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Inside the mind of one addict

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by Kwest92, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Kwest92

    Kwest92 Member

    I know I talked a little about this a few posts back. But I had a little more to add, and it may be a little personal. So, I read something online yesterday that gave me inspiration for this post. I’ll link to it at the bottom of this post. I found the article offensive. And it’s this one paragraph that did me in “I am not an addict. But try and love one, and then see if you can look me square in the eyes and tell me that you didn’t get addicted to trying to fix them.”

    Okay, so there are a lot of reasons why this would offend me. The first- because I’m a human being, not a toaster. You can’t look at me like I’m your pet project. Two- I am not ‘fixable’ my addiction isn’t ‘fixable’. The notion that either of those would somehow just resolve on their own is ludicrous. You can admit me to rehab all you want, if I don’t want the recovery it’s not going to happen. And three- you don’t know what it feels like to live this life every day. Stop insulting me and pretending that you do. It only makes you a liar and it makes you untrustworthy.

    “You will stand in the doorway of their bedroom and plead with them that you “just want them back”. Well, for one, you’ll never get me back. I will never again be the person I was before my addiction. It’s a harsh reality that needs to sink in for everyone’s own good. Yes, the person I was will slip away, but it’s for the better. The further I fall into my addiction the more desperately I want out. Sometimes you have to quit playing the interventionist and just let me go.

    “…You will lose them far before they actually succumb to their demons; which, if they don’t find recovery is inevitable.” Newsflash, my addiction IS my demon. Right now, in the height of my addiction, we’re actually pals. And as an addict in recovery, I can say that my addiction, my demon, is giving me the best foundation to get over it. Only because I know what it’s capable of. And because I hit rock bottom with it, it only seems fit to give it a piece of me. The piece of me I don’t want back.

    “It’s’ not the person who uses, but the addict. It is not the person who steals to support their habit, but the addict.” No, it is me, the person who uses. One of the common misconceptions I see every day is that families tend to blame the ‘addict’. Well I’m here to say that I am the addict. The ‘addict’ and I are not separate entities. In order for my recovery to remain on the track it is, I can’t separate my addiction from myself. I created the addict, I lived as the addict. The addict is me.

    “You will begin to accept that you need to separate who the person once was with who they are now.” But you know what? My addiction has taught me a few things about myself that I never would have known otherwise. I will fight for myself. I would die for myself. Heroin only holds the power over me that I give it. And right now, that boy is on a short ass leash. Maybe he tries to pull and get away at times, but I don’t let it happen. I was very shy and meek before I started using. I didn’t talk to many people, but my addiction taught me that I can be outgoing. It taught me that I can make friends easier than I thought. And it taught me that I only need faith in myself to do it. I am my addiction. I gave it the fuel, it just sparked the fire.

    I go into this because of what happened to me when I first got caught using. I pretty much got ratted out. And my parent’s first reaction was to call the cops and get a test kit. They went through my room-which was empty of all paraphernalia- and when they didn’t find something they went through my car. In it they found an empty bag that had at one time housed soft, and a needle which tested positive for heroin. The first thing they did was run through my cousin’s front door and shook me awake(I had just broke my foot so I was pissed). Then proceeded to scream and yell in my face for an hour about how drugs were bad and how I couldn’t live with them anymore. And my response to them was the same as it has been in this post.

    They gave me an ultimatum and it wasn’t pretty. Either get out of my house or check yourself into rehab. And this is why I think families aren’t getting the education they need to deal with addiction. One- I chose my drug over them. Heroin doesn’t yell at me. Actually it lulls me into a very good sleep, coddles me like a baby almost. Two- interventions almost never work. And when you’re screaming at me like a lunatic you’re not helping your case. And three- only I can help myself. I’m sorry but you can’t pull sob stories on me and expect me to do it. If I’m not ready for recovery, it won’t work. It doesn’t matter how much you want me to recover, I have to want it for myself.

    And in order for me to want it for myself, the recovery has to be more appealing than continuing my use. In order for recovery to work for me, I have to want to work the system. When I first moved here to Colorado Springs, I did NOT want my recovery. My arms itched every night yearning for heroin. I couldn’t sleep because of the withdrawals. I didn’t have a clear head on my shoulders because I still wanted my addiction. That was a month ago. It has taken me that long to realize that I want this. It’s taken me that long to forgive my parents for saying horrible things to me. And my mom still does. I remember a text I got from her about a week or so ago and all she had to say was “well come back home, find a roommate and do whatever the hell you want. I don’t care.” And all I had asked for was money to buy groceries. Its things like this that makes even talking to the majority of my family unbearable.

    Families- the best thing you can do for a loved one with addiction is to be there for them to talk to. I’ve been on both sides of this rope. I helped my best friend through recovery on HIS time. I was just there for him to talk to. A listening, nonjudgmental ear is the best gift you can give to any addict. But yelling, screaming, and trying to ‘fix’ a person like they’re an appliance isn’t only going to hurt them, it’s going to hurt you. Just be a support system. Don’t pretend to know things about addictions that you don’t. Don’t try to generalize their addictions. And let rehab be a choice that the addict makes. Sending them too soon is a recipe for disaster.

    But I’ll end with this. In no lifetime will I ever be completely free of my addiction. It will always be a part of me and yes it did change me. But I don’t see how the change was negative. I’m a strong person. It may have taken an addiction to show me how strong I actually am. And that’s one of the reasons that I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for my addiction because it has made me a better person in the end.

    Lessons I Learned From Loving a Drug Addict
    JonnyMacdonald and deanokat like this.
  2. knitmehere

    knitmehere Community Champion

    I think there are a lot of people who get into a relationship with an addict in the hopes that they will be able to change them. That's the wrong mindset to have and people need to realize that.

