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The Intersection

Susanne Johnson
| January 9, 2016

A scratching, grating, feeling inside every cell of your body, like someone is grinding with a file, tearing you up from inside out. Your stomach is in rebellion, every bone aches, brain cells are shivering and the skin is on fire, a throbbing fever, like a burn. The pain is strong, you can’t even describe it, you can’t sit, can’t sleep, can’t lie down, but you are tired and awake at the same time.

You are at the intersection called Addiction. This intersection is in a dark tunnel, no street lights, it is cold and damp. At Addiction there are two roads turning. One is marked Instant Relief and you can see colorful inviting lights at the end, which is not far away. A whiff of warm vanilla reaches you from there and a warm breeze comes from that side of the tunnel. You’ve been to Instant Relief many times and you know what you can expect going there.

The other road has a sign titled Recovery and is long, dark, no light in sight, uneven pavement as you can feel. You have no idea what is on the end of this way. It is for sure the longer way. Some people tell you, that you need to go there, it is a world beyond your dreams. Could you just believe it? You are too fearful to even try. Maybe you will try next time, but not today, your pain is too much to walk this hard road. Today you can’t make even a good decision until your pain is gone and until your head stops spinning in this pain. Tomorrow… tomorrow… Today you will go to Instant Relief and chase the neon lights you’ve seen the first few times. They are a bit faded today, more pastel once you are there and somehow you can’t find the vanilla warm feeling anymore either, but at least the town of Instant Relief helped you let go of your pain for a moment.

This is addiction.

Imagine yourself in this situation if you are not struggling with addiction or alcoholism. Just try to feel the pain and think if it is really a free choice of someone to take drugs, if that is what you believe so far. No willpower is strong enough at this point to choose. The parts of the brain, which make wise decisions are not working. Help to break the stigma and help this way all the people on this intersection to walk a different way.

If you are affected by this disease, there is one possibility to walk the right way at this intersection. Do not try it alone. Chances are, that you stumble at the first hurdle and turn around into relapse. Reach out for help. There are people in this dark tunnel, which know the way and can take away your fear of going it. You don’t have to walk it alone. They take your hand and guide you over the hurdles and into the light. You might stumble, as you have to do the walk, they can’t carry you, but you won’t fall. You will reach safely the world of sobriety and learn on the way all the tools you need to stay there.

In the world of sobriety, there are no neon lights or false hopes. This place is the real world with all the ups and downs, full of emotions, feelings, rewards and setbacks. And it is a beautiful world. Now that you have learned coping skills and ways to manage life here, you will experience it as less scary or painful as before. You are alive. You can be happy, joyous and free.

This is Recovery.

Unfortunately as anything it is not all black and white, there are not only two roads going away from the intersection of Addiction. There are many more marked with Death, Hospital, Jail, Prison, Psych Ward and more. Without help it is very difficult to avoid them for a long period of time if someone stumbles constantly between Addiction and Instant Relief. Reach out and find your path to recovery. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Make this new year a happy one and feel free to call our helpline 855-342-0869 and ask for options to find recovery. We are happy to show you which way you can take if you like to break out of the cycle of addiction. Many places offer help, there is one near you and for your budget as well.

We do recover! I wish you a Happy New Year 2016!

Susanne Johnson

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