Addiction is slavery.
At first we experiment with the substance. Then it becomes fun. For a while, we have a blast with our drug of choice.
Then it becomes a habit. We start making bigger and bigger sacrifices in order to keep using. We are stuck on a hamster wheel, and we keep telling ourselves that we are choosing the hamster wheel. In the back of our minds, we have an inkling that chasing the drugs is a bit of a rat race, and that we probably aren’t doing ourselves any favors. But we keep chasing our tail.
Photo by *pandora*
In the beginning, drugs were fun. Denial is telling yourself that you still enjoy using drugs and alcohol, when it actually stopped being fun a long time ago.
I can remember being at this point of realization myself. I knew I was trapped, enslaved. Yet I saw no way out. I had to keep drinking and drugging in order to keep going. To quit the drugs and alcohol was unthinkable–too scary a proposition for me to actually consider. So the madness continued.
Here are some examples of how we become enslaved to chemicals:
Our Body Craves the Substance – pretty obvious, right? Basic physical dependence. Take the drug away and we go through withdrawal. (Works for caffeine and nicotine, too!).
Defines Our Activities – my body became trained to only sleep after being drunk. Many cigarette smokers wake up in the middle of the night and have to light one up.
Dependence – we keep using, and the drugs become less effective. We start using larger and larger amounts.
Obsession – we think about using drugs. When we’re not using them, we plan our next use. Our thoughts are distracted constantly with the prospect of getting high.
Defy Logic – we experience “blind spots,” where our logic cannot overcome a situation and we seemingly find ourselves using drugs again against our own wishes
Attachment – we develop an emotional relationship with our chemicals. One example of this is the emotional loss that many people feel shortly after quitting smoking.
Blocked Development – when we start using drugs to self-medicate, we stop maturing emotionally.
False Spiritual Seeking – We use drugs and claim to seek a mystical experience, when in fact all we have done is scrambled our brains. Smoke and mirrors. We self righteously claim that we seek and find God through chemicals.
Photo by lorda
Now that I’m in Recovery…
Freedom from Chemicals – the prerequisite for recovery. Your number one priority. Don’t fall into the trap of putting anything in your life ahead of physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
Freedom from Obsession – although I can still obsess over certain things, the tendency to do so has been curtailed. I have a balanced life today between work, school, relationships, and recovery. This is in stark contrast to what was once “Need drugs, must get money,” over and over again like a zombie.
Started maturing again. In recovery, i have “grown up” and started acting emotionally responsible. I deal with my feelings like a real human being instead of medicating or hiding them.
Genuine Spiritual Growth – Characterized by a complete change in personality and a connection with a higher power. Instead of being all about me and how I need to use more drugs, I have gained a genuine interest in helping fellow recovering addicts.
In Recovery, Your Idea of Freedom Will Change
I use to turn up my nose at the concept of freedom without drugs.
Photo by Skyburst
– In addiction, I thought freedom from chemicals was worthless, and I actually pitied people who did not “party.”
– In addiction, I didn’t see freedom from chemicals as being “freedom,” because I really wanted to stay high forever.
– In addiction, I thought the ultimate freedom was unlimited supplies of drugs, alcohol, and money.
Loved ones tried to convince me that I was enslaved to drugs and alcohol. My denial told me that I enjoyed the drugs and alcohol. My denial told me that achieving the ultimate “high” was the ultimate freedom. No one was going to force me to be sober. That was like a death sentence. The idea of sobriety terrified me. I was living in fear, but claiming to be “free” by choosing to use drugs and alcohol.
What then, is true freedom? Think of your earliest memories in childhood. You were not obsessing over buying another carton of cigarettes back then, were you? That was real freedom.
– Not having to use chemicals in order to feel normal is part of this freedom.
– Not having to think about using chemicals during every waking hour is another part of this freedom.
– Resuming true spiritual and emotional growth is the the final piece of this freedom.
Congratulations to everyone who is on a path to freedom today….