A new guest blog piece from Ruddy Adam.
This piece is by a gentleman who has been divorced from heroin for over 25-years. Before the final divorce, he left her numerous times, but kept bringing her back into his life. To get rid of her completely, he had to change everything in his life: friends, favorite haunts, occupations, lifestyle, way of thinking, attitude, and other habits.
This is not only an important piece for addicts of any type, and especially for families who have addicts among them — it is the best piece I’ve ever seen on drug addiction.
Though it is about heroin addiction, you can replace the heroin with any drug you wish, because it’s the same proposition with all of them. Simply put: addicts must want to quit, they must face every issue around being a druggie, and they must change the hell out of their lives. For after they physically cleanse themselves (which is the easy part), they must contend with an all-out psychological war that is difficult for those of us who have never been addicted to drugs to imagine.
One theme I do want to address, however. And that is his view that his youth environment is what caused his addiction (and his friends’ addiction). I reject that view as being the sole cause; a bad environment during youth may damage people, but it does not make them take drugs. That is their choice. Addicts must face that fact!
When we had our program back in the late `80s and early `90s getting people off of various addictions (nothing nearly as serious as heroin, though we did get the man who works for us off of crack), I placed them in isolation and gave them thoughts and Scriptures to meditate on, by way of cards.
The first one said: “I have looked into the face of the enemy, and I have seen that it is I.” Until that is settled, there is no use to try to go any further. Addicts must understand it; they must face it to stay clean.
Though it doesn’t seem the man who wrote this piece did that, when you talk to him, he will admit that he is responsible for every drug he ever did, for all the lying, conning, and stealing he did to get drugs, for hurting his family and friends and for butchering every relationship he had until he quit. He agrees it is necessary to face those facts and deal with them by changing, by becoming the opposite of the manipulating scoundrel that he was.
It is also my view that it is mandatory that addicts admit they are the cause of their problem. A nagging, critical parent may catalyze them to act, but that action is still their choice. Childhood trauma may scar them (physical abuse; divorce; isolation; lack of friends; being an oddball), but there are other choices to make in life other than taking drugs.
Indeed, oodles of things exist that a person can do rather than take drugs to hide from their problems or to help them deal with them.
Other than that one issue, again, I believe this is the best piece on drug addiction I’ve ever seen. Though it does not focus on how to get physically clean, or the many things addicts can do to carry out the psychological war that they must wage after the drugs are out of their physical body, such as visualization, meditation, prayer, relaxation, music, etc., he does tell them what they must do after the physical war is over.
My Life and Previous Love Affair with Heroin
Heroin use is a symptom of unresolved psychological issues; it is an attempt to self medicate psychological problems like depression, anxiety, worry, fear, or a lack of self-confidence. Or all of the above.
Heroin made these problems and ones I didn’t even know I had vanish, but only for an instant. They all then came roaring back for me to face. H is a lie; it is one of the greatest deceptions ever invented, and H users love being deceived, because they don’t understand that is what is going on. H users think they’re in the know, and they like that, but they are really ignorant of what they are doing. They, as I did not, do not want to hear this. But it is true.
Me and all my addict friends, mine and their heroin usage was born out of a deep lack of self confidence and oftentimes childhood trauma, a lack of true love or a youthful life of being criticized at every turn or constantly being told we needed to do this instead of that. We were always wrong and were often told so. This caused our lack of confidence. Sometimes both the childhood trauma and criticism issues were the case.
Our drug use covered for an instant our terror of feeling ourselves naked and exposed to a world that we felt we did not have enough skills to deal with. We hid that fear in heroin. Addicts often don’t know or won’t admit they are a fearful people, but they are. They are anxious worrisome people, and they use H to hide from that anxiety and worry, and to keep others from knowing they are worrisome anxious people. H users often come off as confident worry free people. They are not!
Heroin enabled us to exaggerate our abilities, to convince people we were something that we were not. Heroin helped me and them go about the world making claims that we could do things we didn’t want to face we could not do. We definitely did not want others to know we could not do those things.
Heroin was my special Sweetheart Buffer that helped me fit in between the horrible vision I had of how other humans were looking at me and how I thought I needed to be. To me, non-addict straight-life people were critical to the point that they would never accept flawed me, unless I hid those flaws. I did want so very badly to fit in that slot. To do so I lied and exaggerated with the help of my Sweetheart Buffer.
The idea of giving up what I thought was my Best Friend, my Darling Buffer, a Secret Lover that the rest of the world did not have nor could never understand, was the most terrifying thing I could imagine. I gave up everything for her: sex, friends, relationships, jobs, a life that others call normal, but that I called boring, and she paid me back every day by deserting me.
Every time I wanted to kick, I was beaten before I started. I could not face the fact that my Lover came and went faster and faster each time I used her. I could not face that it was her using me and that there was no real love on her side of the relationship, because she left as quickly as she got there. I needed her; she didn’t need me. Each time she left me alone and more fearful than before.
