In some cases, the addiction/alcoholism journey started with binge partying that became habitual and ultimately led to physical and mental addiction and chemical dependence. For many (if not most), the substance abuse was spawned by the need to feed the escape from the reality of pain from deep wounds caused by some past trauma. In any case, we couldn’t wait to ride that magic carpet away from reality every day. Social anxiety disappeared, we went from low self-esteem to superhero, boredom evaporated and life became a giant party, or at least an adventure that was happily tolerable. Right up until that giant balloon of substance abuse exploded and burst our lives and everything in them into flames. The spiral staircase that spun downward into the bottomless hell of addiction all started with the irresistible temptation to escape reality through the artificial euphoria created by drinking, swallowing, smoking or snorting something.
During my life of addiction, I had conditioned myself to always being able to disconnect from life through the use of substances. If I was having a bad day, I could make it better and if I was having a good day I could make it great. There was always that escape hatch for me to crawl through when I couldn’t take life anymore (translation: I could have – I just didn’t WANT to take it any more). When the general anxiety became too much or spiked because of something bad life through at me, boredom took hold, or depression got a grip on me, or anytime the road got rough in any way, I could always jump back onto that train that took me away from it all. Eventually and predictably, my substance abuse and chemical dependence elevator flew through the top floor and ended with me in a coma and not expected to survive. Then that train I was riding derailed and left everything in tatters.
The concept of substituting a different drug for the drug of choice in my life is something I just cannot wrap my mind around – where I have to justify and rationalize it in my mind by saying that “Well, at least I’m not using my original drug of choice anymore.” Haven’t I still just created a new life of illusion, just on a different path? What happens when life throws a new major hardship onto that new path? Do I seriously think I’m not going to start abusing that new drug? What if that new drug isn’t enough to numb me through this new hardship? I’m still on a road paved by the conditioning of chemical dependence that would eventually circle back to my original drug of choice.
The same thing goes for me attempting to just reduce and moderate of my original drug of choice, rationalizing that by saying “I’ve significantly reduced my usage and have it under control now”. Using the previous example – things might go just fine right up until the point where life puts some major problem my way, or a compilation of many smaller but significant problems all at the exact same time. Am I naïve enough to think I won’t return to abusing my drug of choice to escape these problems? I’ll be swallowed up into that pit of addiction faster than I can drop a glass. Let’s say I am on the path of moderation, and I feel I have all my addictions conquered and under control now. If I really have it under control and I think I’m no longer dependent on drugs or alcohol, THEN WHY DO I FEEL I CAN’T LIVE A HAPPY LIFE WITHOUT THEM?!! I have yet to hear any coherent answers to that question.
Whichever of these tempting paths I think I might lead me to happiness and contentment, wouldn’t I still just be returning to that same mentality of substance use as a solution to my problems being a staple of my life? Wouldn’t I just be reverting back to that same old conditioning of being able to escape reality by drinking swallowing, smoking or snorting ‘euphoria drugs’? Aren’t I still just keeping myself in the prison of chemical dependence to those types of drugs? Both paths would eventually lead me right back onto the dance floor with death.
I’m not criticizing anybody else’s recovery path because it’s none of my business and I have no right or place to do so. I’m only stating my case for my own recovery path. Wherever I refer to “euphoria drugs” or “chemical dependence”, I’m specifically talking about all substances, whether legal, illegal or prescription, that are considered highly addictive and dangerous to people with a substance abuse history, by the professional medical community, because they create an artificial sedative euphoria and/or escape from reality. Because I’ve had significant substance abuse issues, abstinence from all these drugs is the only logical path for me. Conquering life’s problems with a clear unaltered head creates quality character, which strengthens my hope and self-esteem. To be able to look life in the eye and say, “give me your best shot”. As opposed to turning tail and running back to the pretend sanctuary of substance use at the first sign of trouble. No – if I dance with the devil long enough, I’ll be back into that bottomless hell of addiction. Thanks, but no thanks. I love my life and I love life, free from the chains of substance abuse and out out of that prison of chemical dependence.