Realistic Advice – Letter From the Author of 30 Days of Recovery
I wrote this book several years ago before my relapse. A lot has changed since then. This book is not the same, there is much more information in this book then there was when I originally wrote it. There is something that I want known before you read this. If there is only one thing you take from this book, it is that addiction is an incurable disease. We cannot see it, we cannot operate on it and most importantly we cannot use sheer willpower alone to stop it. It must be treated daily.
Addiction is much more than drugs, gambling, sex or alcohol (which is a drug), it is behaviors, obsessions and compulsions as well. Even if you take away the drug or the gambling, etc., it will reemerge in other forms. For example, I am in a shoplifting class right now writing this on a Saturday morning, court mandated. Why? After my relapse last summer in 2012, I got on a methadone program and eventually needed to replace the void where my drugs and the lifestyle once lived. I avoided narcotics anonymous because I was embarrassed, and ashamed. I was lonely, depressed and secluded. The five finger urge began because I needed things for the kids but eventually it grew and became an obsession. It gave me a high and filled the void.
Like many shoplifters, everyone gets caught after getting away with it about 50 times on average. After I was arrested, I stopped shoplifting but the void came back with a vengeance That is when I began to search for what I needed in a healthier outlets, group therapy, narcotics anonymous even though I crawled through the doors with my tail between my legs, they welcomed me back with love. Even walking the dog every day helped me and gave me a feeling of purpose. Sticking to a routine seems boring but it saved my life. It is monotonous and watering my plants every day is a huge difference from robbing some dealer, or getting into high speed chases with cops or stealing and getting away with it. That is a pretty big difference from finding purpose in accomplishing these little things every day, finding gratitude and enjoyment in everyday life, the real world. I think because I know they are the steps and I need to take them to maintain a healthy, balanced, clean life.
The reality though is the disease of addiction is not just the drug, which is a symptom, but deadly serious symptom, but a symptom nonetheless. So here’s the truth and rather harsh reality about getting clean and hitting bottom. Most anyone can quit using for short period of time. Maybe you buy yourself with a few suboxones, and cut yourself off from some of the people you used was. The suboxone does take away some withdraw symptoms. You think after you get over that few days, maybe a week or two of withdraw, the physical addiction and you can stay clean. For those of us who have tried that a million times and know it does not last let’s move on.
Those of you who think that it will work, well all I can do is share my experience, every junkie I know, including myself, has tried this and it does not work. I am not saying suboxone does not work, quite the contrary, under a doctor’s care and in combination with a program of recovery, it can work for some people. I know for myself methadone and narcotics anonymous are the only things that can help me. Everyone is completely different and what helps one person may not another. What I am talking about is the street care for getting clean. Getting some suboxone from the street, stop answering the phone for people you used with and then sweating it out for a week or two. Then you consider yourself clean and swear you will never use again
. No one can quit addiction on their own without some sort of program of recovery and support. This is my hardcore advice. It comes from years of watching others try and trying myself many, many times. In fact I used to try to keep a small piece of suboxone on me at all times. If I could not find anything (opiates,) I would wait until it was so bad, and I was so sick, that I could not stand it anymore and I would reluctantly take the suboxone. I know some of you are rereading that sentence because you did the same thing. Suboxone has a blocker in it so once you take it, the withdraw will subside for or a bit, only now you have screwed yourself because Murphy ’s Law will kick you in the ass.
The phone rings, or someone stops by with a bundle. It always goes down that way and then what do you do? The drugs, why? You know you are not going to get as high, at least not as high as if you had not taken the suboxone. You do it anyway, yeah spend the money on something that is not going to get you high because you have a disease. It is the disease of addiction all wrapped up in its compulsions and obsessions that cause you to continuously repeat the same behaviors over and over again. Then you get sick of it. You don’t want to live like this anymore, so you decide to stop again, then stock up on suboxones, again to help with the withdraw. You stop answering the phone for people, stay away from all that stuff and throw out all your using paraphernalia which you kick yourself for later.
Eventually you cave, usually when a pharmacy is not open to get the darts (needles) so you find yourself in someone’s home at 3:00 AM while they are sleeping upstairs soundly. You unscrew the heating vent downstairs because you stashed some paraphernalia there before. Jackpot for the moment, in reality the cycle of Hell has just begun again.
Until you get to a point where you really want help, where you’re willing to do anything you can to stay clean, it will not happen. That is the sad truth for the family and friends who have watched it, heard it, prayed, begged, interventions, and done everything they possibly could to save you. It will not work until the addict wants it more and then the hell they are trapped in.
There is no cure, there is no magic pill. Replacement therapy works for some, methadone or suboxone, properly dispensed by a Doctor and monitored but not without back up, serious backup, support, counseling, self-help programs and their lives cut off from everything, everyone and anyway are associated with drugs. It leaves a very dark, deep hole in the addict they may be clean, but the world they have lived in, everything they have known and everyone they thought they cared about in a twisted reality is gone. Emptiness, confusion and depression replaces it.
Most anyone who loved or loves them, family and friends from before the Hell began, are gone, and refuse to believe it can actually happen, a junkie can recover. They are desperate and the family has heard it all before and does not want to get hurt, so they stick to their guns and they maintain their distances. To protect themselves from getting hurt again. Some are lucky and have family and friends that never give up and will not abandon them, those recovering addicts have no idea how fortunate they really are.
For the rest of us, just only we alone have to claw our way out, get clean, build support networks and hang on with all they got. Bottom line that emptiness, that void where the drugs and the lifestyle used to be will devour you if you don’t do anything about it. Recognize it, and reach out for help, your life depends on it.