Many people define insanity as the repeating of the same actions over and over with the exception of a different result.
By that definition, relapsing, and addiction itself, is insane. Why do we as addicts seem to think that “this time will be different”? We go through literal hell in order to get clean, yet we are so quick to foforget about this. Our disease allows us to feel that we are “cured”. An addict is never cured. You are either an active or a recovering addict.
When I first started using heroin, it took quite awhile to become physically addicted. After my first arrest, which was for shoplifting items that I then sold and used the money for drugs, my mother wanted me to go to an outpatient rehab. (Ironically, this was the facility that a couple of years later informed me that I was pregnant.) Me, my husband (who was just a friend then) and my little sister were all arrested. I was19, my ssister was 16. We both did the adolescent program at the rehab. During the intake interview, I was clear about my disdain for the idea of me attending such groups. It was a waste of my time, I explained to the man who did my intake. “I don’t have a habit,” I told him. “I can get high for a week or a day, then stop for a week or so.” “And you think that you can keep this pattern up with out ever catching a habit?” He asked me incredulously. I responded that I knew that I could. “Good luck with that,” he huffed.
Of course, this man who I so stupidly blew off, was right. I obtained a violent habit. It didn’t help that the dope that I was doing was fentanyl based. Quicker than I realized what had happened, I was dry heaving every morning, throwing up yellow stomach lining. I was done for.
Eventually, two years, nine changes, and four warrants later, I was arrested three days before Christmas. One of the four warrants was a no bail warrant and I could have a bail review until the judge who had set the no bail could see me, and he was on a two week Christmas vacation. Three weeks later, I had my bail review. He closed the case, releasing me with time served. I then had to get picked up by another county where two of my warrants were. The fourth warrant got quashed while I was locked up, so once I bailed out, I was home.
I had went through the ills in jail, on lock up, in a cell 23 hours a day. Being ill us awful regardless, but in jail is exceptionally cruel. Thin ass, worn through mattress, only one shower a day, no advil, tums, NOTHING. All you want to do is sleep, and you cannot do that because you are kicking heroin.
While in the first detention center, I found out that one of my friends was murdered because he was trying to tell these coke dealers that it was not us who had stolen his stash. It was a lie, a rumor that a guy who was mad at my sister’s boyfriend made up. The dealer had pointed a revolver at my husband’s head at point blank range and pulled the trigger. It jamed. TWICE. Tge dealer pistol whipped my sister as my husband pulled off. Obviously the dealer was pissed that he had failed. (I believe that my father acted as a guardian angel and saved everyone in the car.) My friend was killed because we weren’t. Because he felt that someone had to pay for his stash getting stolen. Didn’t matter who it was. Didn’t matter that WE didn’t even anything to do with it.
Sitting in jail for a few weeks gave me some time to reflect on my drug use. I didn’t want to go through this kind of hell again. I was done.
I came home and stayed clean. For three years I stayed clean. I got a job as a waitress. Eventually I was a certified trainer. Then I was the lead server. I became a lead bartender also. I gave birth to my second child. Life was great.
The entire time that I was clean, there were people who lived in the house with my family that were getting high. It didn’t bother me. I could handle it. I couldn’t handle my husband getting high.
He had surgery on his knee. He was given prescription for Percocet. After a few months, the doctor cut off the script. He was still in pain, and we were living with people who were getting high, so he started to get shit off of them. I could only see him high in front of me but for so long. He tried to hide it from me, but I knew. Soon I started using too.
I won’t get addicted this time. I know better. We didn’t do it every day. But a couple of times a week quickly progressed to daily.
Our addiction is tricky. We can be clean for years, but once we start up again, it very quickly goes right back to where we left off. We trick ourselves in to believing that we are cured, but the drugs have altered our brains forever. Your synapses have changed, and theydon’t go back to that of ssomeone who has never been a drug addict.
This is why you see people who have been clean for fifteen years or so and get high a few times and loose everything that they worked so hard for. Everything that they accomplished during their clean time, is gone.
It takes an addict an average of about nine times to actually achieve sobriety. We are insane. We keep thinking that this time we will control the drugs, not the other way around. But we are not, and never will be casual users. The drugs have altered our brains, our souls. No matter how much we lie to ouselves, or others, the drugs have a grip on us.
This is why one of the most dangerous things in an addict’s recovery is complacency. The idea that we can be cured is bullshit. I now know that we will never NOT be an addict. I have been in recovery for two years, and I hope to be for the rest of my life. I am no longer insane.