There are many addicts who have actually become addicted to the addiction. They have become so addicted to the addictive lifestyle that they can no longer even survive, much less lead a “normal” life.
Often the addict becomes so accustomed to the drive associated with addiction, that when this part of their life is removed, the addict no longer perceives to have a reason to live, function or even get out of bed in the morning. Without the drive of making the vast amounts of money usually associated with a drug addiction, the addict often cannot find a reason to do much of anything.
This phenomenon is similar to that of someone who has worked all their life, only to go into retirement and die soon afterward for lack of purpose.
Just as with those who retired after many years of employment, the longer the person has been addicted the, the less probable the addict is able to adjust to the new, “normal” lifestyle.
To compound the problem, the addict is also used to a certain excitement and danger associated with drugs. The constant threat of being arrested, robbed, ripped off or even killed while buying or using drugs becomes exhilarating. This in itself becomes an adrenaline high and addiction. It make a normal job appear boring, unappealing and pointless.
To make things worse still, when the addict thinks back about how quickly he formerly made the considerable amount of money needed to sustain his former habit, he is usually frustrated, angry and discouraged at what he is now supposed to be paid for honest, legal and honorable work of his new “normal” lifestyle.
The best way to compensate for this change in lifestyle and lack of purpose, is to find something to occupy one’s time. Just as it is best for the retiree to find an activity or hobby, it is best for the reformed addict to find a pastime or some other form of diversion. Naturally, it is best for the retiree as well as the recovering addict to find something enjoyable and fulfilling to do, so as to not be abandoned shortly.
Though it would most likely be beneficial for the recovering addict to find gainful employment, this is often only successful in the long term if the reformed addict likes what he or she is doing. More often than not, if it is a menial, unfulfilling job, the addict will soon become disenchanted and start looking for alternate ways to earn a living, pass the time and have some fun.
These factors considered, it is usually necessary for the addict to stet some sort of realistic long-term and obtainable short-term goals and pursuit employment, pastimes and friendships associated with the addict’s interests.
Even if this requires schooling, relocating and all new friends, it may be the only way to achieve lasting success.
The addict should take whatever steps required reaching his or her long-term goals, even if they are small and if it may take some time to reach them, as long as some short-term goals can be reached as milestones.
The key to success and lifelong sobriety is determination. The addict must be determined to do whatever it takes to stay clean. With this determination everything else is possible.
The above is pretty much an account of how I was able to overcome a 30 year addiction to drugs, including a 20 year heroin addiction. My biggest deterrents from getting clean sooner were as I described them above. But what saved me was alone my determination to get clean.
Determination is the key to anything and everything.
Written By: Tom Retterbush