My Thoughts on Dealing with Addiction
I don’t know what to tell you, exactly. You just kind of do it, I guess. I’ll try and put it into words.
No one gets into any addictive habit, such as taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes with a plan, they just try them and enjoy the escape they provide; escape from their own thoughts and feelings. It’s my contention that most addiction sufferers are very sensitive people; people who have decided at some point that they would rather not feel so much. At least that’s the way it was for me.
It all started out innocently enough. I was with friends and we decided to give meth amphetamines a go one night. I loved it. Everything came into focus after I got high. I had no wasted thoughts. Whatever I set my mind to, I did; for hours; pure focus. I entertained no doubt, had no worries, felt no fear and spent none of my time wondering what other people were thinking about me. I felt the way I had wanted to feel all my life; confident, sure, completely comfortable in my own skin; at peace.
Of course I wasn’t thinking about any of that in detail in the moment, I just knew that I loved how the drug made me feel. It was love at first taste. And it didn’t take long before I developed the need to feel “protected,” “inoculated,” “high” all of the time. Why leave myself vulnerable to bad feeling at all? “Yeah, good idea,” my budding addiction chimed in.
It’s all fun in the beginning, until you notice the price you’re paying for the privilege and the destruction you’re leaving in your wake; until you notice that you’re really not achieving anything close to inner peace at all. Drug users are only running away from reality; putting blinders on; dimming their perceptions; trying not to feel, or trying to feel differently. And I would think it the same for anything done in an addictive manner, such as: over eating, over exercising, hording, etc.
Unfortunately this process of realization takes time, but once seen, it
cannot be un-seen. The fun part of abusing yourself has past forever. But
on a positive note you are finally in a position to do something about it.
Leaving It All Behind
I went to rehab, but it wasn’t my decision to go. I went there because my
parents said that I had to in order to keep on living with them. Sure, I knew
I had a problem at the time and I gave quitting a serious go, a three year go
actually, but in the end the drug using wasn’t over for me; you see, I had not
made the inner decision to do so. There is no chance of lasting success
without that. That is true in all things, I have found.
Anyway, for me it took beating the whole thing into the ground. I had to hit
bottom, as they say. And as it turned out the bottom was a long way down.
Simply put, I had to see that no matter what real life dealt out to me it could
be no worse than my experiences on drugs. Being high near the end was
like living in a nightmare. Every fear I’d ever had, every doubt I’d ever
entertained got magnified a hundred times, I would get immediately
agitated, paranoid and self conscious after getting high; I didn’t want to
leave my room. It was hell on earth. So I quit; and got busy creating heaven.
Quitting smoking was even more difficult to let go of, but the cigarettes
went out of my life quite similarly. I had begun exercising seriously the
same day I quit using meth and realized right away that smoking cigarettes
and working out couldn’t really co-exist together if I truly wanted to start
loving myself. And I did, so I started contemplating a solution. The smoking
would have to go.
Once again, nothing lasting changed until I had enough impetus to make an
internal decision. It took about three years of fits, starts, failed attempts
and developing a nasty repetitive hacking to do it; one which miraculously
disappeared two days after my last cigarette. Thank goodness. I can breathe
Now, thanks to other peoples contributions to my life and my own hard work, I practice what I call “Kung Fu of the Mind.” It is a function in which I first pay attention to, then look over everything coming in and everything going out. Then I decide, using love of self, experience, and my best judgment which thoughts, idea’s, and beliefs best serve me and the highest good. Then I discard, or disregard the rest. I no longer let anything get in the way of me loving myself, and you can do it too.
My website www.forthehereandnow.org is a blueprint of my success. The tools are there, but it’s up to you to make them work. Remember, you are loved no matter what’s going on around you. Each one of us has a deep and powerful connection to the All That Is, so use it and be your best self. I love you.
Evan A. Peterson