The more I stick around in recovery from addiction, the more I’ve come to realize that addiction is addiction is addiction, no matter what the addiction.
The patterns are always the same. There’s a reliance on whatever the substance of the addiction is where one is usually up when they are engaging in their addiction and down when they aren’t. There’s a self-denial the addiction even exists with plenty of rationalizations that they’ve got everything under control. There’s the lies to cover up the engagement in the addiction where eventually they even believe their lies to be the truth. There’s the anger and irritability that comes from self-loathing of living in the addiction. There’s the pointing of fingers of other’s addictions and problems to create smoke and mirrors and shift the focus off of them. There’s the lack of integrity, reliability, and a life full of excuses and laziness. And there’s a general level of hopelessness and desperation underlying it all.
Having lived in so many addictions for the majority of my life, I see it so clearly now and sometimes it’s both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I’m often reminded of what addiction once did to me and a curse because I know there’s nothing I can do to help anyone living in an addiction until they clearly see it for themselves and want to do something about it.
Lately, I’ve had this struggle with my partner whose cup of poison when it comes to addiction is overeating. While he does work a program of recovery, I see where the addiction keeps trying to whither its way back into him. With each pound he gains back, I desperately try to grasp control of the situation at times by pointing out all the signs that his addiction is attempting to regain a firm hold upon his life. Unfortunately, it never goes over well at all and is always met with frustration and anger on both parts. I should know better than to do this behavior, because the harsh reality I’m always reminded of, especially this year, is that until the pain is great enough for a person who’s giving into an addiction, no matter what the addiction, that no amount of help offered will ever be welcomed until the pain is great enough for them to want it.
Frankly, I’ve been fearful lately of my partner gaining all the weight back that he lost over the years and returning to a state of mind and body that he was miserable with years ago. There have been times that his words and actions have reminded me of all those who came before him that said they weren’t worried about their addiction and had it under control, only to see them die a short time later. My mother, my father, multiple sponsees, friends, the list is endless of how an ego so easily convinces a person that their addiction is necessary for survival and eventually takes them to their death because of it.
Yet, I’m also reminded quite often in fact, that I’m still sober and that indeed is the biggest blessing that comes from seeing that addiction is addiction is addiction. While it’s not fun seeing a life torn apart from any addiction or seeing them hurt the others around them who love them or seeing the deception and the lies, and so on, I’m grateful to see it all nonetheless, to remember why I don’t want to ever go back to a life governed by a false god that came in the evil form of some type of addiction.
In the end, all I can do is trust that my Higher Power needs to remain in charge of me so that I may continue seeing addiction is addiction is addiction, in ALL it’s ugly forms. Doing so will be the only way my eyes can remain fully open to all the ways addiction attempts to rule a person’s life, as well as keeping me ever vigilant to a disease that far too often has taken good people living in sickened minds and bodies from this plane of existence, all because they couldn’t quite let go and let God take the reins…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson