One of the best (though sadly, true) statements I’ve ever heard about active addiction comes from the television series, Suits. “An addict will jump out of a third story window because they’re afraid of falling out of the penthouse.”
Halfway between where you were and where you want to be is a scary place. Can’t look down – as far as you’ve come, it’s that far to fall. Don’t look up – it’s further than you fear. You need to catch your breath, rest, relax…if only it felt ok to.
Can’t stop – afraid you won’t get started again. Bull in a china shop. Head down and charging. Gotta get there. Gotta get there. Gonna be better when you get…there.
“There” is a mythological place where there is no more fear. It’s where you know with absolute certainty that you’re not gonna self-destruct again. You’ll be out of the woods and can coast through life.
Stop. You know that place isn’t real and still, you’re frantically searching for it.
It’s all a blur, but you’re making good time. 100 mph is your speed. Don’t have a GPS and this fog is really something. You’re making up for lost time but you’re still lost.
Pull over. Stop. Ask for directions. I know. You were taught not to. Ask anyway. The road you’re on is a rotary. Stop searching for where you think you’re supposed to be and get honest about where you need to be.
You have a checklist. New job, new car, new place, a new lover, a few bucks in the bank. That plan has been tried before. What’s gonna be different this time? Stop pushing and take stock. Emotionally bankrupt. Mentally wrecked. Spiritually empty. Sleep deprived. Running on coffee, cigarettes, and guilt.
Your head’s writing checks that your body can’t cash. Stop. You’re afraid of falling apart. Too scared to let go. Just throw down one fear, one bit of pain. You can always pick it back up if you really miss it.
You’re sprinting the first leg of a marathon and looking for the finish line. You’re not a kid anymore and you know you can’t do this alone. Stop resisting. Surround yourself with some good people and listen to what they’ve learned.
The voice that’s screaming in your head is your true self. What’s it saying?
It’s pleading, “pleasehelpme pleasehelpme!”
Your life’s a house of cards and you know it. Your fear of losing it all has blinded you to the fact that you already have. It’s all an illusion. You can’t do this alone. No one can. Reach out. Find someone who has lived it. Talk to folks who know more than you do. Try treatment. Try coaching. Try a 12-step program.
I know…you have trust issues. We all do. You have social anxiety. Welcome to the club. You don’t like religion and you don’t wanna hear about God. Fine. Recovery isn’t about religion. It’s about spirituality and sanity. We’ve heard all the excuses and all the reasons why you can’t possibly do this…and we’re waiting patiently for you to come to the one and only conclusion – you can’t possibly do this alone.
Jim LaPierre is an addictions and trauma recovery expert. He is the cofounder of Sobernow.com. Jim invites your comments and questions: [email protected]