I’ve struggled finding my serenity lately. I’ve been a bit rattled and feeling a little unraveled. Addiction is a disease. Left untreated, I tend to break out in handcuffs. Accepting that addiction is an illness means recognizing that fueling and feeding my disease with drugs and alcohol leads to no good. It’s hard for people to understand. Lots of people drink and some even do drugs without getting out of hand. I know people who can have one drink and stop. I don’t understand them, but I recognize they exist. Personally, I could never do one of anything. More was always better.
We live in a world that loves labels. People like to know what box you fit in. It makes them uncomfortable if you color outside the lines or refuse to be boxed in according to their perceived notions of who they think you should be and how you ought to behave. They want to deny that you have an illness despite seeing that your life is spinning out of control. I get it. I want to deny it too. But I can’t. It’s not a luxury God granted me. For me, sobriety is the difference between living and dying.
I can’t spend time worrying what other people believe about addiction. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. After all, they’re not the ones in need of recovery. I am. It’s hard though. We want people to like us. We like to please people. We want to make the people in our lives happy, as if we actually have the superpower to do that. I struggle to make me happy. How the hell am I going to make someone else happy?
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
Addiction is a taker. It takes all you got and comes screaming back for more. That’s why each time you try to get sober and relapse, you fall harder and deeper than you did before the last time was the last time. You remember that night, right? You were hugging the porcelain god, puking your heart out, praying to the heavens above that if you survive this bender you’ll stop. You promise to quit using. Then you toss your cookies up in the sink. Not your finest hour, no doubt.
Luke 9:23 (NIV)
“Then he said to the crowd, if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
As recent high-profile celebrity relapses have reminded us, the struggle is real. Money and fame don’t insulate us from addiction. We have to learn to live differently than before. We must keep life simple. We live today–right now–not yesterday, not tomorrow. We tackle one day at a time. We diligently practice keeping track of our own inventory, keeping the list short, making amends quickly. We learn not to take other people’s inventories. That’s not our job. Working on ourselves is full-time work. It’s not for the timid. You want it–you gotta work it.
People need our help. Not to help them is selfish and self-centered. People are dying, literally, from addiction. Over a hundred people die from addiction every. single. day. 100. That’s one person every fifteen minutes. As recovering addicts ourselves, we are uniquely equipped to help other addicts. We have to be present to do that. We have to show up. We have to work our program so that we can help others work theirs.
Addiction is death. Recovery is life. Choose life.
If you or a loved are struggling with addiction, get help.
You can find resources near you, here.