“My name is Amy and I am a heroin addict.” This is what we start out any statement at an NA meeting. It took me years to be able to publicly admit that I am an addict. I hid this fact for years. I am incredibly proud that I am now able to say this to anyone. It took me a lot of growth. The one thing that we have to be careful of is letting our past as addicts define us. It can not be our be all and end all.
It can become a crutch if we let it. If we let ourselves believe that our addiction is all we are, than it can become all that we are. Perception is reality. As sick as sounds, sometimes we set ourselves up for failure. It is often unintentional and unconscious. We start doubting ourselves internally. We struggle with our addictions. Especially if, and about 95% of the time when, we relapse we inevitably feel like failures. Worthless failures. We start to think that we nothing but addicts who are destined to fail.
Once we convince ourselves that we will never recover, then we won’t. Plain and simple. The drugs warp our brains forever. We will be addicts for the rest of our lives. Phillip Seymore Hoffman is a prime example. He had been clean for over twenty years before his overdose death of few months ago. We love the drugs. Well, we have a love/hate relationship. We are co-dependent.
Secretly, we want to fail. We have to save us from ourselves. Sometimes, we use the fact that we are addicts forever as an excuse, a reason to relapse. When we go back to using, we can say, “Well, it is to be expected. I am just an addict anyway.”
It becomes a crutch. When you break your leg, you quit using a crutch once your leg is healed. Once we have been clean for an extended period of time, we have to kick the crutch of “I am a worthless addict,” away. We are RECOVERING addicts. The difference is monumental. It is life-changing. Right now, I am a recovering addict. I am fully aware that I will be a heroin addict my entire life. That being said, I am so much more.
I am a mother, a wife, a writer, a bartender, an artist, a kind person. I backslide on and off for about a decade, but I am back on track. I have dreams and goals, for the first time in a long time.
I have heard too many friends who are addicts lament on how they will never be anyone in life. That they are losers. Like I said previously, perception is reality. These are the same people I know who relapse the moment that they leave rehab or jail. And it saddens me. You can not grow if you insist on being stuck in stone. I want to metaphorically kick the crutch out from under them. They might fall to the ground, but when they get up, they will stand tall and on their own.
While, I am so very proud of myself that I am now able to admit to everyone that I am an addict and that I am no longer ashamed of my past. I am most proud that I am able to move on. I am now aware that I am not just an addict. None of us are. We are so very much more than that. Our addiction does not define us. We may have done awful, horrible things when we were actively addicts. But that was never our whole self. Addiction may have over shadowed the rest if personalities, but once we achieve sobriety, we can shine.
If you look at some of the wonderful things that were given to this world by addicts, it becomes very clear that addicts have a lot to offer society. We have been to hell and back. There is no one of the face of this Earth that is stronger than an addict who has kicked an drug habit. We can be compassionate. We are smart. We have street smarts. We are creative. We obtained a wealth of skills while we were using. We went to great lengths to get our drugs. If we use our powers for good, we can be unstoppable.
Yes, we are addicts. We are recovering addicts, but we are wonderful people. That is if we let ourselves achieve our fullest potential.