Tag Archives: substance abuse

Staying Strong During the Storm – and the Calm Before the Storm

When a person is a recovered or recovering addict, they always have to be on their toes so to say. Obviously, it is easy to slip back into bad habits when shit gets rough. When we loose a loved one, when we (or someone close to us) gets sentenced to time in jail, when we loose a job, get sued, our car breaks down, whatever, we have to fight the urge to go back to our normal coping habits that we have used for so long. This is compounded by the fact that the universe seems to want to save up the repercussions for all of the bad shit we did as addicts until we are sober. 

As addicts we tend to have either never learned or forgotten normal, healthy coping mechanisms. If and when this shit from our past comes pact on us when we are doing well, the inner addict in our brain tells us, “This shit didn’t happen when you were getting high, but now that you are sober, the universe wants to fuck you in the ass. You might as well just be getting high.” At least then, we justify, thes bad things would be warranted. The thing that we often fail to be able to do, is take a step back and look at these events in our life as a big picture. The more bad things you do, the more bad shit that will come back on you. Even if you do not wish to believe in karma, this is inevitably true. Most of the things that we feel are “unfair” to happen to us as recovered addicts are directly linked to  things that we did as addicts, either to obtain our drugs, or because of said substances. For example, time that we get is almost definatley from an arrest that occurred while we are getting high. A job that we are not given may be due to a criminal record that we got from addiction. Bad credit? Probably due to unpaid bills or bad checks written to get money for drugs or because the money for the bills went to drugs.

Taking a step back allows us to see that getting high again will only set in motion this karmic train of retribution and self-pity and excuse for drug use again. It is difficult to remember that the drugs got us into this shit, but since most of these things are directly related to our addiction, as long as we allow ourselves to stop and think, we can usually see this. We caused the storm, and we now have to find a way to deal with it and right our wrongs.

Far more difficult, and dangerous is when the seas are calm and steady. When our lives are easy and boring almost. Say what you will about addicts, but our lives are never boring. We are constantly figuring out ways to make money, set those plans in motion, getting the money, copping, playing an endless cat and mouse game with the police, and then of course the actual high of the drugs. The drugs don’t provide the only high that we experience. Especially if the addict obtains their drug money illegally, they often become addicted to the adrenaline rush of whatever it is that they do. This is why so many bank robbers talk about being addicted to the thrill of robbing banks. (I personally don’t think that I would ever have the balls to do something like that, but I’m sure the adrenaline rush is crucial – if you don’t die of a heart attack while waiting to commit the crime). 

Not just the high that people get from committing crimes, it is such a fast, easy way to come about money that it is hard to go to minimum wage. Especially, we justify, if we weren’t spending so much money on drugs, we wouldn’t have to go about thanking on these sort of risks nearly as often. Going back to a bank robber, if they are a convicted bank robber, then they have a felony record meaning that very often the only kind of jobs that will take a chance on them is a minimum wage job. It is hard, mentally (and for one’s ego) to go from making $100,000 in 15 minutes to $7.95 an hour. Our inner addict, or the little devil inside of us, allows us to confidently forget about the legal ramifications involved with fast money. Even if we do think about it, we justify that we could commit these crimes far, far less as we won’t be spending hundreds or thousands a day on drugs. We will be taking much less risks. Never mind the fact that a real job, while low paying, also has a 0% chance of getting us arrested.

We also fail to process the underlying issue of all of these actions being connected. Try as we might, if we committed whatever crime in order to get money to buy drugs, we just can’t do them and not get high. Sure, we may do fine in the beginning, but eventually, inevitably, we talk ourselves into buying “just a little bit”. We justify that we have all of this fast, easy money, so it won’t hurt to buy a little something. It doesn’t help that very often, if hHe way the addict gets money is buy stealing something that is then sold to a fence, said fences are often in the parts of town right near the drugs. To get this money we have to go right by the places that we were used to copping our drugs. Especially if we do not live in the area where we sell the items and but the drugs, the pull is compounded even farther. It is hard to stay strong.

Addicts are used to living in a constant state of turmoil and commotion. We also tend to be self-sabatoging. When things in our lives are too easy or too calm for too long, we tend to fuck it up. It is often unintentional. We tend to not even know that we are doing it. We have to be exceedingly careful to not fall into either traps that can lead us back down the road of active addiction, either our lives being too calm or too hard. Our disease never goes away. We are never cured. We have to be vigilante for the rest of our lives. Without actively going out of our way to stay sober, we will slip back into addiction without even realizing it.