Category Archives: Drug Addiction

The Funny Side of Addiction Treatment

When we get a period of abstinence and put some work into our recovery, we discover our new found sense of humour. For years in our active addiction we are very serious and focused on making our lives as miserable as they could possibly get. Although addiction is a very serious life threatening disease, what recovery gives us is the ability to laugh at ourselves. We meet other like-minded people, and find that we are really not alone in our history of misdemeanours, failed and sometimes comical attempts at abstinence.

We have cunning plans to fool our disease into getting clean, we look at every possible route to abstinence without looking at the actual ways that will enable us to succeed: like treatment, therapy and 12 step fellowships. We look to relationships, we find someone who will attempt to save us from ourselves and inevitably it will more like likely go wrong and we end up destroying it through no fault of our own, we sabotage, we are needy and put high expectations on our objects of obsessions ( by obsessions of course I mean affection!) we look at doing the “geographical” we move to other areas in the hope that we can cut ourselves off from the dealers, the circle of acquaintances that co-sign our destructive behaviours and our families, sometimes very drastic moves, but as you will learn if you are around other addicts in recovery for long enough, they will always remind you, that if you don’t put the work into yourself you will inevitably fail as you always take yourself with you. Great!

We think we are special and different, with needs that no one will ever meet, problems that can’t be solved and we convince ourselves that we are so damaged that we can never truly heal, so what’s the point!

Well I’m sorry to be the one to gently burst your bubble, but no one is that special or different, if our needs are genuine, they will be met with the help and support of peers, therapists and medical professionals. Yes we are damaged and extremely sensitive, but we do possess an internal strength and a high level of endurance that we totally underestimate, and we do have the tools and resources that we use in our active addiction that can be put to use in a counterproductive manner that will enable us to succeed and heal from the past if we utilise them in a manner that is productive and conducive to healing, so yes there is a point, it’s called liberty.

With this new found liberty we can achieve whatever we set out to do, our dreams and schemes that we promised would become reality suddenly become reality and not just the ramblings of our former inebriated selves in a bar or on the magic sofa that took us on journeys to sometimes mythical lands. We are creative, resourceful, high achievers with the ability to see the most difficult of tasks through, we got clean, that in itself for a hopeless addict/ alcoholic is a miraculous feat!

So, how did we actually get here?

Well there were probably a whole series of events, if we were to go into all the stupid things we have did in our active addiction, we would probably be locked away for the good of ourselves and society, some of us were….

In the course of both my work and recovery, I have had the great pleasure of meeting some amazing individuals, with side splitting tales of misfortune and disaster, tales of deportation, injury, near death and downright slapstick. When presented to a non- addict, who may have not had any dealings with addiction these tales are horrifying, worrying and may cause them feelings of discomfort, when presented to fellow recovering addicts, they are received with guffaws and similar stories to match. Addicts have faced death on many occasions, every time we flick a 1 mil, every time we buy a white powder neatly folded like origami and every time we take a drink and contemplate driving, we put our lives and others at risk.

What facing death on many occasions gives us when we find abstinence, is the ability to look back on our behaviours and laugh at them, it may be a life and death situation, but we survived to tell the tales and share them with others for the purpose of identification, this is invaluable, no one knows us like we know ourselves, hence this is why you may find that when you enter alcohol rehab, drug addiction treatment, harm reduction, access addiction counselling, etc. that you may just be working with another addict/alcoholic who found recovery and has entered into the field of addiction and wellbeing in order to help others who are in the process they were in. what you may find is that they will challenge you in a manner that is different from other professionals, as they know how serious this stuff is and they will try various routes to connect and challenge you, remember that you can’t kid a kidder, and thankfully so in this case.

So you see, it’s not all doom and gloom, all the best people are abstinent, and hearing stories of mishaps and crazy schemes keeps me alive with hope that there is life after death. Who knows you may just be funny enough to make a living out of it, don’t laugh, it’s been done before…..

The Reality of Drug Addiction Recovery

Nobody warns you, no one approaches you in your 1st day of abstinence and says, “Here comes the pain!” Nobody warns you about the responsibility of being in recovery brings. For years you trundle up a treacle mountain of unmanageability and chaos, accepting the perception of reality that comes with years of sourcing substances, the mundane, often risky task of obtaining funds to purchase them, and the ritual of using, usually to be left with a feeling of emptiness, and the hopeless knowledge that it all has to be done again and again. You resign yourself to the acceptance that this is how it’s going to be forever, and that there is no solution apart from either an immediate or a long slow painful death.

If we get lucky, somebody close to us may stage an intervention and drag us kicking and screaming to a 12 step fellowship, where we may proclaim that we don’t have a problem and go back to using to do further research, or we are so beaten down that we stay and listen. We may take the drug addiction therapy route, maybe it’s been suggested by a medical professional or an acquaintance. There are many different routes we have taken, but they all lead to one place, abstinence based recovery and responsibility.

Some of us came into recovery with no ties, no family or employment responsibilities and had the ability to throw ourselves into the middle of it, partaking in groups, coffee shop recovery, copious meetings and volunteering for the treatment facility that supported us in our recovery. Some of us came in with the responsibility of children and employment commitments and could manage a few meetings and limited time for step work. Whatever route our early recovery takes us on, it’s individual to us.

The one thing we have in common is that we are usually emotionally, practically and spiritually stunted. We come in with debt, insecure housing health issues and unemployment. Some of us have been separated from our children as a consequence of our addictive and destructive behaviours.

What we are presented with, when we clean-up, is the dilemma of how to approach and deal with these issues, what we are presented with are new found feelings! We became numb through our using and didn’t have the capacity to feel or deal with reality, including paying bills, being reliable, caring for our children and participating in education and employment. It’s overwhelming and it feels like it was easier in our previous existence. We become accountable to those around us and we suddenly need to become present in our families lives. What this brings up are the flaws and dysfunction within our families, we become willing to change our behaviours and patterns, and our significant others can sometimes be reluctant to allow you to change. It’s very important to not take on board the issues your family have, your recovery is paramount. Working with your peer support group and speaking with your sponsor is very useful in these times, as they will have experience of how to address this. Over time it becomes easier to manoeuver the issues and separate out what is your property and what you can let go of. We let go of destructive, co-dependant relationships leaving room to form newer healthier relationships with likeminded people. We become emotionally mature enough to parent our children and to heal the relationship, set new boundaries and strengthen bonds, sometimes this takes years of work, but we are willing and are sometimes powerless over the outcomes.

Sometimes we struggle with multiple addictions, like food, nicotine, sex and shopping etc. all these can be detrimental to our recovery, but can addressed with the help of our sponsor, support network or seeking medical support. Overall our lives become better, we become reliable employees, friends and members of groups. We generally enjoy financial and emotional stability and when all seems hopeless we have an amazing group of people around us who have usually experienced the same feelings and who are on hand to remind us that it gets better, it will pass and you’re right where you need to be!