Hitting the bottom
Back in February I told you about my son Bryan and his addiction to drugs. This blog starts a series coming directly from Bryan about his battles and current success. If there’s addiction in your circle of family and friends, we hope the knowledge he has gained through his journey will help. While there are many addictions (gambling, shopping, sex, etc.), Bryan is telling his story to show how difficult it is and what it takes to get clean. Only through understanding, not judgment, can we overcome this disease.
Let’s listen to what Bryan has to say.
When it comes to addiction, the recidivism rate is high, just like it is for people coming out of prison. In order to start a new life, it helps to have the ‘gift of desperation’ along with having the stars aligned in order to succeed. And it’s an on-going process.
For many, addiction starts out small. A friend gives you something to take. You do it and you survive. It’s not that big of a deal. Except you don’t stop.
Even when you think you’ve hit bottom, there’s always a new bottom that you can dig. I had to find my emotional bottom in order to want to get clean. I was admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation facility…but relapsed shortly after because I wanted to do it my way. People don’t understand how you can go backwards but trust me, it’s easy. Today I know I could go to a local gas station and find “my people.”
It’s also easy to fool others. I was a functioning addict. I could get high, work all day and when work was done and I had the time, could get high again. And this was before Covid. Because of the job I had then, I was able to work from home. It was easy to do drugs because nobody sees you. That and being isolated was just too much. So I relapsed again. It was much more difficult to seek treatment this time because I had materialistic items deluding me in to thinking it wasn’t that bad…plus the shame that shrouds this disease. I wanted out of the ‘pressure cooker’ but I didn’t want to find myself losing everything all over again.
One question I get asked is “What had to happen in order for you to make the decision to change?” For me it was finding my emotional bottom. It happened one day when I woke up and my right hand was paralyzed. I literally could not use it. At first I reached out to my druggie friends who assured me it was “no big deal.” But I couldn’t accept that and went to my mom (who was unaware of the extent of my relapse at the time). She said I needed help. I needed to get to a doctor who then told me it could be permanent.
Like I said, I’d done rehab and started the 12 Steps. I felt I could just stay sober but I was wrong. I needed something different. In the next blog I’ll talk about the changes; how I felt and why this time it’s different.