Introduction

It’s not my job to convince you that you’re an addict or an alcoholic. I’m not trying to get anyone to stop using drugs or alcohol. If you are reading this book, you are capable of making your own decisions and I will not attempt to manipulate your free will. My purpose is to explain what addicts and alcoholics are like. How we think, act, and live. It’s a humble attempt to explain the insanity of continuing in a self destructive lifestyle. This book is written for two target audiences. First, those who have been told that they need some “help with drugs.” Secondly, those who know or love someone who is an “addict” and they can’t understand why addicts do what we do. As we go along, many will be able to identify with lots of what I’m saying. You may have already identified some after reading, “My Story.” If so, great! Your identifying with someone who had a serious alcohol and drug problem for about 15 years. If you can relate to me, it might tell you how successful you may be if you continue to use alcohol and drugs. Others will see and hear their loved ones in the pages of this text. Many will have experienced the things, first hand, from their loved ones that will be written here. This will tell us where your loved one might be headed and it will also give you some insight into the delusional thinking that controls their lives. My mission here is to bring some clarity to those who have never been exposed to the “ins and outs” of addiction.

It would be a great error to limit our discussion of addiction to only alcohol and drugs. Addiction is much more complex. For addicts, anything that makes us feel good, we can easily get addicted too. Anything! Food, sex, caffeine, nicotine, shopping, gambling, and relationships, just to mention a few and there are many others. For the sake of simplicity, we will use the terms drugs and alcohol to describe the substances of addiction. We will do this for two reasons. First, this is my experience and these are my substances of choice. Second, it is much simpler to discuss the addictive substance/behavior as simply alcohol or drugs. If your addiction involves something other than these, simply substitute your substance/activity of choice where drugs and alcohol are written.

The goal of every addict is to use successfully. This is the theme that we will develop fully in this work. Every addict wants to use drugs and incorporate them into their lives without any adverse effects. This is largely based from the fulfillment that is gained from them. The problem with most of us is that we have already proven that we can’t do this, but we continue to try. This is the insanity of our plight. We continue to do something that we have already proven we can’t do. Only we will not accept this position. To us, we will find a way.

They say there are only three ends to an addict. They either wind up in a jail or institution, they die from their disease, or they get sober. Addiction is a killer. It kills with strokes, car wrecks, high blood pressure, gunshot wounds, cancer, obesity, and by sexually transmitted diseases on occasion. A large percentage of federal inmates in prisons are there on drug charges. Addiction gets you locked up and humiliated. Billions of dollars are spent annually to fund rehabilitation centers to help addicts attempt to recover. Addiction puts us in the hospital and in rehab of some form or fashion. This work is a humble attempt to make the third option a possibility for the reader. The possibility that we, as addicts, can get clean. To live a life that is free from guilt, shame, condemnation, and fear. To have the opportunity to clean up the mess we have caused in our lives and the lives of those we say we love the most. To have the prospect that we, too, can have peace with God.

I am a Christian. I make no apologies for this and I refuse to down play my own spirituality. With this concept the AA Big Book agrees. It states, “We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator…We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do.” (1) However, I will say this: I am not trying to convert anyone. I’m not an evangelist. I am a nurse who, by relationship with God as I understand Him, has been able to stay clean a number of years. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to have all the answers. Simply, I want to share my experience and lessons learned to assist those who may be struggling with some of the same issues. The biblical references in this work are placed only to demonstrate spiritual truths as the author understands them. I make no claim to absolute knowledge, only to what makes sense to me. Perhaps it will make sense to others.

Scientists and researchers don’t like the word “addiction.” It is too vague a term and science hates ambiguity because it’s not specific. I use the term in this book for two reasons. First, it is widely understood in public opinion that anyone who either continues to take a substance or perpetuates a behavior that is self-destructive as an apparent act of their will, is an addict. Secondly, it is the term that is used in recovery circles for those who are admitting their own powerlessness. “Hi, I’m Jon and I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.” I realize that there are social stigmas attached to it. That’s O.K. It is an attempt in this work to help people understand that “addiction” as vague as it is, is a disease process. Even if one is not suffering from an addiction, this book will give them insight into why someone they know does the addictive stuff that they do. This is a book for those suffering from addiction and those suffering from watching addicts ruin their lives.

Endnotes

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, New York, NY, third edition, page 68.

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