Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Missing Piece: Preventing Relapse Part 1

I have been on and off of drugs for over 1/3 of my life. My addictive behaviors started at 14 years old when I picked up my first cigarette. (at least to the best of my memory)

I am ashamed 21 years later to say that I stole 2 Marlboro lights out of a girl's purse in my 5th period choir class. I can still smell the tobacco stained cloth inside the little zipper that held my little vice in secrecy until I could get home.

As I stood in my bedroom hours later, staring into the white framed mirror above my dresser, I spoke words to myself through angry lips; hot and sticky from the crocodile tears that slowly dripped out of my eyes.

"You think I am worthless?! I'll SHOW you worthless!"

Choking & coughing up the very breath as it rejected the smoke filling my heavy lungs, I swiftly dipped the tip of my stolen cig into a half cup of water and watched the brightness turn ashy gray.  I re lit it in the steamy room where I ran a shower to mask the stench 2 hours later.

It took me 21 years to find a doctor that taught me that was one of the days where I changed my destiny. 

Quickly following that first smoke came my bulimia, high school lunches made of alcohol, pot smoking behind the tree between classes, and the beginning of my long journey through rehabs and shrinks. Good, memorable, and traumatizing experiences shaped me through the years as I battled pain, addiction, rejection, SELF rejection, shame, guilt, and a world swallowing me up in a sea of depression so deep that I knew by 25 years old I was implementing a slow painful suicide upon myself.


In rehab you learn that in relapse not only do you pick up where you left off, you inevitably end up worse, and i was no exception to this rule. I in fact think I resemble quite the model poster child for a corrosive pattern of behavior.

What sucked me in deeper each time was the guilt. The incredible guilt induced the destruction and malevolence inflicted upon my mind. Daily. For what felt like forever. The shame of telling others I wanted to change and that I would be different after so many times of failure.

I did my time with counseling and different meds as well. Year after year eagerly approaching my issues and weaknesses with intensity, devotion, and optimism. Hearing time and time again how I must not have wanted to be sober enough!

I yearned for that missing piece. WHY do I always mess up? How do I allow myself to numb repeatedly in ways that harm myself extensively when I know better?

Knowledge.. I have it! Willingness, check! Medicine- yes. Support system...yes. Good Professionals, a few! Vulnerability and desire never lacked. Any normal person could pull their life together with these tools used conjointly.  Couldn't they?

Not me. Soon the vulnerability shut down, and the desire became shame.  Each relapse my addiction got worse. Hopelessness and loneliness lined the horizon of my miserable future.  I sunk into a hole so deep, I can still only deal with a small fraction of it.

The missing piece never showed up because I couldn't make it. I failed, and would always be a failure.

At the age of 35, I have learned this is not the truth. I have a doctor who has taught me about how we can put that final piece into a successful recovery.

See, when we are conceived we have thoughts ingrained into our consciousness. Thoughts such as I will be happy, I will love myself.

As we come into this world, those thoughts are often changed or transformed during times in which we are in high states of emotion. Fear, sadness, rage, anger, physical pain name a few.

Let me give you an example. I was conceived as a happy little being. My mother and father got a divorce when I was young. My mother expressed her pain in ways that effected me. She said things to me that eluded I'd be a worthless failure.  She told me regularly I was a 'f up', a worthless whore, and I'd never make anything of myself. I was an amazing kiddo at that time, but that soon changed.

The 1st chance that came available for me to rebel and prove to her how worthless I'd be was when I stole the two Marlboro Lights.

I spent 20+ years ingraining that thought and others into my brain so that I'd never be happy, and if I'd get close to happiness, I'd sabotage EVERYTHING and end up a failure. Please click on link to read part 2.

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