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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why do I have an addiction?

There are many addicts and alcoholics who say, “I want to be sober, and yet there are times I need to get high. I sometimes hate my addict but will seek the high at any cost. I’ll chase my addiction with compulsive behavior and I’ll obsess over getting high. I build tolerance and want more or change to something that is stronger. I’ll do what I do even though I know it’s going to cause regret. I want what I want when I want it.”

A common thought process

How many of you see the similarites in this story? 

The first time I got high, the rough edge of living was removed and I was less angry. I was able to socialize, my thoughts became still. I never realized when I used addictive behavior was being reinforced. That’s why it’s hard to quit. I wanted the pleasure, the high, and emotional relief. I wanted control over my environment and to be the boss of me. I was not aware that as I sought pleasure, I was only numbing the pain I’d experienced. 

Drugs of choice

For some, the addictive choices share a history of our life. The use of alcohol supports some in fitting in, improves social interactions and minimizes the risk of using illegal substances. Marijuana used frequently as a teenager and young adult can be a mask for anger as it takes the edge off.
Some believe that using drugs to stay awake may be my need to be acknowledged or accepted. Opiates are often abused because the user has already “seen too much” and needs to just close his or her eyes. Some use, meth and opiates together. Getting ‘up’ for the hope that the one I want will come for me and I must be ready when they do. Getting ‘down’ is for the events and/or person we don’t want here and the pain makes me want to leave, even when it’s only in my addiction. 

Giving up control to achieve sobriety

Achieving sobriety starts with the first step.  Powerlessness – needing support of a meeting, a sponsor, God. Unmanageability — what we do to control pain has become costly to living life. Giving up control lets the pain become real. Letting go of addiction can expand into grief, like losing a best friend. The friend that helped me cope with pain and had always been there for me. Grief begins with acceptance that the relationship of the addiction is over. To argue with perceived reasoning against sobriety is the addict talking and being in the denial of grief. Giving up control is difficult because of the inability to have skills of dealing with pain. Many of us become addictis as avoidance of pain, to accept sobriety is to accept the pain even we don’t know what to do with our emotions.  When we let go of control and drop the wall addiction supports, we give up the control and allow the emotional self to express emotions. The day we choose to stop feeling is about the age often referred to the “12-year old running your life”. 

Sanity in the Second Step

Emotional resolve is found in the second step  — the word sanity.  To be sane and sober is to allow emotions to occur and be okay with what we feel. A healthy person knows how to emote and have empathy and sympathy for others. When we learn to emote in a healthy manner, we learn sanity in my sobriety. Somewhere in our life, we learned negative emotions are bad, unwanted and or wrong.  We used addiction to ensure we never feel emotions. 
The intention of this article is to express the need to let go of control, grieve the loss of addiction and accept negative emotions aren’t bad. They’re just emotions. We have many emotions to express and the fear to express is strong.  We all seek love and usually end in fear with addiction.  
Given a choice when looking at core fear within, are you fearful you don’t matter or you are not enough?  The fear to matter if rooted in a fear of rejection and abandonment. The fear based on enough is based in the fear of intimacy.  To minimize the fear of rejection is to accept I matter and I choose not to give anyone the power of rejection.  To minimize the fear of intimacy challenges me to express from the inside out. I must stop running and simply stay. I need to know inside that I am enough, worthy, and human.  Addiction destroys humanity; sobriety returns it to us to share.  My resolve is letting go and knowing its recovery to feel, even when that feeling is negative.