At the start of our using we were just experimenting, or having fun, or finding something to do. It wasn’t serious or anything important. But some of us had some stuff inside that we brought with us to that first time. And some of us found relief. Even that first time.
They say a rat in a research project is like a human and we can learn a lot from those kinds of experiments. Maybe that’s true. But it doesn’t seem like a rat ever had existential angst before it took its first drink. Or experienced the metaphysical problem of being a rat when it “found the answer” in a bottle or pill. It didn’t find that kind of relief.
On the path of becoming sicker and sicker in addiction illness, we pass a number of milestones. Our personal milestones show us the development of our addiction. Like…
- feeling alone or actually being alone
- never feeling like we are our self
- tasting cigarettes and chemicals instead of our food
- resenting the birds for the sound of their singing in the morning
- shaking from not getting enough alcohol
Those kinds of milestones are also losses and they are new to us. And those losses set us up to want even more relief.
Coming to a treatment program for alcoholism or addiction puts us in touch with various kinds of clinicians (nurses, doctors, psychologists, counselors, etc.) and all of that helps. It’s definitely a relief to learn coping skills that provide us relief. And that don’t cost us more consequences like chasing the relief of drinking or using did. And that don’t put us in that addiction loop and alienate us further from people who care.
But the kind of help that really helps is in people. And connecting with people. And hearing them tell their story and finding out they are just like you – down deep.
- It’s a real relief to hear your story described by someone else.
- It’s a real relief to not have to hide, sneak, be dishonest, or play the game of addiction – even when you’re not drinking or using.
But it’s an even better relief to finally share what it was like, and to experience being totally understood and accepted, and to receive absolutely no shame.
- Like, our past mistakes and experiences are real, and we can move on.
- We can find hope.
- We have already started our healing.
And there’s even relief in that process for our family members, and friends, and colleagues, and people that know us and care about us and love us. They can find a real relief for themselves as they see us getting better day by day. That we’re in a safe place, and not dead or in jail. And as they hear us share what it was like, and what happened – they can tell we are on a new road and enjoying the songs of birds again. And back to being ourselves, and even better than before.
And that’s the beauty of real relief; we don’t need drugs or alcohol to find it. It’s found in each other and ourselves.