It’s a New Year, and a time for resolutions. We make resolutions about everything. Lose weight, get in shape, make more money, have more sex, go to church more, turn off the electronics, plant a garden, eat healthier, call our mothers more often…or call our mothers much less! All good resolutions. But none of them is the most important one of all:
RESOLVED, 2013 is the year that the addiction ends.
Those of you who are living with an addiction, or who have a loved one who’s an addict, know that there is little that can be more destructive to yourself, your loved one, your family, and those around you who care about you. Whether the addiction is booze, drugs, gambling, food, or whatnot, addictions is the wrecking crew of life. (Heads up! Sex addiction requires its own blog post.You’ll see that blog post in the near future).
Addictions are joy and energy suckers. They make it impossible to love truly. They need to end. But if they were easy to end, there would be precious few addicts out there.
Let’s start by talking about addiction if you’re an addict. Next week, we’ll tackle what to do if your loved one or friend is the one who’s addicted.
If you’re an addict, this is your reality….
- You know that your addiction is not about the thing that you’re addicted to, but about the crisis in your heart and soul. Addicts drink, drug, and all the rest not because they crave the feeling of being behind the wheel of a car when the police stop them for a DUI, or nodding out in a pool of their own barf in the bathroom, or watching the bathroom scale go up, up, up from compulsive overeating, but because the addiction is the best way you know how to numb the ache in your soul.
- There’s a lot to be achy and dis-eased about in the world. Blood, sweat, and tears are everywhere; there is the constant shadow of our own demise to consider. When we awaken at four in the morning beset by fear and anxiety, our bodies tremble and it feels too much to bear.
- Your drugs of choice help relieve the pain. They really do. I get that. But then, like so many medications, they both stop working and cause more harm than good. Much more harm. Meanwhile, all the fear, anxiety, and trembling is still there.
So what to do? While there’s much good work that we could do together and with your loved one in my office, here’s how to start making 2013 the year the addiction ends.
- Talk. With your loved ones, your family, and your friends. Talk about the fears. Talk about the spiritual crisis in your soul. Talk about what it’s like to awaken at four in the morning in a holy crisis. Share your feelings. You’ll be amazed how the people around you will listen and share back. You have feelings like this? You’re not alone.
- Get help before the criminal justice system forces it on you. Your addiction, if it’s to drugs, alcohol, or something money-involved, will likely cross you with the court system before too long. Time in jail will separate you from your addictive substance; it will be involuntary treatment for you. Even a non-jail sentence could well include a probation officer and mandatory 12-step meetings. Involuntary treatment is highly effective. It just wrecks your life in other ways.
- Consider these voluntary options, since one size does not fit all and different things work for different people:
- Twelve-step meetings are free, abundant, and pretty much stigma-free, at this point. You don’t have to say, “My name is X and I’m an addict.” You just have to go.
- Counseling, with someone like me.
- Residential treatment, short term or longer term. Many of these are covered by insurance, or funded by the state or religious organizations. There will be one that’s right for you.
Let 2013 be the year that your addiction ends. Next week, we’ll talk about the partners to addicts. What should they do? And just as importantly, what should they not do?