Admitting I had a problem with drugs was one of the hardest decisions I had to make in my life. It is hard to admit that I have a problem with anything for that matter. It makes me feel weak and vulnerable which makes me very uncomfortable. But after years of trying to manage my drug use and the consistent insanity of trying to substitute one drug for another, drug replacement therapy, abstaining for legal reasons, I had finally given into the fact that I had a serious problem with addiction. Reaching out for help and admitting my drug problem came about after a lot of self inflicted pain. Physical withdrawal, a series of arrests, jail, multiple institutions, DUIs, relationship problems with families and significant others are just some of the examples of the physical and emotional pain I needed to endure. The first time I was able to admit that I had a problem came about after a short stay in the county jail. I was backed into a corner by the legal trouble I had put myself in and wasn’t fully ready to surrender. I was still lying to myself on the false pretense that I knew what I was doing and thought I was still in control of the drugs and the amounts I was consuming. It is also hard for me to admit the fact that I have lost control over myself or a specific situation. I like to think I am in control of everything and sometimes other people, which only leads me into being more manipulative in order to control the outcome of situations. I was then forced into a rehab facility and after about a month I was released and I had looked better and felt better, so had convinced myself that I was better. In reality, I was still very sick. Within a couple of months I was back to doing what I knew best and that was using drugs and this time I went out even harder than before. I still needed more pain.
Little by little, the unmanageability of my life caused by my drug use had begun to show itself some more. I caught more charges and put myself into more legal trouble, I couldn’t hold a job, my relationship with my family was nonexistent, I had no money, my health was deteriorating, and I still couldn’t stop using drugs. I was so clouded by getting high that I couldn’t even realize how bad things actually were. Then one day I had what I like to call a spiritual awakening and was able to finally get honest with myself and realize I need a lot of help. The fear of not knowing what to do about the mess I had put myself in was so intense and overwhelming. I had made the decision on my own to reach out and get the help that I so desperately needed. At this point it was either get help or kill myself. After realizing I didn’t have the guts to kill myself, I decided to get help. Mind you at this time I was still using and I had started to do some research and find another rehab to go into in order to do this right. I found a facility with a detox and a rehab. I wanted to do this the right way. If that wasn’t God then I don’t know what it was but it definitely wasn’t me. I had called up the rehab and was completely honest about what drug and the amounts I was using, scheduled an intake date, and within a week checked myself in. This was the first time I actually made the decision to get help and wasn’t forced into it. This was the beginning of learning how to get honest.
Honesty was extremely important during this time. I felt a sense of freedom in being able to admit the truth about my usage and just how bad it actually was. Honesty was something I had to learn all over again because for almost two decades I was living a lie. This took practice and still does. Honesty opened the door for me to be truthful about the actual chaos in my life, which in turn kept me open minded to the acceptance that I could not use drugs successfully and start to surrender to the disease of addiction. By surrendering, I have simply accepted the fact that I needed to stop fighting and resisting the fact that I have a problem and that I cannot successfully use any mood or mind-altering substance. Getting honest and accepting the truth provided me the willingness and motivation to do whatever I needed to do in order to start my road to recovery. My process of recovery started with these simple principles, but for an addict like myself, they can be very complicated at times. Every addict’s process is different in terms of recovery. For me it started with baby steps and learning how to relive life over again without the use of drugs. I take things one day at a time and continue to struggle in all different areas, but I am willing now to do what it takes in order to get better. If anyone out there is struggling with addiction, take the first step and get honest with yourself, share the way you feel, and ask for help. Pride and ego set me back in so many ways. I had great difficulty asking for help, but in my experience with addiction and recovery, I learned that I cannot do this by myself. It is only with the experience, strength, and hope of addicts that I talk with on a daily basis that keep me moving in the right direction. Its not about perfection, only progression.
If You Missed Part 1 of The Series, click here and read From Heroin to Hope ~ Part 1.