    Addicts are who we are. Addictions are what we have. That's never really going to change.
    L_B likes this.
  3. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    Thank you for sharing this insight into an addict and their life. It is very well written and makes me better understand what I was and am still dealing with. If you are not an addict it is really hard to understand and to get into the head of somebody who uses. knitmehere is right in that we think we hope we can change people but that isn't the case. This post was a real eye opener for me. Thank you for sharing this with us.
  4. sunflogun

    sunflogun Community Champion

    Yep, that's true @knitmehere but the fact is that no one changes anyone, only we can change ourselves and getting inside the head of an addict is virtually impossible.
  5. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Community Champion

    Thanks for sharing this with us, it's a very thought-provoking post. It's only human to feel sympathy, and even fall in love with someone that is an addict. Deep inside, we want to help that person and do everything we can to get them on the right track. Unfortunately, all we can do is help them. It's up to the addict to commit to recovery, something which they can only decide to do.
  6. misskrystal1982

    misskrystal1982 Active Contributor

    Very good points. We are the sum of many things. Perhaps this was this one persons truth, though? Perhaps they worded it wrong, but it is still the way that it is for those without the addiction. They can become so fixated on helping that the other persons well being becomes their own addiction.

    But it is also true that a person can not be forced into recovery. Its very hard to care deeply for someone who is not ready to give up their demons just yet.
  7. Kwest92

    Kwest92 Member

    Thanks for reading this! Yes, the point was to draw attention to family members who think they know what they're doing. A lot of things are better left to professionals. Simply because they're detached from the situation and can act without bias.

    Basically most family members try to be counselors, psychiatrists, interventionists, etc when that weight is too much to bear. And then the fixing thing. It ends badly. So letting the weight go will help your loved one better than trying to pretend to be something you're not.
  8. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    Loved the way you ended it:

    In no lifetime will I ever be completely free of my addiction. It will always be a part of me and yes it did change me. But I don’t see how the change was negative. I’m a strong person. It may have taken an addiction to show me how strong I actually am. And that’s one of the reasons that I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for my addiction because it has made me a better person in the end.

    It's true. I'm around 7 years recovered now and it still takes work, it still takes conscious effort to make the right decisions, but it's what I want to do. So it's always a part of me too, but I agree that it's made me stronger. I like the me that I am now - and despite what was in the past I absolutely think it's made me better too. I'm more patient, I'm a better listener to others now, I'm better able to empathize with people when they're going through something rough. It made me work out what I really want from life too.
  9. sunflogun

    sunflogun Community Champion

    Yes, if someone is seeking for help I am more than happy to give them help, but if someone does not want to be helped what can we do?
  10. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    To be fair, many parents and family members spend the early stages of a loved one's addiction not knowing exactly what they can and cannot do. Because of that, they tend to try and control and "fix" things. That's how it was for me and my wife with our son. It took us several years to realize our limitations and finally "figure things out."

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post, @Kwest92.
  11. sunflogun

    sunflogun Community Champion

    And that's where it all begins, kids spend years consuming and many times parents aren't even aware, so how can this be turned around.
  12. mooray

    mooray Active Contributor

    Sometimes you can try to change someone and both of you sink in the same hole. That is why I have a certain limit in trying to save someone because I won't be there forever.
    deanokat likes this.
  13. sunflogun

    sunflogun Community Champion

    That danger exists and it's a real one. We need to keep ourselves apart or else we won't be able to help anyone.
  14. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    I understand what you are saying, but the frustration and hopelessness families feel is what causes them to react so strongly. It is extremely hard for people who love an addict to detach and just become like a buddy. I think addicts do need interventions and to be sent to rehab before they may be really ready look at the show Intervention for example. However, you do make some really good points, and since you have "been there" I think you know of what you speak.
  15. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    @Kwest92... I re-read your initial post and feel like I need to chime in again.

    I know you said that you've "been on both sides of this rope," but in my opinion you really haven't. Helping a friend who's struggling with addiction, no matter how close the two of you are, is much different than dealing with a child who is struggling with addiction. There is a totally different bond between parent and child. Parents are programmed to care for and protect their child right from the beginning. When that child becomes addicted to drugs, that programming takes over and a parent's desire to "fix" their child kicks in. It's kind of like when a child skins their knee as a toddler, and the parent is there to clean the scrape, put some ointment on it, and cover it with a Band-Aid. That's what parents do. And when first faced with a child's addiction, the natural reaction for a parent is, "I need to fix this."

    Now, is that mentality correct? No. Because just because you're a parent doesn't mean you can fix your child's addiction. But it takes some time for parents to figure that out. It's so easy for parents to become addicted to their child's addiction, and when that happens they will try to control everything. That's when the "yelling, screaming, and trying to ‘fix’ a person like they’re an appliance" takes over. And you're completely right: That behavior isn’t only going to hurt the addict, it’s going to hurt the parents, too.

    Anyway, I just wanted to get that off my chest. Until you are a parent who has a child struggling with addiction, I don't think you can even come close to knowing what it feels like.
  16. Kwest92

    Kwest92 Member

    No, I'm not a parent. But the initial article was about a loved one. So I have been on both sides in that right. He was my best friend we lived together. But, yes I saw the fixing coming from my mother and it didn't do anything but piss me off. She still tries to do it and I'm already in rehab.

    @kgord all sending an unwilling addict to rehab does is create resentment. It really does nothing for recovery. And all interventions are are just how I worded it. If you're not willing to listen they're useless.
  17. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    Point taken, @Kwest92. Looking back on how my wife and I tried to "handle" things early on in our son's addiction always makes me realize how uneducated and naive we were. But you do the best you can with what you know at the time, and try to learn as you go along. Thank God we learned!

    Thanks again for the post.