If you are reading this, you have probably been touched by the cold grips of addiction in some form or another: you are addicted, your family member is addicted, or perhaps your spouse or good friend has fallen into the endless cycle of addiction. Most of us probably know or love someone whose life has been been sucked into the black hole of addiction at one point. But the good news is not all of us cross the event horizon, the point of no return... there is a way to come back to the light.
We at krēd wish to carry the message of recovery to the world, to end the stigma associated with addiction, to bring hope to those who are lost. We are not a twelve step program; we are simply those who have wandered, been lost and have found our way again. We share our strength, experience and hope in hopes that we may guide another addict to recovery. Our families share their support and hope with other families affected by this dark disease. We can and do recover. Our brand of recovery at krēd is one that focuses on the balance of the mental, physical and spiritual.
The first thing you must know about addiction is that it IS a disease. Many of us have the belief that addiction is nothing more than a moral disorder: a lack of will power, a lack of ethics and caring. While selfishness and self-centeredness are at the heart of this disease, we must all understand that addiction is MUCH more than a lack of control caused by immorality. It is truly a disease of the mind.
Most, if not all of us, fall into addiction not knowing the peril that lies ahead. It simply starts out as a good time here and there - an escape from the stress of everyday life. Perhaps when we tried our first drug, we realized that we could get through our day a little easier or maybe we found we could fall asleep without the worries of the past and future racing through our heads as we lay in tumult in a bed that just never felt comfortable. Maybe we were running from something much darker and this drug offered a much needed break from the chaos within. We never knew that this temporary feeling would be our downfall.
First we used a few days out of the week. Then the days began to run together. We thought, "why not feel like this all the time?" Soon we were using throughout the day and into the night. We only began to realize something was not right when we ran out of our drugs. But even then, the desire to find more provided endless justification for why we should keep using. "You'll just get through tomorrow," or "you just need to make it through this week" were the words being whispered in our heads from an all too familiar voice. Or perhaps it came from the darker places, "this will numb the pain; this is how you survive." Whatever the endless reasons we found for using, use we did.
Then one day, we found we couldn’t score. It's happened before but this time something is wrong. Really wrong. The utterly torturous feeling of desperation begins to creep up inside ourselves. That gentle whisper gets louder and louder and LOUDER. Soon the only thing we can hear is that voice screaming, "MORE! MORE!" Our bodies become indescribably sick and we shake because we're so helplessly hooked that we literally need that substance just to exist. The thought of not having any more is not an option. We will do literally anything to get more. We will steal, rob, lie, cheat and sell ourselves just to get one more. One more.... one more. One more.
Once we finally get our fix, the screaming stops. In one pristine moment, everything is good again. But before we know it, that voice is back. We know we have a problem but that voice keeps telling us what we want to hear. It tells us, "you'll quit next week," or "you can stop, you just have to get through this little bump in life." We know these are lies but you see, our brains have been altered.
What makes us human, what makes us who we are as people: our thoughts, our actions, our emotions, our ability to think is all governed by neurotransmitters. The progressively more frequent use and increased doses had been slowly changing the way our brain functioned. We had been artificially adding the neurotransmitters that affect everything about us: our thoughts, our actions, our emotions, our ability to think. Soon, our brain could only function with the artificially induced neurotransmitters meaning we had literally, on a physiological level, become different people. We had truly become addicts. We could not think, feel or function without drugs. We had no choice. As breathing is necessary to every human's existence, so had drugs become necessary to our existence. We literally NEEDED drugs to survive. We did awful things to get what we needed. EVERY addict has or does carry shame and guilt about what their selfish, self-centered obsession wrought in their lives and the lives of those around them.
But, there is hope. There is a way to overcome this horrible disease we call addiction. There is recovery. One of the hardest parts for any family must be watching their loved ones go through this and not knowing what the outcome will be. Sadly, no one knows. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for why some people recover and others don't.
I sometimes wonder what made me want to quit and yet I still can't quite put my finger on it. At one point I had just had enough. I had relapsed in rehab and gotten discharged. I had nowhere to go and no hope... I was desperate. But as they sometimes say, desperation can be a gift because sometimes it takes us being desperate to finally choose life. I went to a halfway house and got plugged into a fellowship of recovering addicts. There are different forms and approaches to recovery and I took a Twelve Step approach, and it has worked wonders for me.
If you'd like to hear and see more about recovery and the truth about addiction, check our very own Chad Gibson’s story on WBIR.com here: Heroin Hits Home
We hope this short blog will have given you a little perspective on the addict and addiction itself. Always keep with you this one little thought: there is hope, people do recover.