I have written on this topic before but after a conversation last night with my brother it’s been on my mind and heart most of the morning.
Let’s start with Webster’s definition of addiction: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble); an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.
Full definition: 1: the quality or state of being addicted; 2: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdraw; broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.
For the sake of this blog we will stick to the narcotics as that is what my conversation was about. But the same can be said for any addiction.
In my experience, not only as an observer but also as a participant, there are three types of addicts: the ones that don’t know or don’t think they’re addicted, the ones that don’t care if they are addicted, and the ones that do know and are trying to beat the addiction.
In all three of these types, there is almost always an underlying condition but we only see the surface bi-product – addiction. When the drugs were first introduced and tried, it may not have been to mask anything but it can grow into that fast. Some people hooked on heroin, it’s to make the physical pain go away as a replacement to pain medication.
When I tried speed for the first time it was because it was in front of me. The other three people did it so I figured why not. To be honest I was instantly hooked. I loved the feeling of power that it gave me. I didn’t want to come down, so I didn’t. The first time I was up for a few days. When I came down it was hard and painful. After the pain started to go away reality set in. I was a mess and all I could think about was all my past mistakes. I was 22 years old so there was a lot of wrong that I had done. Not only to myself but to others.
The best answer I could find was to do some more speed. When I was high I didn’t think about all that stuff in
the past. When I was high I was in the moment. Whatever that looked like. I didn’t feel pain; emotional or physical. The drugs numbed the pain. That was a bad combination for me because it made me feel like Superman – unstoppable. And I liked being unstoppable.
What I had failed to see was that I had become addicted to the drug. I had allowed to drug to take control of me. Every part of me. I began to stay up longer and longer and using more and more to do it. The time that I spent down became almost nonexistent. Even a couple of near overdoses didn’t stop me or even slow me down. I just wanted to be high. I wanted it because I didn’t feel anything when I was high.
I stopped using for a little bit before I got locked up and sent to prison. I’m sure if I wouldn’t have gotten arrested it wouldn’t have been long before I started using again. It was easier to be high then to face, deal with and correct my problems. It was a way to make my problems go away, even if only in my head, only to gain a much bigger one.
Being in prison didn’t even stop the addiction. Even after being locked up for 3 ½ years the desire was still there after getting out. While it took a few years after my release to start using again, I still picked it back up. This time I was justified, at least in my mind. I was working long hours and I needed my free time too. To start using again meant I could achieve my goals; I would have more energy and make better use of my time. This time I would control it and not let it control me. This same response is not only one I used but one I have heard from people over the years. I can control it, it won’t become a problem. And I tell those people the same thing I wish someone would have told me – thinking you can control the drug/addiction is a lie straight from the darkest pit of hell.
For me the first step was to get away from it. Not only the drug but also the people that were enabling me to use it. There is no way I would have been able to stop and still be around it. I’m not sure that there is anyone that could do it that way.
What I wasn’t expecting was a trade. All I did was trade one addiction for another. Alcohol became my new addiction. While I did drink while I was high, I didn’t have the effects of the alcohol due to the drugs. Now after stopping the drugs I needed something to numb the pain still. I still didn’t want to deal with the underlying issues. And so, alcohol became a huge part of my life. I began to drink all the time, and it wasn’t just one or two, it was as many as I could get my hands on. I had traded my addiction. I had found a new pain killer.
Oct. 26, 2013, I came face to face with my problems. I encountered God in a way that I had never before. Over the years I grew more and more rebellious and bitter. On that day I made a comment about a theme for our Halloween costumes and God stopped me in my track. He showed me where I was heading if I didn’t change. He showed me how my life would turn out. We stopped drinking that day. Since then I tried to have a beer with a friend and it made me sick, I poured it out. We also tried to have wine with a meal once and the taste was too much, plus the conviction of where God had brought me from.
I have learned that the power of addiction is too great for someone to beat on their own. Sure, they may stop whatever it is they were addicted to but it will only be a trade for something else. Addiction is something that will make a person sacrifice everything they have for the fix. Addiction will destroy everything it encounters. It is just that powerful.
I have been saved from my past addictions. I have been redeemed. This can only be accomplished through the saving Blood of Jesus. Jesus is the only one Who can remove the addiction, anything or anyone else will only replace it with something new.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Jesus is the only answer. We find Him and we find a cure for our addiction.