I’m going to do a little detour on the “my book share” right now and talk about addiction from my point of view and personal experience. I feel like addiction is so misunderstood in so many ways because every individual deals with addiction differently. Some addictions are more severe than others. I am one person and I can testify to my own experiences.
I smoked for four years, a pack a day sometimes more if I was drinking and hanging out with friends. I didn’t smoke 20, 15, or even 10 years, but I indeed was addicted to that little nicotine stick by year one. When I made the choice to stop smoking it was not a hard decision for me. I quit cold turkey and it wasn’t a huge battle. I “dabbled” with drugs as a teen, nothing “hard” but they weren’t exactly legal (sorry mom). I luckily did not become addicted to those drugs. Quitting smoking was not going to be my challenge. That was easy to quit. The challenge for me was drinking. I enjoyed drinking alcohol and I was “proud” of myself at how much I could consume and no one would be the wiser. I thought, how awesome that my tolerance is so high that no one can even tell that I’m drunk. I loved the taste and smell of beer. I liked that I could fall asleep at night and I liked that I just didn’t care. I mean, I’m a high functioning drinker so what’s the problem?
Alcohol wasn’t as “cold turkey” as I wanted. I kept slipping up. Even after I was baptized, I had a hard time not wanting and craving beer. I remember drinking and then beating myself up after. I didn’t turn into Miss Hannigan, dancing aroud the house and slurring my words. I would drink maybe half a beer and start mentally beating myself up. I thought I was a total failure and why can’t I just stop?
I have God right?
I care about my body and my family.
I would tell myself how bad of a person I was with no self control. I did that a few times, drink-beat myself up-drink-beat myself up, and then the last time I drank I did something different. Instead I thought, my kids are upstairs sleeping and what if one of them wakes up and sees me drinking? What if one of them has a bad dream and when I go up to comfort them they smell alcohol on my breath? It wasn’t about me anymore. It was about the 4 little kids I had upstairs sleeping (the last two weren’t even thought of at this time). It wasn’t about the judgments I would get from other people, and oh those would, flock like the salmon of Capistrano. It wasn’t about the oh I am such a horrible person for drinking what’s wrong with me? Poor me. It was me recognizing that I had something greater than myself to consider.
Now I know not everyone is going to think the same way and that’s okay. What I am saying is, find the thing you need that is greater than the addiction. Sometimes we don’t value ourselves enough to quit for ourselves. We need to find that one thing that has us say this isn’t worth it anymore.
So here is my advice with addiction.
When you slip up do not beat yourself up. Beating yourself up will not cause you to quit. It will lower your self-esteem and make you turn to the addiction even more. You will start to feel like a failure and you might as well just keep doing what you’re doing. You are not a bad person because you slipped, you are a person. It’s going to happen. Just get over it and move on.
Find your self worth from something that is solid and never changing.
He is the only thing that can be solid enough to get you through the hard times and you will go through hard times. He is the only one that knows exactly what you are going through. He is also the one that is cheering you on the most to defeat this battle.
Here is the hard part. When you feel like you’re going to slip or maybe you have already slipped, stop what you are doing, get on your knees and pray. Pray out loud and ask for help. Just like praying is an action, the answer that comes to you should also be put into action. Getting in a car and expecting it to drive you to the store is ridiculous, you need to drive the dang car yourself. Praying and then doing nothing is also ridiculous you asked for the help now act on it.
And to those who have loved ones with addictions
Be kind, loving and patient, let them know that they have someone to fight this battle with. Addiction is a lonely thing.