Confessions Of An Addict (In Recovery)
Dear Friends and Family,
I used you, manipulated you, lied to you and broke your heart. While you cried a thousand tears for me, I was out getting high. I make no excuses. I was driven by an evil, urgent need that had no conscience, integrity, values or morals. I put you through hell and I regret that. Going forward I will stop making promises, and start making amends. In other words, I won’t tell you I’m sorry, I’ll show you.
Actions speak louder than words. I said “I’m sorry,” every time I screwed up – and then repeated the behavior time and time again. My words were lies. I even believed the lies, myself. When I felt guilty I lied. When I was afraid, I lied. When I was angry or I felt cornered, I lied. If I was having a good day, I lied. I lied about other people, especially if they confronted me on my addiction. I lied about how much I used, when I used, what I used, where I went and how much I was spending. All my lies focused on how others were acting, which allowed me to turn a blind eye – to me.
My friends and family worried about me. They saw my decline, and tried to address it. But I was not open to that conversation. If you were worried about me, it was you who had the problem. I took your love and concern and accused you of being a control freak. If you’d have told me I was on fire, I would have said you started it. I blamed you for everything I did. Unless you were cooperating with my addiction, I hated you. If you tried to get in the way of me using, I felt angry and betrayed by you. I used arguments to fuel my addiction. I was self-righteous about my usage. After all, it was your fault!
There were moments of shame and clarity, usually the morning after, but they were fleeting and soon, things would begin to build again. The build up to another relapse was a feeling of crankiness, and misery, as my mind collected and stored negative data. I’m not sure why this happens. Maybe addiction needs an excuse to exist. I was always looking for reasons to get loaded. Reasons like; my kids were misbehaving. My husband was ignoring me. I was stressed out. My boss treated me poorly. I was depressed. I was tired and needed a little pick me up.
With all this was going on in my head, I grew more and more negative with those closest to me. I found fault with them. They didn’t look right, sound right or do anything right. In fact they were – so not right – they angered me and I wanted to get away from them.
I didn’t know it then, but that restless irritable, discontent – nasty itch – that was going on in me, is how this disease plays out. I never guessed the buildup was my addiction. I thought addiction was about drinking and drugging. But it’s not. Drugs and alcohol are just a symptom of dishonest thinking and unhealthy living, for people who struggle with low self-esteem and mental health issues.
It didn’t stop there either. Addiction is a family illness. The people who stayed in my life when I was actively using didn’t make me well, instead they grew sick. To be in relationship with someone who abuses substance you must lower your moral standards and give up a lot. I used to think it was me who was suffering. And it was, to a point. But I don’t believe I suffered to the extent my poor family did. After all, I was high. They were not. At that time I was emotionally unavailable to all who loved me. I put my needs before everyone else’s, including my children. I was verbally abusive, financially irresponsible, and unreliable. I was toxic to anyone who crossed my path.
Addicts bully their families to maintain their habit. If your loved one struggles with addiction you will need support. Had my family continued to put up with my abusive behavior and kept enabling me, I wouldn’t be writing this post. I wouldn’t be clean and sober, and honestly, I don’t think I’d be alive.
But I am alive and I’m very grateful for that.
Many years have passed since then. I’ve learned letting go, is really about caring. My family backed away from me, with love. They reached out for help and allowed me to experience the consequences of my actions. It was these consequences that forced me to get sober.
When I took responsibility for my actions, things began to change. The greatest gift of my sobriety today, is spending time with the people I love. Like any family we have our struggles, but the upside is we have learned how to fit together in peace, love, trust and harmony.
Mine is not an unusual story. There are millions of stories just like it and they all have one thing in common – someone reached out for help.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 1 888 614-2379.