Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
It’s A Whole New World Out There. (Recovering From Addiction)
Have you ever wondered what your life might look like, if it hadn’t been hijacked by drugs and/or alcohol? Instead of broken hearts, empty pockets and dysfunctional relationships, you might be experiencing triumph, good health and happiness.
If someone could foresee the winning numbers on the next lottery, and told them to you, would you play?
Of course you would! It’s a guaranteed win. Well, it’s like that, with recovery.
But this lottery’s prize doesn’t come in mere dollars, but in a brand new life. Even better, your new life doesn’t resemble your old one, at all. It’s like having a terminal disease and then after a long hard struggle, being granted a cure.
Imagine addiction as a prison cell, albeit a self imposed one. Then one day, quite unexpectedly, a guard comes by and opens the door for you, saying you’re free to go.
You might think that upon hearing the news you’d bolt from your cell, eager to depart. But that’s not how it works with addiction. Instead, although the door remains open, the prisoner – or the addict more specifically in this case, stays inside their jail cell preferring the comforts of what he or she knows, to what they don’t.
A pathological relationship has taken place between the prisoner and their jail cell. Their brain chemistry and reasoning, has been hijacked. In other words, their best thinking, is killing them. Now, instead of being locked from the outside, their cell is being locked, from within. These prison bars represents familiarity, isolation, privacy, the freedom to do what they want, when they want (confined within these very small parameters) and a (false) sense of safety and comfort.
To leave the cell would mean facing the unknown. Fear of withdrawal, fear of losing your freedom – which has already been lost – fears of the future, and fear of living without the comforts of their prison cell, (drug of choice) keeps the addicted person, imprisoned.
For those of us who aren’t addicted, it’s easy to become impatient and frustrated, with the addicted individual. You might think; just put one foot in front of the other and force yourself to walk away. Although it seems simple, it’s not. Recovering from addiction is a slow process. You may have to pry fingers free from the bars, imprisoning them.
The job of the professional, or sponsor, or recovery coach, is to help the addicted person take those first few steps, away from their jail cell. They’ll need to be supervised every step of the way. These first few steps are the most dangerous, of all. Although the addict is being led into freedom, everything inside of them is screaming, run!
Addiction is not a logical illness, but rather, an illogical, impulsive and delusional, one. It’s normal to take two steps forward and one step, back. You might even believe you’ve fallen so far down, there’s no hope of ever standing back up again. But no one is ever too far gone, or to broken, to change.
You don’t recover from addiction by just quitting drugs or alcohol. You recover from addiction by creating such an awesome life, that there’s no need to use anymore. Those who recover from this illness describe it as living two lives, in one body. If you’ve ever come close to dying, or have lived terminally miserably for a very long time, you’ll know first-hand the incredible joy of being truly alive.
Beyond the prison doors of addiction lies green grass, trees, birdsong, healthy relationships, endless possibilities, self-love, hope, peace of mind and serenity. Not only does your physical health improve, but so does your whole outlook, on life. But the biggest gift of all may be in achieving freedom, from the bondage of self.
There are many avenues open for exploration, if you decide you want sobriety. Whether through treatment, a twelve step group, individualized counseling, or the church, find what works for you and stick with it.
Never let a bump in the road, be the end of your journey. Instead, use your past experiences and build a bridge to a brand new future. It’s never too late to accomplish your happily ever after. As long as you have breath, there is hope.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call our confidential support line at 1 888 614-2379.