Addiction Doesn’t Mean The End

Addiction Doesn’t Mean The End

You’re not stuck; there’s always a way out.
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Another crumbled-up piece of paper lies in an unmarked grave of letters I will never send. Paragraphs upon paragraphs of apologies that’ll never be read. I balance this weight of resentment on my shoulders in hopes that eventually I’ll be found in a pile of ashes of my own skin.

I’ve lived at the bottom of a bottle in darkness. I’ve built my life around a castle of lies that I’m not so sure is worthy of standing. Broken hearts have become a metaphor for everything I’ve never been able to do right. My mistakes come in the form of a ghost that forever haunts me inside my own mind.

The part of being an addict that is the hardest to cope with is probably the part where I no longer see myself as who I am. I see myself as a monster with no sense of empathy. I’m relying on a reality that ceases to exist. When I’m high, my head is in the clouds.

But what every addict forgets is that what comes up must come down. When the high wears off, it feels like you’ve just done a belly flop off a plane from 39,000 feet in the air. It feels like your chest has been crushed by a ton of bricks and there’s not one damn thing you can do about it.

Imagine you’re drowning in the ocean. The tides are crashing over you one by one. They’re pulling you under the current and dragging you away from the shore. Between waves, you’re trying to gasp for air, but before you get the chance you’re struck again. The salt will pour into your mouth, and like a snail on a hot day, you’ll melt under the crashing of your own silent screams.

It’s an endless cycle that seems impossible to escape. Constant cravings and urges just to feel something again. When you hear the word “addict,” what comes to mind? Maybe the image of a skinny person with bags under their eyes and clothes that are covered in filth.

Maybe you see an addict as someone who’s always begging for money or selling their bodies for a high. Maybe you see a man passed out on a park bench smelling of whiskey and loneliness. What people tend to forget is that there are more addictions than just alcohol and drugs.

What if I gave you a different face? What if I painted you a picture of someone who’s extremely intelligent? Someone who’s worked so hard for everything they have ever gotten.

A senior accounting major who graduates in May with a 3.3 GPA. A girl whose life has swallowed everything she ever cared about. A misguided soul who wanted nothing more than to be a success in the eyes of those she loved. What if I told you this girl was an addict? What if I told you this girl wasn’t who she seemed to be?

There are addictions upon addictions—whether that’s drugs such as pain killers, meth, heroin, amphetamines, hallucinogens, or Benzodiazepines (which include drugs like Xanax). Alcohol and even cigarettes are other common addictions you may be familiar with.

But what about love addictions? Or people who are addicted to cutting and feeling pain? What about sex addictions and food addictions? Gambling and lying addictions? What about all these other addictions that go unheard of or talked about?

Addiction isn’t a joke. It isn’t easy to just stop and call it quits. It’s not a game that you can pause and hit restart on. It’s a sickness that simply tears apart your entire body and mind. You become so dependent on your addiction to feel whole and to feel good about yourself.

However, following the come-down or the withdrawal, you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. A feeling of constant neglect to those you’ve ever cared about. You’re starting to choose your addiction over your life. You’re letting it consume you until you no longer have a sense of self.

I’ve seen addicts neglect their kids. I’ve seen addicts steal from anyone and everyone just to get another fix. I’ve seen guns pulled on good people. I’ve seen temptations pull triggers. I’ve seen anger corrupt the weak. I’ve seen the mistakes they’ve made shatter their lives into a million pieces. I’ve seen it tear apart the bravest of people. I’ve seen it shatter my own reflection in the mirror.

But what does it mean to be in recovery? Slowly weaning yourself away from those things you once thought you needed. Slowly pulling yourself out of a well that’s filled with endless desires of what you could be. Bettering your self-worth as a human being. Tricking your body into believing you no longer need to grasp onto a safety net. Push your old identity off a bridge just to start fresh again.

You have to force yourself to believe you’re not going to forever be the same person you once were. It takes self-discipline and motivation from those who love you and surround you. It will take constant nights of being in pain and drowning in tears to become someone better. But it is possible. It is a challenge that will seem impossible to overcome, but you are capable.

Addiction isn’t worth losing yourself. Addiction isn’t worth burying everything you worked so hard to get. Addiction isn’t worth the hurt you put those around you through. Addiction isn’t a need or a want. Addiction is a demon that you must cleanse out of your system. It’s a process that will never feel complete. You’ll forever have to consciously work at staying away from the one thing that ever made you feel happy or sane.

But you’re capable of overcoming all of it. Take this from someone who’s been through it. Take this from someone who spent years trying to cope with life. Take this from someone who almost lost everything that ever mattered to me. It’s not worth that one short moment of numbness. Please, get better. Get help. Push yourself to become someone you’ve always wanted to be. Then maybe you’ll know what true happiness really feels like.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Better Not Bitter

"Let your past make you better, not bitter."

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After completing my junior year at Iowa State, I have found myself reflecting on a lot of the experiences and people who have helped me get to the point I am at today. Family obviously comes to mind, followed by my friends, my sorority sisters, my boyfriend, my professors, and my mentors. I am able to contribute a lot of my success to their support and compassion that they have shown me throughout my past three years. I am also able to contribute my success to the woman I have grown to be and to the woman I have always wanted to be. You see, three years ago, the woman I was was buried in a toxic relationship that didn't allow me to flourish into the woman I was striving to be.

Let me take a step back, this article is not meant to bash the person who it is about. In fact, it's more of a thank you. Because you see, without him letting go of me, I would have never taken the leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone to become the woman I am so damn proud to be today. This is also not meant to say that I am I glad I was in such a toxic relationship, it was honestly so terrible that I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but I am in fact, thankful. I learned more from that relationship that I have in anything else in my life.

First, I learned to be a fighter, and not in a bad way. I learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I have become vocal about my passions and stand up for people when they are treated wrong. I no longer let people walk all over me, but rather I stand my ground firmly and confidently. Thank you.

Second, I learned to be fierce. Fierce in love, kindness, compassion, and willpower. I believe in my abilities and the things I am able to accomplish if I set my mind to something. I have learned that in being fierce, there is absolutely no time to doubt myself which has worked greatly in my favor. I learned that demanding respect in all relationships I have formed has been about me making the decision to make myself a priority and learning to never settle for any less than I deserve, ever again. Thank you.

Third, I learned compassion. I learned to be kind to the other woman, and mostly, to the person who chose to hurt me. It took everything in me to remain kind while I was being hurt, but I am so thankful that I stayed true to the values and morals I was raised on. I have carried this with me throughout the past three years by choosing to show compassion to all people around me, and looking deeper into the reasons behind the actions and decisions that people make. Often times there is something going on behind closed doors and because of that, it is important to always, always radiate kindness. Thank you.

I wanted to extend my gratitude to the person who hurt me because if you hadn't, I wouldn't be the badass, boss girl, powerful woman that I am today. I am confident, smart, loving, and fully capable of giving and receiving the kindest, most sincere kind of love. My life has changed for the better, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I wish you the best, because let me tell ya, it feels great.

By the way, if you ever feel like you deserve better than what you're receiving in a relationship, trust your gut & walk the hell away. It's worth it.

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