Addiction is a tricky thing, drawing you in and pushing you away simultaneously, and often. The games that addiction plays with your mind are intrricate and endless; one day you believe you are in control and the next you believe your addiction has the upper hand. On days where addiction has the advantage, you curse it and swear you will never let it beat you again. And then there are days where you have control but that constant nagging feeling pulls at you until you are sucked right back into the center of the vortex of addiction.
This non-stop roller coaster rattles your emotions and keeps you on edge constantly. For almost every person struggling with addiction, the mind inevitably wanders and wonders why addiction appears and feels like a friend more than an enemy. The perverse irony of this conundrum dominates the mind of the addicted individual, causing confusion and making the end of addiction feel and seem hundrdes of miles off in the horizon.
The reality of the situation is that addiction is both a friend and an enemy; it just depends on the day and challenge you are facing. When life throws what feel like ovrewhelming circumstances at you, addiction is there to help you cope. Whether its a drink, a smoke or some other substance, addiction calls your name loudly and strongly when life takes hold and refuses to let go.
This is where addiction is an oasis in the middle of a desert of pain. Addiction is there during the bad times to soothe your emotions and provide you with a necessary break in the chaos of life’s largest challenges. You can turn your back on the hurt and the pain for as long as you like – addiction will stay and play all day, all night, all week, all month and all year if you want. Its a non-stop, never-ending party where the light is always on and the music never stops playing. Everyone is welcome, and no one is asked – or expected – to leave. Ever.
In this way, addiction becomes a relationship – an unhealthy one, but nonetheless, a relationship. Addiction is similar to a parent who doesn’t have custody – when they get their turn, they buy the child all the goodies they want and spoil them, searing a lasting positive memory into the child’s mind likely for a lifetime.
And this is why ending that relationship and addiction is such a painful struggle. This is because the relationship itself is not only a relationship; there are many aspects and factets to it. There are people, moments, memories, habits, traditions and any other number of enjoyable routines that come along with this addictive relationship. In truth, ending addiction (and thus, a relationship) means being committed to a new way of life that includes new habits, new friends and new horizons.
The sobering reality of this is that most addicts are just not ready to abandon this relationship for one reason or another. For some, they are simply not able to let go of the good times that addiction carries with it. For others, they are not ready, willing or able to develop positive habits. Breaking free from the substance itself is difficult in and of itself. Shedding the atmospere that surrounds the joy that addiction often brings with it is another level of commitment that many addicts are simply unable to ascend to without serious professional assistance.
Further complicating matters is the length of time the addiction has been in place. For many addicts, the substance of their choice was introduced to them at an early age and it is embedded in their person and personality. Most – if not all – of their friends use the same substance on some level and to some extent. Therefore, ending addiction would literally mean making a clean sweep of their closest friends. This is simply not a reality for many addicts, who would rather “go down with the ship” than face the reality of what would amount to “starting over” with new, sober friends.
Addiction is most often viewed as a friend by the addict themselves because of the activities and good times that come with their substance of choice. Even though almost every substance that is abused has sharp, horrible downsides that cause the addict to say “I’ll never do this again” literally hundreds (and quite possibly thousands) of times.
Having said that, addicts routinely go back to the well time after time after time, repeating a vicious cycle that only pushes them deeper into addiction. As the good times continue to roll, the negative aspects of the substance become diluted and the enjoyment and short-term pleasures remain at the forefront of their minds, making addiction not only a friend but a best friend.
Walking away from such a friend would not be easy for a sober person, much less an addict whose entire daily routine revolves around their substance of choice. For these reasons, addicts by and large view their addiction as a friend more than an enemy, creating a destructive cycle that ends up dominating – and usually ruining – the life of the addict. Call us at 772-266-5320.