Recovery is not about acquiring time. 943 days means absolutely nothing if those days were spent in misery, depression, and disorientation. Recovery is about establishing direction and purpose in one’s life. It’s difficult and unlikely for someone to instill control, aspiration and intent back into their life after it has been derailed. This type of restraint and discipline entails support and guidance from some other resource that is not yourself. If left to our own devices, we are devious and insidious mother f*ckers. Our addictions have programmed our brain to seek reward and instant gratification at all costs. I know some of you are thinking, “Well, I’m not an addict by definition but I do feel lost and depressed, so now what?” I hate that we even question our level of dependence to a substance just because we don’t wake up reaching for the bottle or the needle. Obsession is the cornerstone of addiction. Utilizing a substance to cope is the main ingredient in the complexity of obsession. When you require alcohol to decompress, you are relying on a substance; your peace of mind is dependent on the consumption of that substance. Addiction is not black or white. It’s a complicated symptom of feeling miserable, absent and hopeless.
In 2015, I attempted to quit drinking on my own. I hit a fork in the road where I was forced to choose between my love affair with alcohol or myself. At this stage in the game, the love I had for myself was minimal. Sobriety was equivalent to misery. I was moody, lonely, and insecure when it was me, myself and I. Alcohol was my booster pack, the nudge that I needed to become “extraordinary.” Just the mere thought of happy hour gave me the incentive and desire to conquer the day. Obviously, this is not a physical dependence, this is a psychological dependence. I have suffered both dependencies and I must admit that the physical dependency was easier to defeat than the psychological reliance. Physical dependency is painful, yet it is straightforward and temporary. The bodily pain distracted me from my dangerous, devious mind. Repairing cognition, on the other hand, is infinite and intricate. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and desperation do not magically disappear into the abyss. Processing emotional pain requires help and guidance. When I tried to “recover” on my own, I felt even more lost and confused. I was exponentially more depressed and anxious than I was before I quit drinking. Why? Because the alcohol provided me with an outlet, an escape from the pain. You don’t develop healthy coping skills simply by terminating the unhealthy ones. Clearly, my ability to logically cope was nonexistent. My own thoughts steered me into a ditch and then, I expected those same thoughts to propel me out of the hole. How delusional is that?
If you are experiencing pain, depression, anger, hopelessness, loneliness, there is a way out. Every week I receive messages from people asking for guidance. Don’t hesitate to DM me!!! I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers, but I will help you.
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Another great article. I definitely agree that breaking the physical addiction is far easier than psychosocial addiction. I always felt that focusing solely on “stop the drinking” wasn’t right. Figuring out the “why” is the key to long term sobriety. Thanks again for sharing.