Time and time again, the biggest reason why I see people falling into any sort of addiction is because their heart is closed off from receiving love and subsequently, they tend to feel unloved in this world because of it. The fact is addiction then becomes a great numbing tool for those who have closed off their hearts and constantly live feeling unloved.
I know this first hand because I lived that way for most of my life. It took me a long time to reopen my heart to the level it is now, but with that comes a great burden at times because it’s often led to me getting hurt. Yet, in the same breath, it’s also been quite rewarding as well. Case in point, in the jail meeting I run each week on Monday nights, I recently met a 19-year-old kid who confessed he can’t stop doing Percocet’s and wanted to know how he’s ever going to stop. Instead of going through the usual, “when the pain becomes great enough” spiel, or suggesting going to meetings, getting a sponsor, and doing the 12 Steps, I felt compelled to ask him about his childhood. He angrily began talking about his drug addicted mother and how his father supplied her with those drugs. When I asked if he ever felt loved by either of them, his quick response was a resounding “no.”
While I didn’t know this guy whatsoever before that meeting, I knew exactly how he felt, because that’s how I grew up. As he told me the story of his passion for wrestling and how he was never quite good enough in his parents’ eyes, no matter how hard he tried to succeed in the sport he loved, I could see the anger swelling within him. It was then I looked directly in his eyes, in front of a dozen other inmates sitting around me, and said “I am so proud of you for your honesty and your desire to change, and I want you to know that I love you and you deserve to be loved. And this is the very reason why you remain broken and choose to live in your addiction day after day.” As soon as I said that, he went from being totally angry to totally crying, because I had successfully guided him to the very source of what keeps leading him back to his addiction, that being his broken childhood.
Whatever the addiction, the reality is that deep down there is a broken part of us somewhere within that keeps leading us to engage in an addiction to numb us from that part of ourselves. In this case, this 19-year-old inmate had grown up not loving himself at all because of never having been unconditionally loved to start with.
People always ask me why I do this recovery work as much as I do, and why I get so personal. Well, ultimately, it’s because I’ve learned we’re all broken somehow, especially those of us who are addicts in this world. And deep down within us is a little boy or girl who just wants to feel loved and not broken anymore.
So, it’s my hope to continuing being this vessel to help mend the broken, especially in the world of addiction. There I will keep planting those seeds of unconditional love with one goal in mind, to bring greater light into the darkness of a broken heart and soul to show them that someone out there truly does give a damn about themselves, until they can give a damn about themselves and walk the path along my side of sobriety and recovery.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson