I'M JUST A HEAVY USER, ADDICTION WAS FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
I always thought addiction was for other people. I however was just a heavy user, self-medicating and fully in control. I just chose to get so high I was destroying my own life, and I wasn't able to see otherwise until it was almost too late.
I now come to understand that it was not my life circumstances that made me an addict. For years I did blame my family, my trauma, my career or my relationships for my using. If anyone else had lived my life they would have done the same, I'd think.
As a young teenager I found alcohol and drugs alluring. They were mysterious and allowed me to disappear, leaving behind the need to think or participate in life. I surrounded myself with other heavy users but when they stopped, I couldn't. It wasn't always extreme - it started with recreational drugs every other month, and only drinking on weekends. Then slowly the blackouts became the norm, there was no point going out without drugs, and my sober friends seemed boring. The worst feeling in the world was when I would run out, and had to wait for my dealer to get back to me. I would scour my place for the slightest hints of my favourite drug, put myself in dangerous situations, because my need to get high was above my self-respect and safety. Somewhere I had crossed the line from a casual user to someone who was thinking about getting high non-stop. When I was with family and friends, I was thinking about how I could leave to get stoned. When I was running out of money I spent my last bit on drugs instead of food or rent.
I was not the type of addict I had been seeing in media though. I always had good grades, an enviable career, and my life more or less in order. But in the last years of my using it got steadily worse. I became suicidal, barely left the house and could not keep any relationship going.
This is where I was at when I entered DAA. I felt utterly alone, hopeless and broken. I was shocked in my first meeting as I heard my own innermost thoughts coming out of people's mouths. They spoke about my own experiences, but they now seemed content. They were able to maintain eye contact and speak coherent sentences, and all sober! I had nothing to lose and was desperate to have a shot at this way of life, so I threw myself into the programme. I came to three meetings a week, I got a sponsor, and I finally admitted I was powerless over this disease. It was not my fault that I had it, but it was now my responsibility to fix it. I learned that the drugs were not the problem, but it was my inability to sit with myself sober, how I clung to resentments and fears. The 12 steps addressed that in a way that years of therapy could not, because I needed a fundamental change that I have now been given. That was over 3 years ago and my life is unrecognisable. I don't crave drugs anymore but am able to date, party and socialise the same. I wake up every day grateful for the life I have and am still in awe of the miracle I have been given.
If you think your experience with using might be similar, try a meeting. Worst case scenario you waste an hour, but likely your entire life will change just like mine has.