The Giant in the Room
This was written by one of our graduates and offers his unique perspective on addiction, his experience with it, and his road to slaying the Giant.
Every day more and more people wake up and find themselves in unfamiliar territory. In a fight for their life or the life of someone they know and love. Up against a seemingly impossible giant, feeling helpless, with their backs against the wall, hesitant of their next move. This giant they face? Addiction.
Everywhere we go nowadays we find conflicting evidence and information about what this enemy is, where this enemy comes from, how it infiltrates our lives, and most importantly, how to defeat it. What was once revered as a recovery ‟community” has now become a political debate between the spiritual, the psychologists, the medical community, the psychiatric industry and the non-believers. From my own experiences, this can be overwhelming for the friends and family of the addict.
This debate has buried what truly matters underneath the opinions of those who have studied addiction but have not truly experienced or understood it from first-hand experience. The only thing that matters, the only thing that should be said with confidence, and the thing that has gotten lost in the back and forth, is that addiction is a penetrable force, that it can be defeated.
It is not the definition of addiction, nor the opinion on where addiction originates, that leads us all to find sobriety. It is the pain we inflict on ourselves and others. Getting clean is our last attempt at survival in our minds. Our longing for freedom drives us, and deep down this is what addicts feel empty of every day.
In my experience addicts are driven by fear, pain, and acts of self-will. Once this pain is projected outwards into our physical lives is when we recognize addiction as the Giant that it is. When we get our first real glimpse of the magnitude of this monster in our lives, we are overcome with questions, fear, and disbelief. We aren’t sure where to turn, or who to trust. No one can blame you for having questions, trying different avenues, or feeling discouraged and overwhelmed by the many methods preached on sobriety.
Whether you are the addict or the loved one of someone who is struggling, there is pain involved and despite the number of people who let this Giant take their lives, there has never been more hope than there is today, in this moment.
I had to accept help when it was needed by people who have lived both sides of the coin. I had to let my pride go and recognize that it was a tool the Giant uses to keep us at bay, to keep us hooked, to keep us in pain. If the advice I received was from someone who had not lived addiction as their story, I was not able to take it, or I was very cautious of it. If you’re wondering where to start, then I have a suggestion. Reach out to someone who has survived this fight, before you reach out to someone who hasn’t. Get out of your own way and let someone help you. There are so many people in the world willing to help someone in need, they just don’t stand on the street corner like a dealer does. You must find them and make yourself known so that you can be helped by someone willing to help.
Try to hear me out on this as well. I did not get clean to become a boring person, my story did not end when I got sober, I don’t sit around sharing war stories and comparing my addiction to another’s to stay sober, I don’t live with chains, I’m not afraid to go out into the world, and I’m learning more and more every day from people who survived and continue to survive by helping people, like me, get this life and keep it.
Encouraging people was something I was never good at and something that is still a work in progress for me, but I wouldn’t hesitate now to try to encourage someone when it came to freeing their physical body, their mind, and their spirit from addiction. I don’t ever want to be who I was before I overcame my addiction, my old self is gone. I want to be a new me so that I don’t ever have to live another day hurting someone or myself again.
I was ready to stop letting pain control my life and first I had to find the courage to achieve that.
It is possible. This Giant we face has us in a state of false perception, it tells us we can’t, it makes getting high easy for a reason, it floods our street corners, our news feeds, our music, our workplaces, our friendships, our families, with seemingly impossible to resist temptations and it makes promises that it never keeps. It intends to kill us and convince us it’s all our fault and the only way to combat this evil is to pick each other up, push each other forward, and fight against it, as survivors.
There will come a day when you either tell your story or someone tells it for you. Either people are going to gather to remember you or people are going to gather with you to remember. Don’t let this thing take your heart away like it does so many people. Don’t be afraid to find that fight inside yourself that addiction tries to silence. If you are ready to face this Giant then face it with other fighters, survivors, and people who lived in the trenches like you did and let us grow hope for those who need it, by living our lives with such impact that it shakes Giants to their core.
I believe you can. Its time you started believing it too.
Matt G., Narconon Suncoast Graduate
(To preserve privacy, the photos do not show an actual Narconon student or graduate.)