An Addict's Corner …

Posted September 27, 2017 at 8:38 am

We all have issues. Things we have to deal with everyday. Some things are far greater and more important than others. Some of us go through things that seem unjustifiable. We have all suffered unpleasant and even painful experiences, to some extent, in our past. From time to time, we will all continue to deal with less than perfect circumstances in the future.

Those are some of the moments that define who we are as individuals and what we are becoming as a people. For me, there are many great and not so great moments which I have experienced. My decisions in some of those moments are part of who I am today. I admit, I have made many incredibly wrong decisions in the past. And while many of them might have been immoral, illegal and dangerous to others as well as myself, they are part of what I have been through, and who I am today. But this story isn’t about me.

I’ve told my story, at least for the most part. I will revisit and write about stories in my own life as they come to mind in the future, but I have decided to expand my knowledge beyond my own addiction issues and experiences. So I research different aspects of this disease. I talk to as many as will allow me to and I hear their stories.

I’m not a licensed counselor or therapist. I don’t want to be. But I do love talking to recovering addicts about their own journeys in addiction. I have more experience in directly dealing with the disease than if I had acquired two doctorate degrees from some university. I’ve been dealing with it for just about 18 years now. So I know what it takes for ‘ME’ to stay clean.

This story is about a friend, who I recently talked with about her own issues and battle in addiction. Well, mostly I just read and listened to what she was saying. Sometimes that’s all anyone needs, is someone to listen, without judgment or condemnation.

She began telling me how she had smoked pot from time to time, earlier in life. Until she was in her twenties, marijuana was the only drug she used. Around the time she was in her mid-twenties, she started doing the same thing that many have done. She started taking the occasional opiate pain pill. She was also being prescribed nerve pills. She never suspected anything was becoming an issue for her, but in hindsight, it’s very likely that is exactly what it was doing. Not to mention that now she was experimenting with methamphetamine.

Some time later on, she had lost her husband. She didn’t go into detail about how he had died, but I know it had to be devastating for her. She already knew how all those different drugs affected her and she knew from experience that you could make everything all the pain, all the frustration and all the emptiness seemingly, disappear, even if just for a moment. I cannot understand how she felt, losing a significant other in death, but I understand exactly how she felt wanting to escape reality. In her case, I’m sure reality was morbidly tough during this time. I’m pretty sure at times it’s still tough for her.

Needless to say, she turned completely to drugs after her loss. She started using drugs frequently, hoping to escape reality and I’m sure she felt like she was doing that, exactly to the letter. She started using meth, opiates and nerve pills frequently. While blind to her, reality was still there, setting in deeper and deeper with every line or pill.

Soon, she started having legal issues causing her to be incarcerated. She lost her children and was ordered to enter into the Kentucky drug court program. Soon after she started seeking counseling from a therapist and she finally discovered for herself just how out of control her addiction had become.

Now, she is living life with all the knowledge gained from those past experiences, both good and bad. Today, she is a better person for having made it through those experiences and learning what life is and what it isn’t. She knows what it takes to survive without using drugs and she will tell you today that she isn’t perfect. She is like each one of us, she still makes mistakes, but she picks up and moves forward. She used drugs to cope with the loss of her husband and I’m sure she still thinks of using drugs to cope with issues today. I know that thought still enters my mind from time to time.

My friend, like myself, has to choose everyday as to whether we will use or not. As for her, I know that she knows Christ is there to lift her and carry her when she needs to be carried. I know that she does realize that without Him she wouldn’t be here today to enjoy her children again and to watch them grow and be the mother she is.

You see, we don’t all make the same choices in life. We all react to things differently. But as a people we can cope with this disease that has ravaged our communities by standing up and helping to fight it. Now, in order to finally be successful we may need to adjust our coping skills, but it can be done.

As an addict, I often see folks who handle great adversity, with grace and honor. I see folks who seem to handle devastation in their lives with poise and relative harmony. I often wish I could be more like some of these folks. But like my friend in the story, I haven’t handled things perfectly in the past, and I don’t see a future where I will be perfect in my decisions either. On this day however, I do walk with Christ and as long as I continue to walk with Him I don’t have to worry about my path for it is He who has laid the bricks to walk on. And it is He who will pick me up and carry me when I cannot continue to walk myself.

An addict, a child of God, a Christian,

Phillip Lee