Without a doubt, addiction changes you. We all are well aware of that. Every person is quick to point out the bad things and how addiction ruins every aspect of your life. It does, it brings people to their knees. If you hit rock bottom as many addicts do then you have probably faced many moments in your addiction when you were praying for death. Praying for the pain to end. Wanting nothing more than for everything to go back to the way that it once was. The thing is you can never go back. What’s done is done. You must learn from your past so, you won’t repeat it and you can stop others from going down the same road. How about this? Take a hard look at the lessons addiction has taught you instead of how addiction has destroyed you.
Have you ever thought about what your addiction has taught you? I’m sure addiction has shown you a side of yourself that you never knew existed. Now in recovery, take a moment to reflect on the precise lessons addiction has taught you. Take the good with the bad. You might just be amazed at what you are about to realize. While your addiction is by no means a good thing, it sure has taught you a hell of a lot about people and life.
8 Lessons Addiction Has Taught You
What? I know what your thinking. My addiction has not taught me anything except how to use drugs and how to mess up my life. That is not what I am talking about. Yes, your addiction brought out a side of you that may be unbelievable. Yet, addiction taught you something or else you wouldn’t be in recovery. Bear with me and you will catch on.
Addiction has taught you and I that we are stronger than people know. If you have made it through addiction and to recovery then you are a survivor. Many addicts don’t get the chance to recover. Addiction swallows them whole. You are one of the lucky ones. No matter how many times you relapse, you still kept trying. You are strong enough to keep pushing forward in hopes of a better life.
Not to mention, if you are like me then you have been put in situations that you didn’t expect to survive but, you did. You have a strength that you never knew of. Now you know that you are capable of handling any situation thrown your way. That my friend, is something to be proud of.
As addicts, we learn to adapt to any situation that comes our way. From jails, and institutions to being homeless. We learn to live with what life hands us and that we do it with ease. No matter what situation life throws at us, we are able to conquer it. It is better to adapt than to just give up. We will not lay down and die. We will fight for what we want. Unfortunately, in this case, it was ultimately fighting for the means and ways to use more drugs. Although, now we know that we are able to adapt. Addiction taught you to adapt to whatever life throws at you. It’s a survival mechanism. It’s a fine skill to have if the situation does arise.
3. GOOD PEOPLE
I do admit that I would panhandle for money. Yes, I was homeless. True, I bought drugs with the money but, I also bought food and if I had enough I got a hotel room. Now in recovery, if I see a person panhandling, I give them a few bucks if I have it because I know the humiliation, the hurt, and the legal ramifications. Yes, the homeless person will use it to buy drugs but that is their life. Hopefully, they will buy food with it as well.
The whole point to this is that one winter day, I was freezing, dope sick, hungry. It was a blizzard outside. I was one of three panhandlers on a highway with no traffic. I was there for hours and did not make one dollar. Out of nowhere, an SUV pulled over and said here honey, the man and his wife gave me $100. I burst into tears right there in front of them. It’s moments like this made me realize there are still good people in this world. Even though, the world is a cold cruel place, good people still exist.
When I was living under the bridge, there was close to a dozen of us. There were a couple of people who would come drop off a box about once every month or two full of clothes, hygiene, water, food, etc. We would all split it. When all of us would come back under the bridge after a long day, it was a welcoming gift to see. I hope to be one of those people. A person that is truly good, that helps someone without worrying what is in it for them. Honestly, those people are few and far between but, god bless them.
4. EVIL DOES EXIST
Aside from those good people in the world, there will always be bad people, very bad people. So-called norms will never have the chance to experience what us addicts have and thank goodness for that. I have seen things that I would rather forget. The truth of the matter is that when you are in active addiction and live in that chaotic world, you see a side of people that they hide from others.
Truth be told, most people do not care about homeless people, junkies, crackheads, or any addict for that matter. They are not afraid to let you, an addict see what others don’t. As an addict, you have at least had a glimpse into that world. Some of us a little more. It makes me look at every person different. I know what lurks beneath the surface and I do best to protect my family so that my children will never have to experience that. Yet, we all know that sometimes those bad people creep into our lives when we least expect it.
5. PEOPLE DO CHANGE
It might take a long time but, it is possible. People do change. Some change for the better, some change for the worse. In addiction, we were at our worst. Yet, we were able to change. I am nothing like I was 10 years ago. Even 6 years ago. Actually, even a year ago.
To be honest, you change in recovery too. You grow. You evolve. As a woman in recovery or a man, you can be whoever you want to be. They say once a cheater always a cheater, once a liar always a liar, or once an addict always an addict. I call bullshit! I was all of those things and I guarantee you that I am not anymore. That is my past, your past. As recovering addicts, we are different people. People can change and you and I are living proof that addicts do change and do recover.
6. IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP
I don’t know about you but, I know this was a big step for me. If you are like me, in pre-addiction I never, I mean never would ask for help. I did everything myself. I have always been one to follow the saying “If you want something done right then you have to do it yourself”. In addiction, I didn’t ask for help either until I was at my lowest point. Probably, the first time I hit rock bottom, I had to ask for help. Although, once I got it, I didn’t want it and I fell deeper and deeper down into the hole of addiction. I don’t know how the hell I got back out.
Oh, wait, by someone reaching down and pulling me up. Although, I was only able to climb up a little at a time. It took years for me to climb out of that hole completely. I have to be careful not to trip and fall back into it or I may never get out this time.
Now I know, that it is ok to ask for help. In recovery, we need support. I have a hard time trusting people. I got used to taking care of myself. Even, if you only have one person you trust and that is willing to help you. That one person can make a huge difference in your life.
7. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
Did you think you would be an addict forever? That philosophy of once a junkie, always a junkie. Laughing that you will die with a needle in your arm. Is that really the life you want? Is that how you expect your life to end? I thought like that too. I really did.
That is until, there was finally someone else in my life that I loved more than my addiction, more than dope. And I would go to the ends of the earth for that person. If I made it. If I was able to recovery, so can you. Once, you are in recovery. You realize that not only can people change but now your hopes and dreams can become a reality. The longer you stay clean and actually work on improving your life, the more results you will see. Imagine that? Truly, anything is possible. Give it a try, you just might like what you see. In recovery, the possibilities are endless. There might be bumps along the way but, if you made it out of addiction, you can make it past any obstacle that comes your way. Remember, anything is possible in recovery.
8. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED
In addiction, we have all been a witness to things we would rather have not seen. We have said goodbye to people we thought would always be there. Through losing friends to this disease or friends moving on because they don’t want to be part of your disease. The most important lesson addiction has taught me is that life can change in an instant. Don’t count your eggs before they hatch. One small thing can turn your entire world upside down. Addiction is good at doing that. So, count your blessings, keep your loved ones close, and never ever take life for granted for any day could be your last.
TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED BECAUSE AS RECOVERING ADDICTS WE KNOW HOW QUICKLY IT CAN BE GONE.
These are the most important lessons that I have learned in my addiction. I hope you can now look at your addiction and realize that you have learned a lot. Learn from your mistakes or you are destined to repeat them, right? Remember addiction affects everyone around you. When you look at your past addiction, think of it as the lessons addiction has taught you. It may just shed a whole new light on the pain of your past. Thank goodness for sobriety.
Is there a lesson that addiction has taught you? If so, what is it? I would love to hear your feedback.