To tell you my recovery journey has been a piece of cake would be the biggest lie in the world. I made it 154 days off of cocaine and heroin before I relapsed. 154 days. A long time.
One of the most important things I’ve heard during my recovery is the saying, “Progress, not perfection.” I’ve heard time and time again that relapse during recovery is okay, common, and almost inevitable. But I was stuck here convinced that I would not be that person. And then suddenly I was. Suddenly I was thrown back into the world of drugs. Suddenly I found myself sticking a needle in my arm. Suddenly I was the old me I thought I would never see again. And to tell you that I was okay with that would be a lie. I spent countless hours in my therapist’s office fighting off the same demon I had battled just months before. I disposed of everything I had. I researched different rehab possibilities. I made myself as busy as possible to distract myself from wanting to use. I did everything right, except one thing. I didn’t reach out. I reached out to my therapist, yes. But I didn’t reach out to my friends, I didn’t reach out to my family, and I most certainly did not reach out to my parents. Instead, I chose to go head first into the battle, again, by myself.
I did not realize how hard this fight would be the second time around. I did not realize how quickly I would slip back into old patterns, how quickly my happiness would disappear, or how quickly I would feel the physical effects of addiction. I didn’t realize that I would push all my friends away, I didn’t know that depression would creep back into my life, and I certainly didn’t think that I would fall in love with drugs all over again. Before I knew it I was wearing long sleeves, spending hundreds of dollars, and isolating myself. I was giving up a life I loved for a life I hated.
I also didn’t realize how hard it would be to tell someone that I had used. When my family first found out about my addiction in May of 2018 it was because they found me on the living room floor. This time they didn’t find out I was using when I was in active addiction, but once I was clean again. I had been using again for a couple months but hiding it so well. I had been sitting in my therapists office for weeks and weeks promising time and time again to go home and tell someone, to purposefully flip my world upside down to get help. But why did I wait so long? I kept thinking, “why tell someone when it’s not a “problem” anymore”? Because even though I’m no longer using now it still consumes me. I wake up every morning and using is the first thing to cross my mind. I get bored and it’s all I want to do. I get angry, want to use. I get happy, want to use. See why it’s important to tell someone even though I’m not in active addiction anymore? I need to be held accountable. I need support.
You’ve probably noticed by now that I refer to addiction as a demon, because that is exactly what it is. Addiction is the worst kind of monster. It is meant to rob you of everything you have, both things and people. It’s supposed to strip you of your happiness, your joy, your dignity, and your peace. It’s job is to, eventually, kill you. It is selfish, inconsiderate, and rude. It is a demon. And I’m sitting here today, writing this, while battling that demon. Not because I’m actively addicted again, but because I’m not. You see, recovery is a never-ending fight. I’ll be 80 years old and still fighting because that’s how strong the demon is. He never gives up, he never stops persisting, and he never slows down. But he also won’t win, not with me anyways. I won’t let him. I’ve come too far in this life to let him. So yeah, I may have messed up, I may have gone back down that road for a minute. But I’m still victorious because I didn’t let him drag me down no matter how fiercly he tried.
Today I am CELEBRATING 100 days clean. I put strong emphasis on the word “celebrating” because that’s exactly what I deserve to do. I have won a war that I didn’t think I could. You can, too.
If you are in recovery and have relapsed know this: you are NOT a failure. You’re simply not. You’re a fighter. You’re a warrior. You’re a badass. You’re trying. You’re working hard. And as long as you realize all those things, and accept them, you will come out of this battle victorious. But here’s the thing, you have to want to. You have to want help, you have to seek help, and you have to accept help. You can’t fight this on your own. Reach out, go to meetings, go to rehab, do whatever it takes. This world needs you desperately, defeat this demon once and for all.