Sunday, March 4, 2012


Addiction is a scary thing. The only drug I'm addicted to is nicotine. But I've seen firsthand what addiction will drive people to. Some of the worst addictions I've seen are behavioral not drugs.

Everything in moderation is a good rule. But one that's hard to stick to. We long to be happy and instead of working hard and making real accomplishments we often take the easy happiness.

The quick drink at the bar to calm the day away can becomes drinking every night to erase the day or just to feel the softnening of the world around you. People drink to alleviate real physical pain, emotional pain, and the pain of boredom. They chase the bottle because it helps at least temporarily. It stops the thinking the doubting. Everything just is rather than having to do something about it. I know a lady who drank her way through not just one but two livers. She died an alcoholic and in pain. I know a man who after 20 plus years of sobriety decided he could handle a drink which led to just one more until he stumbled to his car and on the way home hit and killed a kid on a bike.

Addictions cost us. The money for the booze or pills or cigarettes. The slow buildup of poison in the body. It can cost relationships. It can even cost a life.

All for an easy fix. A quick snort. Just one more time.

Why not just walk away from it? How hard can it be? As anyone who'll admit to addiction will say, harder than they think they can stand. The brain and body become so used to the toxins they begin to need them. Any reformed smoker can tell you, the first quit doesn't usually take. We backslide into the habits even after they no longer bring us joy or even the illusion of contentment. We start up again because we just need to feel normal. We need it to get through the day. Without it there's craving and temper and withdrawal. Which depending on your drug of choice can be agonizing.

And if we succeed in quitting and get past the withdrawal and all that comes with it. Then we can transfer onto something new. We ease off one then overdo on another. Quitting drinking means you're smoking like a fiend. Finally off the heroin, here's some methadone. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

Someone once told me it takes three days to make a habit and seven to break it. That sounds about right. And we are creatures of habit. The vast majority of us stick to routine. Whether it's having our morning caffeine and nicotine or getting blitzed after work.

Am I saying there's no hope? Of course there's hope. It's hard work everyday. Stopping the habits as soon as you see them start. Remembering that quick fixes never truly fix anything. They just leave you more broken in the end. Support is necessary. We are fallible. We need help. Asking for it can be the hardest thing to do.

Take it minute by minute then hour by hour then day by day. Each minute counts. I'm truly proud of my friends who have managed to save themselves from their addictions. It's a hard hard task and I honor them for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment