Updated: Dec 12, 2018
"Every-time I judge someone else, I reveal an unhealed part of myself"
I wish this was true for everyone. In today's world there is SO much judgement and such a stigma attached to addiction. Judgement and addiction are linking, walking hand-in-hand. And I know every single person is guilty of this. We've all done it. We have either judged someone else for their lifestyle choices or explained away our own. What has that done? Nothing. Where has that got us? No where.
"You will not heal by going back to what broke you."
The topic of addiction hits home. Literally and figuratively. During my undergrad studies, I did an internship at a treatment center in northern Wisconsin. I would listen to the stories, watch as they spoke with such sorrow in their eyes and learn so much from what was said and what wasn't said. It wouldn't be until some 21 years later, I would be sitting in one of those sessions, this time, not as a intern. We will save those stories for a later time...
I have not been able to get this question out of my head for the past couple weeks and I do not have the answer, I wish you did, I wish someone did, or do I? The question - Does addiction always win? I feel like more and more you hear the stories, you watch the news, you read your timeline, there was yet another overdose or yet another DUI.
Addiction is a demon that likes to play dress up. Addiction likes to dress up in disguise and show up, not as the demon he is, but as a long lost, yet familiar friend. A friend who is happy and high and jovial and fun to be around and carefree and spontaneous. Addiction wears fabulous masks to cover the demon he is. I often write about the evil monsters and beasts like anxiety and depression, but addiction - man addiction - that is one terrible MF demon. This demon can manifest in so many different ways and, I think, so much of the time, he's here and ready to party before anyone even realizes it.
I've had to bury two friends - in the past few years - because of addiction. I am only 42 - how is this even possible you might ask? Or you might say, wow, only two, that's pretty remarkable. For me - it is TWO and it's two too many. Both struggled with their sobriety on different paths. One had been sober for more than twenty years with no formal stint in rehab. Whenever I think about it, I get those sick butterflies in my stomach. TWENTY YEARS. How. Does. This. Happen? The protagonist is supposed to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after, he's not supposed to die. He's not supposed to accidentally overdose because the pain pills became too much after back surgery. Addiction 1 - Sobriety 0
Two children, an accomplished career, and a successful stint in rehab - she was living the sober life. That was until one day a beer sounded good and she thought, I've got this under control, I can handle it, I can have A beer. Well, it didn't stop with one beer and it didn't stop until her organs did. The Hepatitis took over and one-by-one the organs failed and she passed away. Addiction 1 - Sobriety 0
I could go on and on with "case studies" like this or personal stories of loved ones who lost their battle with addiction. I could go on, but to be quite honest, I am only stalling. I've been scared to do the research on this one, usually I am all about the data - what do the numbers say? This time, not so much, I didn't want to read about 90% relapse rates. But I did! I did a cursory review of marketing materials for treatment and rehabilitation facilities - guess what I found out? Studies show relapse rates as high as 90% therefore making success rates as low as 10%. Or, 3 out of 10 addicts that attend rehab stay sober one year. With less than 90 days in treatment, 38% experience a relapse. 70% to 90% of recovering addicts experience at least one mild relapse.
What does this say about your own sobriety? About a loved ones sobriety? I have to say, it is rather depressing - does it really matter - I mean, it seems like you battle this demon your whole life only to lose in the end. It's not just depressing, it's downright heartbreaking to really think about. Keep Coming Back. Less drinking - more thinking. It works if you work it. God grant me the serenity. One day at a time. Let go, Let God.
Is that enough?
Sobriety isn't one size fits all. There is no magic wand. It IS one day at a time. And one day at a time we can stop the judgement and start the advocacy for addiction treatment and recovery. We can love on and support those in recovery. I am still going to grapple with my question - does addiction always win? I sure hope not, but tonight - it sure feels like it might.
For now, I'll keep pushing through...