Addict for Life?
This is a topic that has been on my mind lately. As a former addict who spent years in and out of treatment facilities, the notion that I would be an addict for life was so ingrained in my mind that it stopped being something I questioned or debated. It appeared to be a fact that I was never going to get better and that this would be something I had to live with for the rest of my life. I’ll be honest, that mindset set me up for failure and was a barrier for me to truly start believing in myself again. I felt like damaged goods. I knew I wanted to clean things up and that drugs were ruining me, but I also knew, from everything I had ever been told, that I would be fighting addiction for the rest of my life. That was not only an overwhelming and daunting thought, it was also an easy excuse for me to reference every time I relapsed.
After years of feeling like an addict who would never get better, one day I started thinking about what it means to be an addict and if I would truly be an addict for the rest of my life. I finally started thinking for myself instead of simply accepting what I had been told. An addict, by definition, is a person addicted to a particular substance. Wait for a second; if an addict is a person who is addicted to a particular substance, that doesn’t sound at all like someone who is currently not addicted to drugs. In my current frame of mind—which is clearer than it has been in years as well as completely drug-free—it’s very easy for me to accept that I once struggled with addiction and that it was at one time something I desperately needed help to overcome. I know drugs are not my friend, and I also know that if I were to go out and use drugs today it would not end well for me. But does that make me an addict?
These days I wake up in the morning free from addiction and eager to go to work to help others who are going through the same struggles that I went through. I have chosen this line of work because I know what it was like to feel like I was never going to make it, and I also know what it’s like to feel like I was going to be sick with addiction for the rest of my life. That is not the way I think today, and it’s because of where I am now in my life and how far I’ve come in a relatively short amount of time, especially compared to how long I struggled with addiction. Today I am so far removed from feeling like an addict that it honestly feels like it’s been a lot longer than it has. I feel that way because I no longer believe I am an addict. In fact, in my reality, I know that I’m not an addict.
“I can proudly say I’m no longer an addict and drugs are no longer a part of my life. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
It’s with that mindset that I was finally able to get better and truly free myself from addiction. Once I realized that if I weren’t actively using drugs, then I wasn’t an addict, it became easy to understand that addiction was a condition I could heal and get better from and I started to do just that. Once I stopped viewing this thing as a lifelong battle and it simply became a major lifestyle change that I had to put some work into, I found the willingness I had been lacking to make the changes I needed to make and live the life I knew was possible. That’s the life I’m living today, a life where I can proudly say I’m no longer an addict and drugs are no longer a part of my life. If I can do it, anyone can do it. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.