In response to the CNN documentary, ‘Addiction – Life on the Edge’
People say “Once an addict, always an addict”. I would be the poster child of rehab.
When people hear that I used to be a partier ( endless nights of binge drinking and most times other substances and activities) and that I’ve been clean for 4 years now, a lot of people tend to think it’s impossible. Or that I had to stop because I contracted a disease. Well I’m here to say I have no disease unlike many who fall into the trap of self-destruction and I did it because it was either life or death or me waiting on a metal bed waiting for a liver transplant.
When I say my grandfather is healthcare miracle I can say the same about me and addiction. I’ve been able to remain sober for the past 4 years without professional help nor medication. I, myself wonder how this is possible, it’s rarely heard of. I wish I knew. But it’s like a switch in the brain, I can’t explain.
We’re so quick to look for the quick fix, to find ways to put a bandaid to the real problem. Doctors prescribe medication for everything. And it’s not the answer. We can change our brain without toxic chemicals. HELLO, I AM AN EXAMPLE!
I’m in constant battles, like everyone else I deal with everyday stress that life brings on, it’s a lifelong process but I’m progressing when it comes to managing it all and fortunately for four years I’ve been able to tackle it without the help of substances, I mean hardcore drugs. And I couldn’t of done it without the months of ‘rehab’ which has mentally trained me to cope with everyday problems without the chemicals. And it’s not just stressors in life that brings on addiction, if that. There are many other reasons why people abuse substances, the pain, hurt and sorrow, feeling of hopelessness, depression, lonliness. Everyone is unique in their situation. And it’s more prominent in the gay community where lonliness, drugs, alcohol and HIV is on the rise.
For me, I would like to describe it as not falling into the trap, well I did, but I managed to survive and I’ll never turn back.
Often we hear about those celebrity ‘rehab’ centre’s that those rich people go into for 28 days, there’s no chance in hell I or anyone would of been successful in a 28 day program, it’s a joke. There is no doubt someone will relapse if there’s no lengthy rehabilitation program involved, a program that’s known as conditional therapy. Celebrities are better off donating $48,000 USD to a good cause rather than throwing it away on the 28 days of so-called rehab.
Not everyone that enters into ‘rehab’ for a lengthy period of time is a success, there are people who go to that place for a long time and statistics show, 60% of them fail. The success rate depends on how much effort someone puts into the program. But what’s important here is that in order to get help you have to acknowledge that you have the problem, and it took me a long time to accept the fact that I had a problem.
Brain scans show how the brains of substance abusers is affected, the chemical imbalance, how the brain changes and where certain parts are either overactive or have no activity once it’s abused by substances. Sections of the brain becomes overactive which makes addiction difficult to control once stopped because it’s dependant on it to feel. So the longer someone is in an intensive treatment program which can re-program those places in the brain, and if and only %110 effort is put into the therapy, the chance of relapse is slim.
Other contributing factors that will determine success or not are two simple things; people and place. If you’re going to surround yourself around bad influences, people who drink or/and do drugs, you’ll be influenced. Same with the environment you’re in. Another reason why I was able to stay off substances all this time, those bad influences is are things of the past. The so-called “friends” I had are history and no longer in my life.
Substance abusers need to surround themselves with supportive people and people who will enrich their lives and when you do, you’ll feel better about yourself.
In the CNN documentary they say addiction is a disease in the brain, then why was I able to abstain from substances without any medication, which they (doctors) say is needed to stop those inhibitors in the brain. If once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, then why can I enjoy two glasses of wine and not drink the entire bottle like I used to? Is it because I can change the brain, without medication?
Am I just not human? Or are perhaps more research is needed.
I would go with the latter.
Whenever I reveal too much of the past, including the years of partying and where I am today with the problem, that I’ve been able to refrain from all of that, people become judgmental and stereotype, which is fine, because it’s the lack of education on the subject or person that causes judgement.
Until someone walks in your shoes, they will never know. Learn about others, where they’ve come from, before quickly judging them. I’m even guilty of judging people, many times I stop myself.
Your life’s circumstances are what they are so that you can grow, allowing you to forever evolve and progress as a person. Circumstance will knock you around as long as you believe that you’re a slave to outside forces.
Anyone who’s practised self-control and positive thinking for any length of time knows that “destiny’ grows out of thought. You’ll find that when you earnestly apply yourself to bettering your charactor and replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll quickly see improvements in your relationships, work, health, and overall demeanor.
When you know more, you do better. Educate yourself, the world, other people. It gives you power, because you have the knowledge.
‘Knowledge = power’ Spread it around.
And final note, let’s not to walk around like as if our shit don’t stink, ignornace is not bliss.