Impossible Choices

R.,

I have an inkling that you are feeling pretty damn alone in the world. As kids we were told that life isn’t easy and life isn’t fair. But, difficult and unfair don’t begin to describe the hardest parts of life. You aren’t alone in that feeling. Fear that nothing will get better, nobody cares about you, and there is no help coming can be overwhelming. Most days it is easier to let yourself be unstable because you have no energy left to fight. The pain and the work don’t matter when you see yourself failing time after time. Addiction slips in and destroys the miniscule amount of hope you have left and leaves you feeling worthless every day. You know you are still struggling after that first swig, but it seems easier to cope.

Your drug of choice is alcohol. Mine was prescription drugs. Nobody knew that I was struggling with addiction for almost 4 years. Other people in your family and community have felt absolute emptiness. I still obsess about falling back into addiction. I avoid alcohol, drugs, and even mouthwash and cooking extracts. 

At some point, alcohol stops being an emotional crutch and starts being a necessity to live every day. You feel like you can’t breathe without it. People in our small town and big family may think that addiction is easy to kick. You just have to suck it up and stop drinking. If only you could just look at your children, decide not to drink anymore, and go cold turkey. No one is saying it can’t be done, but the majority are addicts who can’t quit on their own. With pressure coming from family, community, religion, and the law it just adds to the guilt you already feel as an addict. You aren’t good enough for your kids. You are stupid and a burden to everyone. You’re a grown man who can’t take care of himself. Maybe those words won’t ever go away, drunk or sober. But, there is a chance for them to get so quiet that they are barely even a whisper. That can’t happen until you admit you need help, go get help, and follow through with treatment. It’s a choice; obviously not an easy one. 

Addiction is full of impossible choices. Continue on the path you’re on or risk trying to get better, even though you could end up worse off. I’ve risked so much to be where I am today and I have one goal in life; don’t let my mental illness be the thing that kills me. I hope you can make that a goal for yourself too. Right now you feel like life is kicking you again and again and again and again again. If life is going to beat you down like that, you better go kicking and screaming and give one hell of a fight. It may not feel like you have anything left in you. But you do. You do. 

A lot of times it doesn’t feel like it, but you have an abundance of support. Maybe you feel like your family is supportive of kicking your addiction but not supportive of coping with the pain underneath. Sometimes people just don’t know what to say or how to help. But they still care. Maybe even you don’t know what to say or how to ask for help. It’s scary, it’s hard, it’s impossible. But that’s addiction. That’s mental illness. You have to do the most difficult things you have ever done to fight for your life. You are worthy of life. You are worthy of an amazing life.

Love, R.

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