Friday, January 23, 2009

I've come to the conclusion over the years that most addicts are good people with a bad disease. In my conversations with many of them, they express a great deal of remorse for what they do and continue to do. Many become suicidal, not because they feel so sick, but because they cannot bear the thought of continuing to hurt those they love. To wake up day after day, not quite remembering what occurred the night before, then to see the look of disappointment and fear on the faces of the ones closest to you is a terrible thing - for everyone.

My arms are covered with light scarring - from practice cuts, "calls for help", and sometimes the pain inflicted would over-ride the confusion, fear and other emotional pain that was building inside me. They are a good reminder of the "dark days".........Death would have been an acceptable if not desirable effect of what I was doing.

There's a saying that goes "God looks after drunks and fools"....well, I can say from personal experience he (whoever he/she/it is) definitely does. When things got too much for me, I took a massive overdose and woke up 3 days later. Alone (no-one had found me), hallucinating, bright red through high blood pressure but, unfortunately, alive. I say unfortunately because that is how I felt at the time. I feared the future and what I may do next. I was so sure I was going to die from the overdose, I was at a total loss when I regained consciousness. So I did what any good addict would do in the situation - went and got blasted!

The years of accumulated destruction I had left behind me were really starting to wear me down. I could not see a time when I could walk down a street without looking over my shoulder. There were all the "yets" to think about:

I hadn't robbed a bank...yet
I hadn't killed anyone...yet
I didn't have irreversible brain damage...yet
There were still quite a few unspeakable things I hadn't done...yet.

If you are in the grip of a substance addiction....look back over the years...have things gotten better? What makes you think they will?

When you are an addict, you don't have control over a substance or a great deal of your behaviour while you are under the influence of that substance. As the disease progresses, your self-control declines. If you are an addict, it is very unwise to say "I would never do something like that" .... our jails are full of people who have uttered those damning words.

If you are close to an addict; whether you are their partner, family or friend there is also no way that you can state "He/She would never do that to me". Your false sense of security could cost you your life.

If you are living with someone who has a substance abuse problem and refuses to do anything about it, my advice to you is to pack your bags and leave... especially if you have children in your care. You may be saying to yourself "it's not that easy". It is. Think about the alternative - a life of continued fear and insecurity, or worse.

Have you ever heard of the "battered wife syndrome"? The victims are usually people who have been in an abusive relationship for so long, the person feels they can no longer leave, they have forgotten what "normal" is. Substance abuse is usually a feature in these relationships.

Read the papers.... "Father of four slays family"

Alcohol and other drugs greatly impair areas of the brain that deal with memory, reasoning, inhibition and aggression....the longer the abuse, the more the damage - the worse the behaviour.

So fellow addicts, what to do?

Suicide is an option if you don't wish to get help - but make it quick, the suicide through drug abuse is long and drawn out for everyone. Also, suicide is a bit harder than what people imagine. I have tasted the cold steel of a rifle barrel in my mouth - I didn't pull the trigger. I do know others that did. After all their years of drug abuse, they left one final gift for their family and friends - their corpses. How thoughtful. Another mess that others have to clean up on your behalf.

But there is another way, it's called recovery. A total stranger introduced it to me....

There are many strangers who can show you it too....

Pick up a telephone directory and look under "Drug and Alcohol". Almost everyone country in the world has a section for it. There you will find numbers for groups of people who have been to hell and back, who know just what you are going through. While I am aware that many countries in the world do not offer free detox services, these community based groups will assist you with detoxing and have "contacts" that can help you through the dangerous time of physical withdrawal.

Please, never try to withdraw on your own....

Life can be different for you - positive, energizing, peaceful

Or haven't you had enough of your addiction.....yet?

Michael Bloch

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