Addiction is not about morality, though addicts often behave in an extremely immoral manner.
Addiction is about feeling. More aptly put, addiction is about being separated from our true feelings.
Addiction begins, and ultimately ends, when we addicts actively seek to feel differently than we do in the present moment. Drugs and alcohol allow us to attain this perceived change of reality almost immediately. Early in our boozing, and using it works every time.
Many of us begin by reveling in that glorious high. Much to our delight it seems to be the solution to all of our problems. We experience how we have always wanted to feel. Hooray!
Though this path works splendidly for a while, gradually the shine wears off. For some of us it takes merely months, for others years, and for a handful like me, it takes decades to realize blue skies have turned to dark, stormy night. Inevitably the beauty fades, and our search for bliss morphs into a desire to just not feel so miserable.
And that too works, for a while.
Yet even this temporary solace eventually fades, and each of us reaches a point where we want to stop doing whatever drug we are doing. A desolate moment where whatever drug we are doing, is making us feel even worse than we felt when we started doing whatever drug we were doing in order to not feel like we were feeling when we did whatever drug we were doing.
Does that make sense?
Of course not.
To someone who has never struggled with addiction it sounds insane.
Because it is insane!
When any of us are in active addiction, we are insane. This is one reason it is so difficult for us to stop, even for a short time. Enmeshed in this vicious cycle we are absolutely disconnected from our true feelings. And if that’s not enough, our disease is the only disease which has a symptom of tricking us into believing it’s not the disease which is making us so miserable.
Think about it, when you eat undercooked chicken, and spend the next 48 hours hurling, you know it’s the chicken. With addiction, not so much. Our disease tells us it is everything but the booze, and the drugs which are making us miserable.
There is a modicum of truth to this. It’s not JUST the booze, and the drugs fueling our misery. The booze, and the drugs (or whatever external substance or experience we are medicating with) merely masks all the true issues in our lives which are shackling us. The majority of us do not quit until we are in such devastating pain, the only thing worse than quitting is to continue living like we are living.
But here’s another rub. After all this time, and effort spent trying to feel different, most of us don’t know how to feel at all. We medicate and repress, medicate and repress, medicate and repress until it is woven into the fabric of our being. We are literally incapable of ending this destructive cycle of misery without help. And furthermore, we cannot comprehend what life may be like if we were to stop.
I was so disconnected from my feelings it took me over three decades to get in enough pain that I honestly asked for help. Trust me, it is hard to comprehend the true depths of our brokenness when we are masters of not feeling at all. Though we are miserable as addicts, it is a known misery. For many addicts jumping off into the sober unknown is a scary proposition, sometimes more frightening than death itself.
Yet by the grace of some inexplicable force, when we reach a threshold of such pain, our muddled minds finally grasp we are actually offered a choice. Even though thru the hazy fog of our addiction it appears to be a circumspect choice, it is a choice none the less. We gain a brief moment of clarity, and comprehend we may either continue as we are, and die; or step out into this greater unknown, a life without the wicked comfort of our addiction, and perhaps survive.
Thankfully it is here, buried in the mire of absolutely excruciating pain, and swept along in a seemingly infinite cycle of wretchedness, there lies beauty. Once we reach the point where we are willing to ask for help, and take some direction, healing may actually begin.
The solution for addiction, and any kind of dependency for that matter, is about getting in touch with truth, the truth inside of ourselves. It’s not easy. After piling so much dirt on top of our true selves it’s nearly impossible to excavate alone. We need friends with shovels.
The only way to freedom is to dig through our pain. We must acknowledge it, rattle it lose, and discard it from our lives. Then and only then do we really begin to connect with our true selves, and begin to heal.
The formula for this is simple, yet extremely difficult to begin. It starts by actually feeling our own intense pain, asking for help, and humbling ourselves to accept guidance from others who have done their own digging.
If you or someone you love has finally reached this point, look upon the brokenness as a blessing.
There is gold in this pain.
Deep Waters Recovery Network is here to help, our shovels at the ready.
If it is time for you to begin your journey toward freedom please reach out to us, and let’s start digging.