If you speak to a number of recovering addicts, let’s say between 5-10, and ask them what the single biggest hurdle was that they had to face when first getting clean, you may notice something interesting. More often than not, the most common response that you hear will be “I was afraid”.
They were afraid? Afraid of what? Afraid of saving their lives?
Actually, yes. Addiction is a disease that demands our attention, our complete focus, and devotion. Most addicts do not try to get clean after getting high for a day or two or even a month or two. Rather, it is usually after years of abuse; years of having our entire live revolve around this one constant in our lives, likely the only constant during that time. Our lives have become accustomed to living this why and in an odd way, it is actually comfortable. It is a real obstacle that has to be overcome. Having to function as a normal member of society has become something that we are so far removed from that the idea legitimately terrifies us.
This un-comfortability does not end when we put the drugs down, that would be too simple. Rather, it is amplified to levels that we might not have ever experienced before while we were numbing our feelings. The anxiety of having life and the consequences of our addicted life thrown at us all at once can be so overwhelming that we resort to the one thing we know will make these feelings go away and relapse.
How are people fresh off of a hard drug run supposed to be able to cope?
Take it slow guys. Believe me, we all go through that, “I have to fix everything and I have to fix it all now!” phase and when we realize that we might have bitten off a little more than we can chew, we panic. By taking a moment to sit back, realize that every day you don’t get high is a victory and that getting high again will only make things worse, we start to appreciate where we are. That fact that we are even alive is a miracle, remember that.
First Thing is First
First of all, if you don’t have a sponsor yet, get one. We understand that not everybody who gets clean necessarily part of a 12 step program, but this is one area where really help a lot. Step work is in order for a reason and one of the biggest reasons is that the first seven steps are all about getting you right first before we can make things right with the rest of the world. How are you planning on fixing the debt and fines you got while ripping and running when you aren’t even working yet? How are you supposed to patch things up with your family when they haven’t had the time to forgive you and see that you are not the same person anymore? Trying to do everything at once is a mistake many have made and you can save yourself a lot of pain by practicing patients.
Anxiety is Just a Feeling
This can be the easiest thing to forget. Just because it feels like the world is crashing all around you does not mean that it is. Anxiety is one of the many ways that our disease will try to set us up for failure, but like all other feelings, it will pass. Our feelings, thoughts, and emotions only have as much power as we are willing to give them. Try getting involved in service, praying and meditating, and most importantly, share it. Share every single crazy thought you have going on in your head. Chances are somebody who hears you will know exactly what you’re going through and can tell you how they got through it.
No matter what, you can do it. Getting clean affords us the ability to reclaim our lives and find our way back to sanity, just don’t rush the process. The steps are in order for a reason.