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Once an addict, always an addict


Tender
hearts
KS
Once an addict, always an addict
I am an addict. I always will be. I hope to remain a clean addict, one day at a time.

You see, the addict part of me lives in the back of my brain, in the darkness, waiting for me to become less vigilant, complacent, not needing to do the things I have done all these years in order to stay clean.

I read a post like Shane's this morning where a friend of his, after one year clean, decides to go back out and use, and dies.

That confirms for me that 'once an addict, always an addict'. There is no starting over when I go back out there. The addict in the back of my brain has already come to the front and has been busy driving the bus before I ever pick up and use again. It is a conscious choice, and a potentially deadly one at that. I will never be cured. I can't afford to walk away from all the things that got me clean and helped me to stay clean.

The only time I ever saw fear in my sponsor's face was when I finally got up the courage and go tell him I had relapsed after 4 years. He hugged me tightly and told me he had already buried far too many friends, and didn't want to bury another.

The addict in me was already hard at work before I ever picked up that first drug, that first drink. The addict was full of blame, anger, resentment, fear, sadness, pain, and wanting instant gratification, instant relief from all those unpleasant emotions.

Why did I relapse after 4 years? I became terminally unique again. I knew what I had done in the past to stay clean, I knew what was working for others, but I was on a mission! I was going to 'save' the once clean addict that I was dating at the time. The rules no longer applied to me. Oh sure, I sat in meetings, but my head was elsewhere, trying to figure out how to save him, how to fix him. I had fallen back into that trap of thinking my intellect was far superior to any of those other people in recovery. They just didn't understand my 'mission', that I could surely do it my way, that I had been clean long enough I could withstand any temptation, even though I had quit doing so many of the things that helped me to stay clean.

The addict was madly doing the happy dance of insanity in my brain, driving the bus all the way to hell, and I couldn't see that.

I read a post like Shane's, and I know it was nothing short of a miracle that I was granted one more chance in recovery, that I didn't die out there, that my two girls didn't lose their mother, my parents didn't lose their daughter, my brother didn't lose his sister.

For me, once an addict, always an addict. Today I am a clean and sober addict, and a damned grateful one at that.

My name is DeVon, and I have been clean and sober since August 5, 1990.
     Replies...
imlost
inky
Re: Once an addict, always an addict
Awesome post. Gave me chills.
Paws
from
hell
Re: Once an addict, always an addict
am also an addict ! To everything !
But I don't feel any shame , I'm actually grateful for it. I am proud to say I'm a recovering addict !
And every morning I rise and tell myself . I am an addict, because the day I stop believing I'm an addict is the day I use again.

Not even a pretty thought anymore !

Yes, I am a recovering addict................
SOS
1988
Re: Once an addict, always an addict
My roommate was clean off hard drugs for 10 years, he used meth again, and additionally started doing smack and got addicted. Lost his wife, stability, home, lives in a dirty trailer completely miserable. Last i saw him he was in the same boat as me, but i heard that he's doing better and got off the shhhhmack
danimal
55
Re: Once an addict, always an addict
Personally I feel that I'm *not* an addict any longer, and I refuse to accept that death is the only escape from such a stigma.
We have freedom of choice which includes deciding who and what we are...right?
The greatest avatars of all the ages were here to us this, weren't they?

When are we that healthy, recovered, spiritually and emotionally stable and happy non-addict person that would not consider a return to addiction?

Which leads back to the question...
When aren't we an "addict"?
Or are we trapped in the "addict" box for all of eternity?
Is this a decision we make as individuals, or does a "program" dictate this choice for us?

We ARE told to "keep an open mind" and "to think outside the box"...aren't we?
Tender
hearts
KS
Re: Once an addict, always an addict

Quote:


Which leads back to the question...
When aren't we an "addict"?
Or are we trapped in the "addict" box for all of eternity?
Is this a decision we make as individuals, or does a "program" dictate this choice for us?
You're making my head hurt, dammit! 

