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Responsibility in Recovery

April 19, 2013
addiction

addiction (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

We are told that we have a disease, a deadly, incurable disease of addiction.  We are told that it is not our fault, we have a disease just like someone who has heart disease.  The difference is we cannot physically see our disease on a scan or through blood tests.  It makes it difficult to accept.  The family, the addict, their friends and loved ones, feel that disease or not there is problem.  The addict cannot help themselves, the keep doing it, compulsively using regardless of the consequences.  They obsess over it, isolate, and fall deeper into the lifestyle   Their family and loved ones try so hard to help, then turn their backs, only to be let down, again.  These are useless attempts, no one can save us, we have to save ourselves.

So we ask for help.  We seek it out in many different ways.  There are many different stories addicts bring to the table at meetings and groups.  We identify with some aspects and some things are different.  Bottom line is we all came to recovery beaten in one form or another.  Some are forced in by a judge, others by their families and loved ones, others are curious and some do not know where else to go.  Whatever their reasons for arriving at the doors of recovery, one thing is consistent, addicts have to be willing and ready to do what it takes to get clean.  Once we cross that line, once we have heard the message, it is up to us to do something about our addiction.  We can go back out or stay.  We have a choice but we cannot even entertain that thought of change unless we are completely ready, until we have hit our bottom.

Rock bottom is different for everyone.  Until we hit rock bottom and are entirely willing to get clean even if we cannot do it at that moment, we are physically addicted and cannot stop.  If we are willing to stop but do not know how, then we have hit our bottom and are ready to do whatever it takes to get clean.  We have a disease, one which we are not responsible for or maybe we are, maybe we knew the dangers but picked up anyway.  I personally believe that I was born an addict.  I did not have a choice, I used to have fun at first.  I drank and smoked pot to “have fun” but in reality, I wanted to escape.  I hated my life, who I was, what had happened to me, all I wanted was to forget about it and drugs and alcohol gave me the courage to express myself.  Experimentation led to addiction I believe from the time I first picked up.

I held it together fairly well for eleven years.  I was married with three kids by the time I was twenty four or twenty five.  I did my best to be a good mother, a good wife, a good student and I did well.  I graduated with honors with a Master’s Degree.  My husband left and six months later my father died.   I was hanging on by a thread when my dad died, then the doctors prescribed me hydrocodones.   That was it, I was shooting up heroin nine months later.

I had to want to get clean and in the begin I thought I did.  I got into a methadone program in November 2010. I stopped using heroin in January of 2011, not because I wanted to but because my methadone was at a blocking dose and I did not feel anything anymore.  I was wasting my money.  I was smoking crack too and that I could feel.  It was not until I walked through the doors of Narcotics Anonymous that I heard something I could relate to.  In March of 2011 I quit everything. Not because I had to, no one was making me.  The clinic was getting upset and wanted me to go to rehab, I had my bags packed, I was ready to go.  It never happened though, I did not use again until last summer when I relapsed.  I got clean because I was tired of it all, I got clean because I wanted to get clean.

We may have a disease of addiction.  It is not our fault but we have to be responsible for our recovery everyday.  Not just in a fleeting moment of desperation or inspiration.  Although it can begin there.  Whatever it takes, whatever the reasons, it does not matter how we arrived at recovery’s door.  What matters is that we arrived there and it is our responsibility to stay there.  It takes hard work and courage.  We will never be perfect, we will never be cured but we can be happy and we can change, it is possible but addicts can be lead to the door of recovery but they have to open the door.

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