All The Things an Addict gives up During Addiction
Addiction affected every aspect of my life, and there was nothing about my life that didn’t feel strained while I was using drugs. As an addict, I knew that I was consumed by using drugs, but it’s taken me getting clean to realize just how much I sacrificed to live a life I hated living. I can’t think of anything that feels more backward; sacrificing so much of what once brought me joy to continue living a lifestyle that brought me so much misery. Addiction created a sort of tunnel vision, where everything I did was driven but how I would get my next fix or get through the day avoiding withdrawal. I had little time for anything else.
Time with friends and family immediately comes to mind. It’s not uncommon for isolation to be associated with addiction and for good reason. But it’s more than just the isolation. Even when I was with friends or family, I was rarely actually present. I would typically be thinking about when I could sneak off to get high or how long I had to be there. Family gatherings during the holidays or special occasions were always filled with tension, and the concerned look I would get from friends, the ones that weren’t using buddies, would be interpreted as being judgmental resulting in more isolation. If I’m being honest, it’s difficult for me to remember one time where I was under the influence and appreciated anything about my encounters with friends and family. When I think about the relationships I have today with my friends and family, the ability to have genuine connections with the people in my life is something I cherish.
Today it’s easy to think about the simple things that bring me joy in my every-day life. I enjoy going to movies, going out to dinner, playing sports or hitting the gym. I enjoy going to work and seeing my co-workers. I enjoy laughing and having a good time, being silly when the time comes for it. I enjoy watching my favorite sports teams play. I enjoy having fun. That last sentence may seem obvious, who doesn’t enjoy having fun? I include this because when I think about my life as an addict there was little to no fun involved. I did a lot of things that should have been fun, a lot of things others would have fun doing, but I hated my life to the point I got very little enjoyment out of anything that didn’t involve getting drunk or high.
I also think about my ambition or lack thereof as an addict. There was a time before drugs and alcohol became the centerpiece of my life that I had goals and aspirations. I wanted to be successful in life, but more so I wanted to do something that brought me fulfillment and made a difference. Addiction decimated my self-esteem and self-worth, so it should come as no surprise that any ambition I had vanished with it.
There are a lot of catchphrases and terminologies often associated with addiction, but one that always resonates with me is the one that goes like this; I used to live, and I lived to use. That is no way to live, and that lifestyle never has to be permanent. There is a way out of addiction. Perhaps there is nothing greater than I gave up as an addict than my peace within myself. It’s a peace that I found once again by making the choice to go reclaim my self-worth and do something about my addiction. It’s a peace that I could only find by waking up knowing addiction is no longer a part of my life. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, the solution is out there. Please reach out.
Justin P—Narconon Suncoast Graduate