CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Those of us who struggle with substance abuse can create an odd relationship with the “high” or intoxication of the substances we are using.
One of the biggest challenges for drug rehabs like Lions Gate Recovery is to encourage the addict or alcoholic that this “relationship” is one of the core problems of addiction. It is not uncommon for individuals early in recovery to speak about the “good old times” and continue to glorify pastimes of substance use in a nostalgic light.
Though not true of everyone, this kind of romanticizing mentality can crumble the foundation that recovery is built on. In our experience, it is very easy for an addict or alcoholic to talk themselves into a relapse simply by “remembering the glory days” and ignoring negative consequences of using substances.
Breaking up with intoxication is an acknowledgement that there is no going back and the commitment to a life without the substance.
The good and the bad
One of the many reasons it is so hard for anyone to quit using substances is the simple fact that drugs and alcohol are tried-and-true. Through the good and the bad, drugs and alcohol are unfailing.
All of us had good times using – and definitely bad times – though regardless of the outcomes in our life, we always had the reliability of using. That intoxication was something we could always turn to. The dependability we found in using creates such a close connection between the abuser and the substance.
Many addicts and alcoholics find their identity and their purpose intertwined at the core of their substance abuse. This is why it is crucial for inpatient and outpatient treatment centers to address the dependent reliance on substances while also helping individuals sever the bond between the individual and their romance of drugs and alcohol.
An easy way to sever the relationship with substances is to view it as toxic. I understand that substances are the common denominator or cause for much of the pain and agony we suffer. This understanding is an easy deterrent to want to use or drink again. To see the substances as a pathway to misery will discourage the individual to think of using as an option.
Being reminded of the horrors of addiction denies alcoholics and addicts the ability to romanticize or glorify drug use. To have the life we want, we must remove the poison preventing us from it. Instead of sacrificing our lives for the drugs, we must surrender the substances for our lives. We cannot have both; something has to go, and the choice is made clear for those early in recovery – especially in treatment centers or rehabs like Lion’s Gate Recovery.
A ‘life without’
A life without drugs and alcohol could be the hardest thing for an addict or alcoholic to accept. With an identity and purpose attached to their substance use, this seems impossible. This idea is, in essence, the very breakup between the individual and the substances they use.
This is the daunting sacrifice that scares many addicts and alcoholics away from the treatment or rehab they desperately need. Imaginations run wild of all the “good times” the addict or alcoholic will miss. It is hard for addicts and alcoholics to fathom the ability to enjoy life without the use of substances. Without the “drunk” or “high” the individual is left only with themselves with no buffer between them and reality.
Giving up the substances we use is the only way we have a real chance at a meaningful life. This is why it is so important for addicts or alcoholics to take things one day at a time.
Written by SHANE P. CURRIN, Lions Gate Recovery.
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