I don't want to be a Drug Addict Anymore
She had been home with us about a month. So tiny, so fragile, and so new. I held her in my arms and looked into her big brown eyes, and it was at that moment something clicked that hadn’t clicked in the last 19 years. I don’t want to be a drug addict anymore.
The thought process was really that simple. Sure I could attribute it to something higher: God, a need to model healthy behavior for my firstborn child, or wanting to be around long enough to at least see her graduate high school. And these would all be noble enough reasons, I suppose, but the truth, for once in my life, was simpler than that. Baby was starting life anew and why couldn’t I do the same with her? This reasoning was bolstered by an overwhelming sense that my attempt at breaking this addiction was going to work this time because it was going to work this time.
An Unorthodox Methodology
I’ve now been clean for 7 months. I quit cold turkey without the aid of a rehab center, books, hypnosis, or medications. This was not a result of me playing it tough. I gladly would have sought some manner of rehabilitation, but because of various constraints, most financial in nature, any such help was not within my reach.
Since I would be quitting on my own, I decided I would do it my own way. In the past when I had tried to quit, I junked all my stash. Having tried to get clean several times, I’ve noticed that disposing of what I had on hand made me feel helpless, like quitting was no longer a process I was a part of. This time I’ve kept my drugs. It has been my decision not to use them, not someone else’s.
Like any speed addict, I was worried that I wouldn’t have the energy to function without drugs. I’m a stay at home parent, and like most stay at home parents, I have many kettles in the fire. I take care of my daughter all day, I work from home as a writer, I maintain our land, I am our resident fixit man, our primary cooker and cleaner, I have elderly family to look after. In other words, I keep busy.
This time I’ve kept my drugs. It has been my decision not to use them, not someone else’s.
A Perpetual Fog
When I first quit, I was tired all the time, but luckily baby was, too. Had my wife not truly loved me, I would have been out on the street, because my mood swings were wild. My depression caused me to think things I don’t care to go into detail about here: paranoia, feelings of inadequacy, fear and loathing followed me in almost everything I did. Then I’d look at baby, and as if by magic, it would turn out the strength was there all along. I’m going to succeed this time because I’m going to succeed, I’d think to myself, and it was just that simple.
I didn’t pull my weight in the beginning. For the first couple of months all of life was a fog, but I just kept pushing forward, telling myself, Each moment I‘m sober puts me one step closer to being where I want to be. I would wake from sleep in a state of absolute exhaustion, and just wouldn’t care to live anymore. Then baby would need me and I’d find that missing will to live.
Each moment I‘m sober puts me one step closer to being where I want to be.
Question and Answer
Has your life been impacted by drug addiction?
Forecast Calls for more Sun with a Chance of Fog
Things have slowly gotten clearer. It is not so much that the fog has completely lifted as that it goes away more often now. The breaking of an addiction does not follow a linear path. I’ll be great for a bit, and then the hammer of chemical dependency comes down on my head again. As time passes the swings of the hammer lessen in frequency and strength, but when the pain rages and the walls close in, I hold my daughter close, and in a reversal of roles, she is the one that keeps the boogey man at bay.
The breaking of an addiction does not follow a linear path.
So Why did I Quit Using, Again?
I have watched many drop dead around me over the years from problems related to addiction: friends, family, colleagues, most every kind of acquaintance one has over the course of a lifetime. It never scared me enough to make quitting take, and honestly, I don’t think I could have been “scared” into quitting. I don’t care to be scared into anything, and I feel like fear is used as a motivator far too often.
Seven months clean, I am about 60 pounds heavier than I was before. Contrary to what the pamphlets say, my blood pressure and heart rate are higher now than when I was a drug user. Because I used drugs for almost 2 decades, even though I’ve quit, I still have not reduced my chances of getting cancer as much as you might think.
So, if I wasn’t scared into it and quitting hasn’t seemed to have had a positive effect on my health, then why did I do it? I don’t want to be a drug addict anymore! So much in this life we can’t control, but I want my daughter to grow up knowing that what one can control they can control. My family is enough to sustain me, to give me strength. We can change in this life if only we can find the will.
I don’t want to be an addict anymore, and every time I look into my daughter’s eyes, she confirms that Dammit all, I don’t have to! I want my daughter to know she can be whatever she chooses to be. I can’t very well convince her of that if I choose to be someone I can’t see my way to love or respect.
I don’t want to be an addict anymore, and every time I look into my daughter’s eyes, she confirms that Dammit all, I don’t have to!
The Joy of Watching My Drugs Die before I do
Tucked away in our freezer is a testament to my conviction. Each day I stay clean what is left of my drug of choice loses a bit of potency. After 7 months, it probably barely has the strength to get me high anymore. In a year it will be dried and vacant of all life, a stuffed cadaver, a trophy, Hector to my Achilles, a symbol of the thing I conquered, a symbol of how much I love my daughter, a symbol of how important to me it is that she love herself.
In my freezer sits what remains of a tub of dipping tobacco, quantifiably viable as the most addictive substance known to humankind. It will remain there forever.
I love and I am loved! I don’t need you anymore! I beat you, you motherfucker!!