Heroin users will always be in love with H until they face the fact that everything with and about heroin is only a flash in time. Nothing about it lasts over an instant, and then it comes to a horrifying end, whether that it is dry, cold kicking, or death.
Others ought not think they can scare someone off of H, or any type of drug addiction. They can’t do it. No one can. I would overdose and nearly die, then be out the next morning hunting my Lover. Other users I knew died while I was using. I didn’t care; that made me want to fix even more. I went to two funerals so high I forgot who was in the casket at one of them, and the other I didn’t recognize my friend’s mother that I saw every week.
Something externally has to strike a user internally, and whatever that thing is, it makes them decide to quit. It can’t be fear of going to prison. It can’t be fear of dying. It can’t be fear of losing anything, because H users don’t care one whit about anything else in this world except H.
Don’t let users fool you and tell you they want to get clean, if they are about to get charged with a crime or go to court with a potential prison sentence hanging over their heads. They don’t! They know that’s the best way to beat the rap they’re facing, feign wishing they weren’t addicts and fake wanting get clean. Rehab clinics are perfect places for users to hide out while either putting off the inevitable prison sentence or trying to figure a way out of it. They never get clean if that’s the reason they’re there. They make new contacts and learn more ways to hide their habit too.
At the longest, after seven days of kicking, heroin is out of your body. Then it’s up to you to change, change, change. You can’t get into the same environments that you have previously stayed in. If you do you’ll be back using in less than a week. You must change friends, jobs, your life-style, and your mental attitude has to drastically change. Everything you did before, your old haunts, your occupation (if you could keep one and that’s doubtful) you must totally abandon. Addicts who don’t do that I give them no more than two weeks before they’re back using.
Don’t brag to anyone that you’ve kicked; that only puts pressure on you. Don’t apologize to all the people you lied to and robbed to feed your addiction; that only puts pressure on you that you don’t need. Don’t call your addict “friends” and tell them how you kicked or that they need to kick, because heroin addicts love company. They are experts at getting former addicts to start back. Besides that, nobody, especially addicts, like braggarts or like being preached to. Just set an example of being an entirely different and better human being.
Whether you smoked, snorted, or shot up, it does not matter. The process heroin addicts go through each time they get high is the addict’s central draw that pulls them back in. It’s the conning, the lying, the stealing, and the sneaking around to get their fix. It’s the hunt itself, the idea that they’re fooling the world, their favorite laying out high place. These things are more addictive than the high they get from H. These must be faced as the most serious part of your addiction and put out of your life forever, replaced by the exact opposite things: honesty, trust, and openness with friends and family and counselors. Addicts must open themselves up and let those they trust read everything inside them. That’s the only way they can help you.
I have observed another common trait among addicts. Over the years I have brought this up at the many counseling sessions I’ve sat through, and addicts who are really trying to quit admit to it. All addicts have a big problem with arrogance that they must face and correct. They’re not arrogant know-it-alls all the time, just after they con their Enabler out of fresh funds to fix do they get that way.
When in need of a fix, addicts are kind, humble, and helpful deceivers who sweet talk their Enabler or Enablers (sometimes whole families enable us to remain addicts; othertimes it’s one central Enabler) into thinking they care about them when they really don’t. I actually hated my Enablers, my grandmother and an aunt. Then quickly after they give us what we want we turn to our true selves, cold, callous, and uncaring know-it-alls. When we need another fix, the process starts over. If this is not faced and corrected, when after getting our way we turn arrogant, it will carry over into our lives after we are clean and ruin our lives, kill relationships, and those failures will tempt us to go back to using.
Without facing all of the above issues and settling them right after kicking, I would never have been able to stay clean for these last 12 years.
I now know what love is, because I have a feeling for another person that I could never have had before. I didn’t even know this wonderful feeling, something far more wonderful than H ever could be, existed. I went through relationship after relationship because I cared for no one but by Sweet Girl, H, who I discovered is really a backstabbing whore. I now have feelings for others that I never had before, or I don’t remember having.
It’s not nearly enough to tell another addict the clean life is the better one; you have to show them by how you have changed and what it’s done for your attitude about life and the world. They won’t like it that you’ve changed, because to them that type of life is not the secret underworld that they cherish living in and knowing about, and it’s boring. Setting the example and letting them know they have to face what has caused them to be addicts and that they’ve got to change, change, change every part of their lives to get permanently clean is the only way to help them.
I am no longer an addict. As you see it’s not a belief that I agree to, that once an addict always an addict, because I can go anywhere I want to, be among anybody, high or straight, and at no time do I have any interest in going back to hell. I left every bit of that hellish life, and I’m a new person living a new life that does not include getting high.
12 Years Clean, April, 2000