I came across a post from a fellow blogger (Elena’s Thoughts) on WordPress about addictions. She was talking about what makes an addiction stick. It made me contemplate my own chronic habits. What got me was the comments around the cause of addictions and how over time the source becomes more and more forgotten while the frequent use increases. I never contemplated when and how the root became obtuse while the weed kept humming along. I have had my share of bad habits and addictions in my life. I used to own over a hundred pairs of shoes. Many of them never made it out of the boxes. I have used alcohol and other vices as ways to escape or just feel nothing for a while. The trouble with artificial fixes is that they don’t last. It becomes harder and harder to sustain the numbing effect until it quits working all together.
In the summer, the boulevard by our house becomes a front seat to watching many drug addicts stick themselves full. There was a man who took his clothes off and jumped in a large BFI bin looking for something within. He was yelling and throwing all the garbage out onto the street. The cops were called and after quite a while they came. It took a long time to get a response and many calls from many neighbors complaining. It’s become the norm to see this type of behavior everywhere you look.
In the fall, we woke up to an ambulance parked outside and two police patrol cars. We went out to investigate what was happening. Laying face down just out of some trees by a building up on the boulevard was a body. I kept thinking what was the story here? At what point does the will to survive become a second choice to a person over the use of a drug?
I wasn’t going to write about what goes on out my kitchen window but after reading the blog post it hit close to home. I have watched addiction rip my family apart. We tape each other back together. We try to meet each other where we are instead of where we would each like to be.
Addictions are tricky. A simple action that repeats and becomes more ingrained with each sip, drag or stick. In my case, dollars spent on something frivolous, helping others instead of helping myself and more than once in my life alcohol. Replacement of facing problems with effective ways of staying in a coma state is hard to break free from. I hear and see people say that they used to be addicted but were able to stop. Years later they tell themselves they can now have an occasional drink or smoke. They can handle it now. The thing is that it’s not one and done. It’s one and then never again.
Life has been pretty tough for many people the last few years. It’s a wonder that any of us are sober at all? I am not excusing behavior I am just a realist. Like Elena, I used to wonder why those I cared about didn’t just stop self destructing? Why is it so hard to stop? I was judgy and I confess to be a bit self righteous. I know better now how hard it is to cope with life while under the influence. The steps over the edge are small and most of the time invisible until some time has passed and the way back seems impossible.
If you find yourself currently struggling, know you have made the first step by being aware. The next step is to reach out for help. If you live with someone who is an addict or have family members that are in crisis seek advice from professionals.
Knowing you aren’t alone and others are going through similar situations is a comfort.