Understanding Addiction

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Let’s get things straight. I did not chose addiction. There is no cure for addiction. I do not enjoy being an addict, but I do see the silver lining. Addiction can and will kill me if I do not constantly maintain my recovery. It is up to me to stay sober. If I do not stay sober, I will die. My addiction started suddenly when I was 15 after I was raped by a close friend. I stopped doing illicit drugs at 18 and then drank until I was 28. My liver was failing. I didn’t care. Addiction changes the make up of your brain. You are literally no longer the same. I was born an addict.  My father has been in recovery for over 35 years. Alcoholism is hereditary. There is much more scientific evidence and findings about addiction and alcoholism now more than ever. I am far from alone. Over 53% of adults report that themselves or someone in their family has an addiction problem. In 2009, 23.5 million people were treated for a problem with addiction. That was 2009, I am sure it has only gotten worse.

I feel like people don’t like hearing about recovery because it is close to them in some way. Most people drink. Drugs are much closer to you than you think. Heroin is becoming a housewife problem. It is easier to come by than pills these days. I suppose people don’t want to truly understand that what they are doing could be potentially part of the problem. I have never asked anyone to stop drinking for me. Take that back, I do ask my husband to not drink certain things around me, like my favorite drinks. As an addict, I know it isn’t good for me to do certain things or go certain places. For the most part, I really have no temptation to drink. My addict brain is still there, though. It is different now. I was using daily for 16 years. I no longer enjoyed using, I had to I have to retrain my brain.

It's all about the details now.

It’s all about the details now.

There is no real way to explain the need I had for my drug of choice. I needed it more than anything. That part of my brain is still in tact. It rages when I am hurt or mad. I have to use my recovery tools to suppress the noise. My disease isn’t like other physical diseases. There isn’t a test to measure it. There isn’t a doctor to tell me about my recovery. I have to monitor my recovery myself. Addiction affects your mind, body and soul. You have to change that in your recovery. Your recovery never stops. It lasts until I die. I know, so dramatic. I talk about it because I think about it. I am sober. That is me. I talk about it because it helps others.

I feel no shame in the fact that I am an addict. It is not my fault. I’m singing a Lady Gaga song, I was seriously born this way. It is annoying that I can’t just have one drink, but it is a fact. I can’t. While I know that rationally, it is hard sometimes. I had reasons I drank. That part of my brain still says that its ok to have a drink. My own brain is working against me! I couldn’t stop at one. I know that. Would it happen the first time, my death, no. It would come though. Not only would I die, but I would wound so many others on my way down the spiral.

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I can take abuse from people because I am in control of my disease. Sure, it is still painful to hear disparaging remarks from people clueless about addiction. What is worse is that they have no idea who they could be hurting. You have no idea who is an addict. There are so many people who don’t seek help because of the stigma attached to addiction. They don’t want that label. I think it is time to get rid of that label. Cancer, diabetes, lupus, addiction are all on the same page. No one chose to have them. We all need help. We all need prayer. I am sure everyone has something they need help with.

I chose to call my self sober and not an addict. I chose to see the bright side of my recovery. I did not get sober, God got me sober. I am only here because of God’s love for me. I am so grateful, each day, that I renewed my faith. I don’t know how to make it through my days without the love of my Saviour. I hope that this blog helps other people know that they are not alone. There are so many that understand and it can be done. I believe that AA and NA are amazing tools to help with your journey in recovery. No one understands like a fellow addict. You are welcome at meetings and always welcome to message me on my blog or any social media avenue. I may be crazy and weird, but not because I am an addict.

I also hope that my blog helps people understand that addiction isn’t a choice. Addiction is life threatening and life altering. Addiction is most likely affecting some one you know. Would I love the whole world to be sober? Shoot yea! I am as selfish as the next person! It would make my life easier to eliminate all chemicals temptations. I know that isn’t going to happen. I also know that addiction is more about my selfishness than anything. We addicts know are brain wants us to be selfish. We spent so much time focused on our drug. Selfishly going after it. My recovery helps me see that I must focus on others. That is the silver lining of addiction. Perspective.

 

Current Statistics

  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug use and Health, 23.5 million people 12 years of age and older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009.  Of these individuals, only 2.6 million – 11.2 percent – only received treatment at a specialty facility.
  • Increasing drug and alcohol abuse is a dangerous trend in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 2.1 million hospital Emergency Department visits in 2009 were the result of drug abuse.
  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are among the most common, devastating, and costly problems in the United States.  In fact, recent studies have shown that approximately 53 percent of adults in the United States have reported that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.
  • U.S. alcohol statistics reveal that approximately 50,000 cases of alcohol overdose are reported each year.  In 2009, an estimated 30.2 million people 12 or older reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.[1]http://www.caron.org/knowledge-library/statistics-outcomes
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