I didn’t wake up one day saying, “Today’s the day I will become an alcoholic.” I didn’t want to make the choices I made when I was drinking. I didn’t want to pay an outrageous amount of money for numerous stints in treatment. And most of all, I didn’t want to hurt those people around me.
But I did.
My wife’s cousin works for SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and just this past week we came together to talk about an upcoming walk that I have in the works that will hopefully raise awareness. As we got to talking, we started touching on how insane and unstable an addict’s thinking patterns can become. We talked about how a person who does not struggle with addiction doesn’t even think about using in his or her daily life. It’s not like they wake up and immediately start thinking of how and when they will smoke crack, inject heroin, take pills, etc. It’s not even a thought that ever crosses their minds, because their patterns of thinking and functioning are normal in this sense.
An addict’s thinking is much different than this. It is entirely abnormal, because when we wake up and think about using during the day, we find it appealing. We use because we feel we have to in order to get through the day. There was a point in my life where I went to an audition, but wasn’t able to try out until I threw back a few shots. Using had become ritualistic, just like brushing my teeth or combing my hair.
Even with the information that the general public has on addiction today, some people are still so blind to what addiction truly is. For example, some people are still unaware that even recreational use of drugs can signify a problem. This is another one of the many things my wife’s cousin and I were talking about during our meeting. For example, sometimes I hear people say “I’ll only take a couple Oxy’s on the weekends here and there,” or “I only do a little cocaine”. With that being said, people try to justify recreational use, but its important to understand that there are different levels of addiction. The patterns of thinking are exactly the same, even if a person is not the “typical” addict.
My addiction took me to that place where I wasn’t able to think for myself. My disease overpowered my thinking, and I was left feeling like I was no longer comfortable in my own skin. I am grateful that today I can recognize that while there is no justification for my actions, I can hold myself accountable in ways that keep me from ever being brought back to that place again.