I Am An Addict, or, How I Quit Using Drugs and Alcohol and Rejoined The Human Race.
“I’m a 30-year-old guy trapped in a 67-year-old body,” I said recently in a Thank You to readers who’d helped me out – a lot – in deciding whether or not p2pnet should keep on keeping on.
But I shouldn’t have said ‘trapped” I went on, because, “Considering the abuses I subjected it [my body] to before I stopped using drugs and alcohol, I shouldn`t be here at all. So, body, thanks to you as well. ”
Nor was this the first time I’d mentioned I’m a recovering user who’s always one drink, one snort, one needle, one joint, one tab, away from crashing right back to where I started.
“How about blogging a bit on how you got off the booze?” asked Axe in a Reader’s Write.
OK, Axe, and I’d be interested to know why you want to know. But only if you want to tell me, of course.
For now, this how I got off booze (and drugs and cigarettes):
But before I go into more detail, a few words on how I got hooked in the first place.
Anything to get stoned
In medical terminology, an addiction is a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal functioning and develops physical dependence, as in drug addiction. When the drug or substance on which someone is dependent is suddenly removed, it will cause withdrawal, a characteristic set of signs and symptoms. Addiction is generally associated with increased drug tolerance ~ Wikipedia.
Age 13. First drink. Stole a bottle of whisky from the back of a truck. Drank some. Got sick. Drank some more.
Age 17. Can’t do without alcohol, although I haven’t realized it. Also discover sniffing petrol is a great way to get dizzy.
Age 22. Speed and I come together and form an instant attachment. My girl-friend’s mother’s lodger is a Pfizer rep. He introduces me to Preludin, a weight-loss product banned long ago. I also discover Benzedrex Inhalers, now also banned. They’re filled with evil smelling packing. Swallowing the stuff makes you gag. And the taste! But what the hell, eh? It gets you where you want to go.
Age 30. I’m a hard-core piss arteest and devoted user of anything-that’ll-get-you-high. Or low. Depending on the circumstances.
Fast forward to 1979 and I’m hooked on alcohol and weed, but still functioning. Kind of. Half the time I can’t remember what I did yesterday, but who cares? That’s mere detail.
Fast forward again to 1987 and a typical day now goes like this »»»
Surface. Could be AM or PM. Grope around for the bottle of cheap sherry I put on the floor beside me last night.
Swallow half to kill the shakes before they start.
Swallow the other half.
Light a joint if I have one. If I don’t, search for roaches, or scrape the gunk from the bong bowl. Success or not, get dressed and start the rounds, looking for someone to scrounge off.
Score cash by various means. Buy sherry for tomorrow. Score dope.
Eat. Or maybe not.
Sit in a bar until throw-out time.
Go back to wherever I’m crashing.
Start all over again.
Peace and calm
Then one day I decide I’ve had enough.
I wake up, drink the sherry, throw up, drink the other half. But this time I have a plan. It’s going to be a beautiful, glorious day.
And here’s why.
It’ll be my last day. So this time, I blow all my cash on a mega-bottle of booze and a lot of Aspirin. Or maybe it was something else.
But I experience a vast, wonderful feeling of peace and calm.
Because there won’t be any more days like yesterday.
And I can clearly remember that day, even more than 20 years later.
However, someone comes back early, I end up in hospital and the staff figure if I survive at all, I’ll be a vegetable.
But that’s when I stop. Right?
I keep it up for another six months and then I end up in the Donwood Institute in Toronto, a recovery hospital that’s now closed, unfortunately for people like me.
Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery
My experiences before, during and after would fill a book — a book no one would believe — and it takes me years to get back on my feet again.
With the unswerving help of Liz, who’s now my wife. And Rick, who stuck by me through it all. And Brian from Hugs not Drugs, happy again as a teacher. And Kathleen K, who’s now somewhere in the US having been terribly injured in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb.
And other people, of course.
I go to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings and I hear people describing their new lives and I think to myself, This can never be me.
But after a while, I’m far enough away from my last drink or toke to begin to understand a few things.
While you’re using, only one aspect of yourself is allowed to exist. And this part of you has only one interest: getting stoned.
I used to believe I couldn’t do any of the things I did while I was using. Play guitar. Draw. Write. But I was wrong. Big Time wrong.
It’s not a trick
I could go on, but there’s a bottom line, and it’s this:
None of us has any more than the one single minute of time that’s our life. And knowing that, we can survive anything.
Anything at all.
We can’t resist a drink. Or a smoke. Or a bar of chocolate for a week. Or day. Or an hour.
But we can do it for the minute we’re in. And the minute after that. And the minute after that.
It seems dumb. But think about it.
It’s not a trick.
All you have is right now, it’s all you’ve ever had, and it’s never been any other way.
And right now, there’s nothing that can defeat you.
I hope that’s what you wanted, Axe. If it isn’t, let me know.
And if there’s anyone else who’d like to talk about how it is, or was, get in touch.
And one more thing: a book that helped me in the beginning and which I still dip into now and then is The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
It’s not for everyone, but maybe it’ll help you.
Cheers! And all the best …
Jon – p2pnet @ shaw dot ca
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