Addicts think that simply being human makes it appropriate to use drugs…
We addicts somehow believe that our experience is novel. We believe that NOBODY suffers quite like we do, that nobody feels depression and despair and dissatisfaction the way we do. We believe ourselves to be special and unique and different from everybody else, even other addicts. Believe it or not, I actually believed there wasn’t a single soul who understood or felt what I felt, that I somehow had it the worst…
…and believing such bullshit made it very convenient to do anything it took to make myself feel different. I believed that I had a divine right to keep myself comfortable 24/7 by drinking and using drugs because nobody experienced pain and discomfort as I did.
Oh but they do. It’s called being human. Everybody suffers. Everybody feels uncomfortable and shitty at times. The difference is that they have continued developing into adulthood and understand that suffering is just a part of life and that they have a responsibility not to let it stop them from doing what they have to do, from doing what is right.
Normal people understand that life isn’t about non-stop euphoria. It was never intended to be. That’s not what being human is. That’s not reality. Life is all sorts of things – up and down, light and dark, joy and pain, gain and loss, good days and bad days. The sooner addicts figure that out, the sooner they can grow up and join the rest of the human race.
Another delusion we have is that strong or painful or uncomfortable feelings are tangible, evil forces that can and will stop us, and might even kill us! Nonsense. Feelings and thoughts will not kill us, as they will not kill anybody, and we do not have to let them stop us. In fact, whining about how awful our feelings are and why we can’t go to work or help out or recover from addiction is just a clever excuse to avoid becoming an adult and contributing to the world. If you want to know what an addict is, it’s very simple. An addict is simply a child in an adult body. This is why I suggested in my book that maybe we should suck our thumbs so potential friends, spouses and employers can identify us.
Why is reality so lost on us? Why do addicts somehow think it’s unnatural to feel uncomfortable sometimes, even though we just call that life on earth? I think it’s simply because we are addicts, and being an addict involves a pathological level of selfishness, immaturity and stupidity, as well as a very narcissistic and narrow view of the world, of life, and of those who surround us. We are completely detached and disconnected from reality and thus from ourselves and from others. A good friend once said that we are but human caricatures.
Once we figure out that life includes both emotional suffering and physical discomfort, and once we figure out that we are no different from the 7 billion other human beings on earth, we can grasp the practical idea that feelings don’t have to stop us. Addicts must accept the fact that it’s okay to suffer. As well, we must stop resisting the way we feel. What we resist will persist. We must accept and befriend our negative feelings, understanding that they are part of us. In this way, they move along and eventually dissipate without crippling us.
You don’t make war with part of yourself (by using drugs) unless you are trying to amplify and compound your horrible feelings. Instead you feel what you are feeling and walk through it like everybody else, and you do so because it is your human responsibility. You do so because it is embarrassing to physically become an adult but continue to behave like a child, which is where we get the term, man-child.
The bottom line is that addicts must grow up and have the guts to simply be human. That’s all there is to it. That’s really what recovery and the Steps are all about. Growing up. And rejecting everything that makes us an addict.
God, give me the power and the willingness to walk through my feelings and do what is right…