Sad man sitting looking down at the ground

Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.

Dear Drugs. I Hate You.

Abusing substance nearly destroyed my life. It took away my children and left me homeless. I lost the will to live and was contemplating suicide. Each time I picked up, I risked death. I couldn’t live with drugs, and I couldn’t live without them.

I was caught in a trap of my own making.

Looking back it’s clear. Yet at the time I struggled to see my addiction. Instead, I’d come up with another plan. I’d switch drugs, or use sleep medication to bring myself down. If only I could find the perfect formula, I wouldn’t have to give up my best friend – my worst enemy.

In short, I found a million ways to avoid doing the one thing I didn’t want to do… Let go of drugs.

The last time I used was under a cement ramp. It wasn’t cool or glorious. It was pathetic. My world had shrunk down to a dark cubby-hole that reeked of urine. My worldly possessions consisted of a copper pipe and a propane blow torch. That’s all I had left. And when I ran out of drugs, it got real. A few days later, I was in rehab.

I was a poly-substance abuser meaning I used anything I could get my hands on. But mostly, I used cocaine and opioids. A few weeks into treatment hadn’t changed much. I was still having trouble admitting I was addicted. I was given an assignment to help break through the walls of denial I’d built up over the years. I was asked to write a letter to my addiction.

Up until then, I could not accept the fact I couldn’t control my drug use. I still thought I could use drugs, when in truth …

I didn’t use drugs… They used me.

Drugs used me in ways that nothing else in my life ever has.

They hijacked my brain and stole my thoughts. They lied to me in the scariest voice of all, my own. I left my family and children for them. They told me I was a loser and to kill myself.

Pen to paper, I start to write.

Dear Drugs, I Love You.

No. No! No!!!

I didn’t mean to write that. If I were ever to get clean, I must plant my feet in reality and stop living in delusion. The trouble was, I wasn’t a big fan of reality and had done my best to avoid it. This was also why I was doing a stint in rehab.

Reality sucks. At least it does when you’re an addict.

However, you can’t stay high all the time. To feed your addiction you lower your moral standards and do things you said you’d never do. You also break a lot of hearts along the way, including your own. This was also why I was in rehab.

Dear Drugs… Just one more… No one will ever know… Smoking pot won’t hurt me…

No. No! No!!!

Dear Drugs. I’m not high and I’m still not thinking right. You hijacked my brain and turned honest thoughts into dishonest ones. You twisted love into pain and pain into desperation. You turned a beautiful, healthy young woman into a decrepit, palliative, scarecrow.

Dear Drugs, I hate you. You killed so many of my friends. You nearly killed me. I despise the insidious, horrible trap that you are. You promise fun and deliver hell. I hate that I still think about you.

Dear Drugs, I’m scared. You are powerful.

Dear Drugs, I’m saying goodbye.

I’m told not to think about losing you forever. My counselor assures me I will find ways to have fun, without you. When you call my name, I should play the tape all the way through. I must remember why I wanted to quit you. I can do this, one day at a time. And if that’s too long, I’ll go five minutes and repeat.  

The trick is to build the kind of life where I don’t need you anymore. You gave me confidence, courage and strength. You eased my anxiety and got me out of bed in the morning. If I’m to succeed in keeping you out of my life, I must find healthier ways of coping.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a powerful tool. It helps me recognize self-defeating thoughts and unhealthy behaviors like isolating. If I want to remain abstinent I must step out of my comfort zone and connect with others by sharing my thoughts and feelings. Every time I connect I feel better and that gives me hope.

The hardest part of getting clean and sober was caring enough about myself to put in the effort. Effort equals results. The people who get well, work at it. Addicted persons want instant results. But there are none. What there is, are beautiful little milestones along the way. One day clean and sober. Thirty days clean and sober. Six months clean and sober. Each day adds to your newly constructed foundation. Hope replaces despair. Energy replaces apathy. People look at you differently. You can meet your eyes in the mirror. And then one day it hits you. You’re alive. You’re real and you feel everything. There’s no better high than living life at your personal best.

Dear drugs, all that you promised, I found in recovery.

Dear drugs. I did the one thing you hate… I reached out for help and left you.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 1-888-614-2379.

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