Addiction: simple and complicated

Having just experienced a small relapse (this time with pills) in January, a good friend of mine asked me a simple question: “if you know you have a problem, and you know after taking the drugs, you won’t feel well, why do you take them?”

If only life were logical.

“Because it feels fucking awesome.”

“Oh, okay.”

I felt her sarcasm and smiled, shrugging my shoulders, and continued my thought.

“At first. It feels awesome at first. It’s like the High makes us forget about the Low. But the Low always follows. I know, it makes no sense. I wish I could explain it better.”

When you’re born with an addictive brain, there’s something that gets triggered when whatever vice we latch on to connects the dots. It could be heroin, alcohol, or even food; when we find that vice, euphoria invades our reasoning and little else matters.

Have you ever wanted to lose a few pounds, but when the warm bread and butter basket arrives at the dinner table, nothing else matters but savoring every bite?  Then after dinner, you beat yourself up, feeling guilty for sabotaging your diet plan? It’s the same thing with drug addicts – although our warm bread basket is much more dangerous.

I used to think all drug addicts were filthy, homeless, prostitutes with holes in their veins.  I used to think a lot of things, only to realize that such short sided thinking could get me in a heap of trouble. I thought I was safe – just a party girl with my Coke and Ecstasy.  But a drug addict? Fuck no. I had my shit together.

What a difference a decade makes.

I’ll talk about my three-day bender with pills in January later, but for now, I’ll say that it was a wake-up call and valuable lesson in my personal journey with addiction. I learned to never take that shit for granted. That is to say – never think just because I don’t snort blow or take ecstasy, that I’m cured.

The fact is, there really is no cure. The cravings come and go, and the desire to use is sometimes overwhelming. Everything fluctuates based on our inner-spirit and how we manage stress. It’s no secret that relapses happen when the addict is hit with some sort of traumatic event in their lives.

It’s so easy to numb the pain with our vices. What’s hard is fighting our natural instincts to pop a pill, take a drink or even eat that gallon if ice cream. But after a while, when we learn to live with the hard part, it does get easier. The energy it takes to be well becomes a labor of love, because we realize – we are worth fighting for.

I heard this song the other day and I froze dead in my tracks. Not only did I remember it from my party days, it has a whole new meaning to me now. Any addict will get it. Any friend of one will understand.

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” ~ Seneca

8 thoughts on “Addiction: simple and complicated

  1. Ah, this song. Wow. I’m hearing it now with different ears than I had when it came out.
    I think my brain is pretty addictive in nature. After quitting smoking, I struggle with my relationship to food and alcohol and sugar, trying to be hyper-vigilant about making sure that I don’t start using anything as the same vice that nicotine was. And still, I’ll dream about it and wake up feeling guilty for smoking. Or I go out and have a lot of new things happening and think that it would be a good idea. But I hear that nicotine adds little receptors in your brain that just want I’ll wait for those little guys to just die off I suppose 🙂 thanks for reminding me about the nature of it, it helps me to see the whole thing with more loving kindness and perspective.


  2. good song

    I drink three or four beers, with the supervision of my wife, every once in a while. I know I’ll want many more. I know I’ll want a fifth of whiskey. I know I’ll want a line or six of coke. But I still do it.

    There’s no rhyme or reason.


      1. i still “want”. I drank two large draft beers last night and wanted more. The difference is I know what using would do to and for me.


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