How Can Addicts Learn To Find Peace – Part 1

What is peace? We often mistake the feeling of contentment with peace, but few of us will truly know what peace is until they are swept off their feet by it.

That which brings us momentary peace in our daily lives is a misleading form of sense gratification. It is designed to give the illusion of lasting happiness, based on being satisfied with the situation is right now. However, we are not really, we are? After that tiny instant has passed, we strap ourselves back into an emotional rollercoaster of our own making. Truth be told, we choose to suffer through the choices, we have made and continue to make. To detach from this is easier said than done. We cannot simply switch our emotions off. The way we think persists, even if we attempt to force ourselves not to. In fact, the more pressure, we apply on ourselves, the less likely we are to change. We can’t force anyone to do anything that they do not want or are not ready for yet…Including ourselves…We can, however, encourage growing out of behaviour that no longer supports our continued development.

What I’ve learnt is that people prefer my fictional works over the factual content. A few days ago, I sold my first poem before hitting rock-bottom after a very painful relapse. With the amount of alcohol, I consumed, any amateur would have given themselves a hospital level case of alcohol poisoning.
Once again, the same life lesson emerged from the experience:

“Control your mind,
or others will do it for you.”

What triggered the urge to drink initially was something extremely positive, then I was offered to write some poetry, so I set off on my merry way to do just that in a clean and sober state…But things rarely turn out how we expect. Sometimes, we look back and end up asking ourselves, did that just fucking happen? The more relevant question is, why did it happen? Why did we begin to indulge in excess in the first place? If we’ve stopped before, what helped us do so? And lastly, what keeps setting off our need for that substance?
In general, the answers to these questions are designed to form a bigger picture of our triggers. After such deep soul-searching, the process of healing can begin, during which we are encouraged to avoid exposing ourselves to the risks of relapse. This is the reason why rehabilitation treatment comes in three forms:

  1. Open: For medium risk recovery. The person is allowed free time, to roam the premises without supervision after the initial withdrawal symptoms pose no further medical risks. [After the DT stage, for example]
  2. Closed: For high risk recovery. Typically locked facilities that allow for very little privacy. People are usually referred to such places due to mental health problems, criminal conduct or a paid for intervention. The goal is to reach the stage of recovery, in which an open unit can assist them in long term recovery.
  3. Outpatient: My personal favourite for the value that is has when we consider the breakdown of family, community and even society. The person faces their problems from comfort of their own home with the help of family, friends and medical professionals.

Have you seen many serious addicts without a support system stay clean for long without a realistic mission to dedicate their lives to? I haven’t.
Goals are no longer enough at a certain depth of desperation. We drink…We swallow pills…We shoot up…Because otherwise we’d do something, we may regret. When I used to need days to pass quickly in anticipation for something, I would complete all necessary tasks…and just get pissed so hard I wouldn’t remember, I wouldn’t feel the weight of time passing. In fact, I used to bottle things up so deep that they would come out in the most vile manner, even if more pressing matters were at hand. I learnt that the hard way, when I first began blacking out. Luckily, I have never managed to harm myself in the process, others are not so lucky. We can harbour feelings of hurt, buried in layers, which over time grow so intense, we need to black out. We cant consciously express them, so fragments of space-time go missing, in which our inner hellcat takes the wheel…Most of my type of user cant allow themselves to lose control, so we maintain our emotional presence through other means in the absence of another outlet. Hell, we can’t even try to off ourselves sober, because we are too attached to everything around us, but we often don’t feel connected in the slightest. Some of us have numbed themselves to the point of blocking the biochemical processes responsible until the very worst stages of recovery. Others, like me, who lack certain psycho-emotional building blocks, coped without until an event or seveal so big that we can’t cope any longer. When we reached out, and received no help, regret still surfaces for asking after every relapse. In truth, the more we reach out for human connection and are frequently/infrequently rejected, the more we lose faith in a permanent state of recovery….in life as a functioning member of whatever system, we use make sense of communal life in the universe. Mind you, we lose “faith”, not belief. We lose the ability to trust in ourselves, as a result of what we perceive as consistent failure. It’s a tragic tale that applies to countless just like me. We are campaigned for en masse, but when we are encountered on the street, we inspire pity at best and disgust at worst. We are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters…but we often have no one to turn to. Oh sure, there is rehab, but I’d rather face a hard time with familiar people whose care can sustain a lasting recovery than with a kind stranger, who’ll probably burn out sooner or later just like I did. The sytem can’t work, if the values that created it are fucking disappearing by the day!
For what it’s worth, what we suffer from is innately idiopathic. It’s nameless, faceless and without empirically-verifiable origin. It is a byproduct of the human condition, as so many others.

The problem becomes when we are the primary trigger for our excessive use. The root cause tends to lead back to deeply held beliefs, embedded to support our physical, psychological as well as emotional survival. We cannot persevere, if we can’t function, so we find ways to cope. As a temporary measure, this is socially acceptable. For instance, after a rough break-up. Yet, as a long-term option, it is rather frowned upon. So, where is the cut off point between short and long term usage? Right where the spur of the moment used to cope becomes habit…But just before it is a lifestyle choice.

It should be noted, the way our cortices maintain themselves is by forming new connections all the time. For example, when we continue indulge, and then persevere through recovery alone, we form different neuronal connections by cultivating different skills from those with support. For serious addicts with trust issues, their suspicious nature spells trouble. God, we try to trust, but the high cuts the risk. When we do without, its serious shit…

Please continue to Part 2