I don't feel 'trapped in the addict box' in the least!

Isn't the question, really, if what I'm doing/working/believing in is working for me, if I am clean and sober and reasonably happy and a productive member of society, what does it matter if I'm 'in the box' as you choose to see it?

I've never felt more free in my life 

PS. Isn't it wonderful that we can agree to disagree?
Penel0pe Re: Once an addict, always an addict
Quote:
Personally I feel that I'm *not* an addict any longer, and I refuse to accept that death is the only escape from such a stigma.

Cool! That means you can go get high again without any consequences!!

I can't. I'm an addict. Addicts can't get high in moderation. Addicts can't go drink socially, can't smoke "A little meth" on the weekends, or "Party like the normies" without consequences."

I have no problems, there is no stigma attached to admitting who I am. I'm a mother, I'm a nurse, I'm 44, I'm a woman, I'm a recovering addict.

If I was recovered, I could go use again!

I don't plan on getting high again either... but I certainly don't pretend to be able to predict the future, what trauma, tragedy, or future event might push me back to the old ways of coping.

I'm certainly not going to pretend that after 3 short years of clean time that I know everything there is to know about staying clean. I know one thing - I am NOT terminally unique, and when I start to separate myself from the rest, I'm putting myself at risk.

But that's my "Program." It has kept me clean so far.

danimal
55
Re: Once an addict, always an addict
And my question remains the same..."when aren't we an addict any longer?"
I will continue to participate in 12 step recovery and see it as THE LIFE LINE AS IT IS, especially for the newcomer who certainly IS an addict by definition, but I'll be the last to persuade that person that he or she is an "addict forever", as I don't know this to be true.

I just have some questions, open-mindedness raises questions, a willingness to learn raises questions.
These ?? aren't being asked to challenge anyone's method of recovery or the principals they adhere to, they're only simple questions and not directed specifically at anyone, nor are they an attempt to persuade anyone that they're an addict or not. IMO that is an individual choice.
Penel0pe Re: Once an addict, always an addict
I believe we are not addicts any longer when we aren't alive any longer... because I sincerely do not believe there will ever be a time that I will be able to get high without consequences, control my drug use once I start getting high, or ever be a "social" user.

I DO believe that there are people out there who CAN use socially - I've met them! I've met people who can "Do a little" and when it's time to stop, they stop.

I will never be one of those people, and that is why I believe I am an addict... I am just an addict who is not using today.

I feel it is really important that I never forget that, because I don't want to ever get too overconfident and let the "Addict out of the box" who tells me "Maybe you CAN just smoke a little ________________ (Write substance here.)

So for me, there's your answer. I'm still an addict, I haven't recovered. Just like a diabetic who keeps his disease in check through appropriate, daily maintenance, I keep my disease in check through appropriate, daily maintenance.

The type II diabetic has a better chance of being "cured" than I do (If he loses enough weight.) That's the only difference...

Of course, he could eat himself right back to type II diabetes again just by making poor choices...

So is he still a diabetic?

Kinda the same thing as what you are asking, isn't it.
Lisa Re: Once an addict, always an addict
I have a question...why can't we refer to ourselves as having an addictive personality rather than being an addict?

TO ME, an addict is someone in active addiction or early recovery. I have reached a point where I don't think of myself as an addict anymore...I'm someone with an addictive personality. Therefore, I know I can't ingest certain substances. My addictive personality may very well turn me back into an addict again.

Oh well...probably just semantics. 
Penel0pe Re: Once an addict, always an addict
Lisa, I think anyone can call themselves anything they want to call themselves!

I call myself an addict because that is what I believe that I am. No shame for me there ... it is what it is.

I worry though about anyone who feels they are "Cured." That scares me... but it is also none of my business, so I apologize for my sarcasm, Danimal.

Your recovery is your business.

See also:

For those who believe addiction is a disease

Is addiction a disease?

What Makes an Addict?


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