Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
New Year, New Life. Putting Down the Dope.
January brings in a new year and the annual pledge of starting over. Many of us have made resolutions to lose weight, eat healthier and exercise more. Some of us stick to those resolutions religiously, at least for a few weeks. But most of us fall off the resolution wagon along the way. A missed walk, a strudel on the sly, a pound gained here or there. For the most part, not following through with your New Year’s resolution won’t kill you. But for some, it will. If you’re struggling with addiction, tomorrow is never guaranteed. If you’ve promised to seek help later – after the holidays, later is here.
It’s time to pay up. Making good on your promise is always scary. I still remember how overwhelming it was to walk through the front doors of rehab. I was on the verge of death. And here’s the twist. I was more afraid of giving up drugs and going to treatment than I was of dying. That’s how powerful addiction is.
Addicted persons procrastinate. Their intentions are good, it’s the action part they lack. If you’ve promised your family you’d get clean and sober in the New Year, you’re probably scrambling to come up with another plan. A plan that will buy you more time. But that’s the thing… You don’t have more time, you’re not completely oblivious. You know the likelihood of reaching a ripe old age while struggling with addiction, is about zero. The truth is, people are dropping like flies out there.
As the hours of 2017 begin to add up, you feel anxious and panicky. You wish you could just go to sleep and wake up when this whole mess was over. You have a love/hate relationship with your addiction. With dope, you feel normal, sort of. But the sense of euphoria and being larger than life has worn off. What used to bring you good times, has morphed into apathy. The drugs and/or alcohol that made you feel good, and that you gave up your whole life for, are killing you. As you think about entering rehab you might wonder, what will your life be like without them?
You imagine a permanent scowl etched on your face as you sit drenched in cool sweat feeling anxious and miserable for the rest of your life.
You think about all the things you’ll have to give up… Fun, laughter, love, romance, excitement, adventures, socializing with your buddies, beer league, travel, beaches, exotic getaways, golf games… But wait… Haven’t you given up those things already?
You can’t imagine how you’ll get through your day without having a little pick me up or wind me down. And what happens when you have a bad day, or you can’t sleep?
Seriously, how do those clean and sober folks do it? And better yet, how do they do it with a smile on their face?
Over-thinking is giving you a headache. You know you’re at war. Only this war isn’t played out on the field, it’s going on in your head. It’s horrible. You can give up on yourself and give into addiction, or you can recover. The trouble is, you don’t like either choice. But they’re all you’ve got. You know what needs to be done, but you don’t want to do it. You’re scared and you don’t like feeling this way. You want results right away. Instant gratification is your new favorite drug. You want to be well, but you don’t want to put in the work or give anything up.
When recovering from addiction, you do have to give up things. You give up misery and self-pity. You give up resentments and blame. You give up hopelessness and despair. You give up failure and self-loathing. You give up pain and suffering. You give up hurting yourself and the people you love.
It doesn’t matter if you believe addiction is a disease or a choice, one thing’s for sure, it is a process. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. There is no get well pill, injection, snort or drink. It’s like building a house. Any carpenter knows without a good solid foundation, your house will fall down. That’s what treatment is all about. It’s your foundation. It’s where you find out why you’re doing the things you’re doing and what is driving your illness.
Without all the information, you’re likely to fall back into relapse. Shortcuts will get you loaded. Personally, the tug-of-war-going on in my head was far worse than the reality of walking through the front doors of rehab. I thought it would be tough, but instead, it was safe. I worried getting clean would be boring. In truth, it is amazing, joyful and freeing. I found out that this disease lies. It plays with your mind to keep you sick and stuck. Your addiction doesn’t want you well. It wants you dead.
Lucky for you, you have people who love you and will hold you accountable. Recovery is not a punishment, it’s an opportunity. Rehab is the ultimate gift – the gift of life. You’re starting a brand new chapter – in the book of you. 2017 is your year to shine. So put down the dope and hold on. You’re gonna love being clean and sober!
If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance 1-888-614-2379.