The disease of addiction is one that changes who you are as a person. There’s a saying that addiction without recovery ends in one of two ways: jail or death. The lucky ones are those who escape with their lives.
When beginning to experiment with drugs, you don't believe you will become addicted and can’t begin to fathom where jumping down this rabbit hole can lead.
With addiction, the parts of a person that radiate and shine, making them unique, slowly begin to lose their luster, and an empty shell is all that’s left.
The impact addiction has on family, friends and loved ones is something unimaginable. Those who love the addict are constantly in fear, worried they’ll receive a call in the middle of the night that something terrible has happened.
Every time they see the addict’s face slowly deteriorating, with eyes sinking in and skin turning off-white, their heart breaks.
Becoming an addict happens in stages. Slowly at first, and then all of a sudden the substances which were being used for fun and pleasure have become the only way to wake up in the morning, take a shower, associate with people, and function.
Those who have never suffered from this disease can’t fathom the depths of despair and hopelessness associated with allowing something that fits into the palm of your hand control your entire life.
Over time, the person who was once known and loved by themselves and those around them has disappeared. The hunt for the next “fix” or opportunity to feel normal and not suffer the symptoms of withdrawal takes over. This is when survival mode kicks in.
The addict becomes edgy, anxious, depressed and desperate. The desperation comes from the knowledge of what they're doing is hurting themselves, their life and everyone in it, but the deception of the addiction telling their brain they must have the substance to survive is overpowering.
Numbing yourself becomes the only way to escape this hopeless new reality. The enjoyment and gratitude of the beautiful moments in life and the happiness that was once felt becomes trapped in this abyss of nothingness.
If a person’s lucky, even if they don’t feel that way at the time, something painful or frightening enough will happen, prying their eyes open to how far they’ve fallen. This is the point where an addict must decide to either climb out of the hole or lie down and be buried.
Survival takes on a whole new meaning and becomes a fight for life, happiness, peace of mind and becoming your true self again.
Recovery is doable. It takes work every day to remain sober, but never forget where you came from and what you suffered through. Allow those memories to be the driving force to never go back.
Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.