The Part of Yourself You Never Want to Know

It’s not that trying to explain my addiction is a waste of time; it’s just that it would be very hard to understand, unless you went through it yourself. Literally everything in your life changes, and not for the better: your free will, your ability to make logical decisions, any dream you ever had about improving your future…gone. The luckiest an active drug abuser can hope to be is to not have anybody in their lives to destroy or hurt with their behavior. I viewed my family as both a curse and a blessing during my addiction; but they stopped being a “curse” after I was able to see more clearly, and realize that it was them who ultimately pulled me from the brink.

I abused cocaine for three years, one of which included crack. It started off as a line or two to have some fun, then it literally became a question of how much I could abuse my body and take life for granted. In the middle of my addiction, I became extremely depressed, which I later found out was a symptom. I contemplated how meaningless life was, and how the only moments worth living on this planet were moments where you can make yourself happy. Cocaine was the only thing that could make me happy, so I never even thought about quitting.

I went back and forth between wanting to just slowly drift into oblivion and wanting to keep fighting for my life. I even started seeing a therapist, but all she wanted to do was talk to me about inpatient drug treatment centers, and I wasn’t interested in a solution that didn’t include cocaine. I was so far gone, that I didn’t recognize the two were related. At this point, I was living two lives: one cloaked in regularity to keep up appearances and my real life as a borderline suicidal coke addict. I started to think that I could actually get better when, to my astonishment, I found out there were some things I wanted to live for.

When I was sober, it hurt, but that only meant that I could still feel, so I began to embrace that. One day it just I clicked that I could change and there was nothing that was going to stop me. I began exploring inpatient drug treatment centers that also specialized in depression—it was the only way I was going to be able to beat this. The humility and self-awareness that I gained during rehab is not something I could have gotten anywhere else. Five years after I completed treatment, I still experience difficult days, but the longer I go, the better I feel. I’m not willing to mortgage my future by chasing an unattainable feeling.

At the end of the day, I was just able to hold on to the notion that there were things that made life worth living, and that the time we had on this planet should be spent cherishing it; not wishing it away.

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