As an addict and when I have been actively using, I grasp only at the shadow of things. I neither relate to people as if they are real, nor do I communicate as a mature, loving person. Instead, I have pursued phantoms and a few dragons, and in the end, have found only dissatisfaction.
Addictions diminish and demean us as much as they allow us to see things only as extensions of ourselves. We become afraid of individuality and differences. We allow ourselves to see other people only as reflections of ourselves.
Through my efforts to grow personally and in my recovery, I have come to need substance in my life. It is when I am working at real problems, connecting with people as they are that I truly feel alive. In my relationships, if I am to see growth, I need to give and receive genuine and authentic love and affection.
In my healthy relationships with family and friends, and in my recovery groups and network, I find substance and particularity. I find authentic people who are learning not to be afraid to extend themselves and who come to meet and greet me in life. Together, we can all learn to live and to love as vital, whole individuals in a real world.
I am learning to get out of the shadows and darkness of my addictions and wanted to share my experience with my readers so that we can all live in a world of substance, reality and love.
“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” — Aesop
“The great law of culture; let each become what he is capable of becoming.” – Thomas Carlyle
Each of us is unique, precious and human. We need to join in the movements of life and culture that encourage us all to grow and change and live out the fullest of our potential.
By remaining immersed in addiction, we are simply joining the ranks of the dead in life, those who deny the possibility of growth and becoming. Addiction is a stunting illness that holds back the healthy forward movement of life.
In recovery, there will be moments of hesitation and even relapse. Relapse is part of recovery. When this happens, do not lose faith in yourself because we are constantly strengthened through our personal growth and recovery work. Insight will be gained and the support we need will be found in our groups and through our connection to our Higher Power. And so we continue to reconnect with our own rhythm and pattern of growth. Try making this affirmation to yourself: “I am part of a living culture and I am capable of change and growth.”
Some days I wonder, “How am I ever going to recover from my addictions?” “What more must I do to get well?” These are the basic questions I ask myself, as I struggle with my illness: an addiction to Crystal Meth.
The questions I ask in my mind are obvious, once I have taken time to really think about what is going on in my life. And the answers are just as simple – stop acting out, stop using, stay busy, and work my plan of personal growth through the SMART Recovery program, whose logical approach works best for me.
I know however, that it’s not enough to just go to those meetings once each week and putting in my time. Easy solutions may seem plausible, but just mouthing the words isn’t going to do the job. I have been a sick person, very sick at times, and I am going to struggle sometimes to see things straight again; to get back on course. The route is charted by the people who support me.
Counselors and good friends have become my guides. But when all is said and done, I have to make the choice to accept the answers and the help that will bring me renewal and health. I know the way forward to health isn’t easy, but I have confidence in myself that I will come through. Like the elegant Phoenix, I too shall rise from the ashes and be beautiful!
Sex addiction. It can be an easy way to hide from other people. We can delude ourselves that, since no one knows what we’re doing, our actions aren’t that bad. It’s possible to live a double life: a healthy person some of the time, and a rtunately, it is often necessary to find ourselves in great pain or facing horrible consequences before we confront our behavior. Otherwise, the complex defense system we erect to “protect’ our addiction also keeps us from learning the honesty we need to recover.
Sex addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Rigorous honesty is important, especially in telling other people what we would rather keep hidden. It is usually the things we try to ignore that we are yearning to share and let go. We owe it to ourselves to be as honest as the program teaches us to be.
Looking for an alternative to 12 Step programs? Heard about SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery (Self Management and Recovery Training) is an international non-profit organization which provides assistance to individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviors. The approach used is secular and science-based using non-confrontational motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. Substance/activity dependence is viewed by the organization as a dysfunctional habit (rather than a disease), while allowing that it is possible that certain people have a predisposition towards addictive behavior.
The meetings are free for all wishing to attend, and are intended to be informational as well as supportive. Approximately 365 weekly group meetings led by volunteer facilitators are held worldwide. In addition, the organization provides online resources and support to the volunteers and those attending the groups and one or more daily online meetings.
Meetings are held in many states including: Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
“At the bottom of the modern man there is always a great thirst of self-forgetfulness, self-distraction…and therefore he turns away from all those problems and abysses which might recall to him his own nothingness.”– Henri Amiel (1821-1881), Swiss Philosopher and Poet
I am aware of the way I sometimes rush around or slide off into the land of fantasy to distract myself from looking at myself too closely. Am I afraid that what I might find is nothing but my own… nothingness? Are my addictions a misguided search for some kind of identity at any price?
I am discovering that identity is not something given, once and for all. Perhaps there is never a fixed point at which I can say, “I am that.” Life is a process, upheaval, reversal, change and a continuous process of becoming. If I can be brave enough to welcome change and the pains it can cause, I may never have to fear the vertigo of nothingness or the madness of distraction that becomes self-destruction.