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Addiction & Soul
Posted by: Michael
Reading time: 3 minutes
In addiction, there is a very hard line between you and everyone else. Comparing yourself to others is your most useful and reliable way of understanding who you are. This also gives you an endless list of reasons to use.
1. “That person has way more money / happiness / beauty / opportunity / luck than I do. I feel crappy about my life and I’m going to use and feel better.”
2. “That person uses way more drugs / alcohol / porn / casinos / junk food than I do, so it’s completely okay for me to use once in a while.”
3. “That person is way sicker than I am and has some serious mental problems. It’s definitely not okay for someone like that to use, but it’s okay for me.”
4. “Other people might overdose, or have drunk driving problems, but nothing bad will ever happen to me, so it’s totally okay for me to use every now and then.”
Comparing to others makes it easy for us to rationalize our own bad decisions. There is always someone better off, or worse off, and there is always a reason that makes our delusions seem perfectly okay.
The reality is this:
1. Using will ultimately make you feel worse, not better.
2. Once in a while will become a lot more frequent.
3. All people with addictions have serious mental problems.
4. All the bad things you see happening to other addicts will eventually happen to you.
The comparison game is a disaster when it’s used to make you better than or worse than others. Yet it can be enlightening when it’s used to erase the hard line between you and everyone else, to point out the similarities and not the differences.
Some things that addicts struggle with are fear, doubt, low self-worth, up and down egos, and overwhelming emotions. But so does every other human on the planet. The stories among us are very different, yet we all experience the same types of human emotions.
Although we are all similar in this way, there is a major difference between someone who is addicted and someone who is not. This difference is the ability to cope.
Coping skills must be built, and that is important to know. They can be built. By anyone. But these skills are not just handed over to you. Like learning anything new from nothing, regular practice will eventually become mastery.
You already know where the path of addiction goes. This is the endless cycle of seeking out your drug of choice, scoring it, using it, hiding it, and repeat. When you venture into unknown territory, you will face a path that you have not walked before.
We all experience fear, doubt, and pain, but there is a major difference in response between someone who is addicted and someone who is not. Healthy people deal with fear, doubt, and pain, and learn from it. Unhealthy people avoid, hide, and medicate.
If you have been lost on the path of addiction, it is never too late to find the path to reality. You may need to mourn the passing of something that has been lost, but that is only the first part of your story.
In this next chapter, you may learn valuable things about yourself. About what is important to you. About what you must leave behind, about what you must charge toward, and about who you must now be. An old way dies, and a new way begins. This is the path of rebirth.
The way to find the path to reality is to walk it. Change is not something that gets handed over to you. Change is not a place you arrive at. Change happens on the path itself. The reward does not come at the end, in some far distant future. It happens today, in every step that you take.
And this is the answer, which should be as obvious as the ground you’re standing on. The path that you choose will tell you exactly where you’re heading.
Michael is the Lead Sobriety Coach and Head Blogger of Addiction Reality.