality, relationships, possibilities and more. Others take the expressway and abuse hard drugs after just a short time and see the effects of an unmanageable life within a few months. It can be an expressway to hell, to pain, to disaster and despair.
Every day I read on social media about beautiful, educated and lovely people, which overdosed and left this earth– some of them at a very young age. They did not appear to be on the expressway to hell- by all means they seemed to be in heaven. These wonderful people had the disease of addiction and became victim of a fatal situation because they could not find the right treatment or did not want treatment because addiction was stronger than their own power. Help was not readily available at the times they were ready to give up the habit. This is a fact for almost all addicts. Without help there is almost never a chance to get out of this vicious cycle of using, drinking, shame, guilt and fear. It is scientifically clear today, that “Just say No” doesn’t work. The way our brain works does not support this idea. We need help!
We all need to work together to break the stigma and to encourage and help as many people as possible to receive the help they need. You might say, “I would help, but what can I do?” We don’t want your monetary contribution, we don’t want a membership, we don’t need donations and you don’t have to subscribe a paper or adopt a puppy. Please just share your story today with us. All we like from you is a few moments of your time and a little bit of your experience, hope and strength that you give to somebody else. Join the Heroes in Recovery movement by just leaving a few words about your recovery or the recovery of a loved one. These words are our language and help more people than you think. Real recovery starts with real people. Recovery starts with YOU.
I’m looking forward to hearing from many readers today and in the next days. Helping people is on SALE today, it comes for FREE. And if you have a friend, who would be a great candidate to tell his or her story, please forward this article using any social media buttons on this site and you will get two for FREE! Just remember the life you might save through just a few words is totally priceless.