The Progression of Addiction
There I was crushing up 80mg’s of Oxycontin inside a dollar bill. It took less than a minute to suck the time release off the pill, crush it in a dollar bill, and snort it up my nose for the immediate euphoria to rush into my mind and body.
Behind the bathroom stall, I silently fed my deadly addiction in the bathroom of the university halls. Over a decade of addiction hadn’t stopped me from accomplishing a few things.
I would manage to white knuckle it and squeak out a few weeks or even months of being clean and sober, but I always seemed to go back to the deadly life of drugs and alcohol.
What I didn't know, and had to learn from experience, was that every time I went back to my addiction it was stronger and worse than before. It took more and more substances to silence the internal chaos and numb the unaddressed pain.
Having just received a decent sized check of scholarship money for my writing at the university newspaper, my addiction fueled thinking told me I deserved a reward for my hard work.
Next stop after my "quick fix” of the morphine molecule inside the bathroom stall was my communications class to give a speech in front of the class. Even with pure morphine pumping through my blood, my heart raced and sweat formed on my forehead as I stood in front of my class high as a kite to give my poorly prepared speech.
It would take two more years of pain and addiction before I entered into recovery and allowed God to transform my life. It seems some people still have a skewed perception of an “addict” or “alcoholic”. Many functioning addicts and alcoholics walk amongst us every day.
Someone doesn’t need to be laying in a gutter, in jail, or homeless to be struggling with addiction, although eventually many people who battle the beast of addiction end up there. The dis-ease of addiction is a tormented isolation, this internal darkness is like a slow spiritual quicksand that intends to pull its targets to the very pit of living hell.
It’s probably safe to say that we all know someone that does or did, struggle with some form of addiction. But what if more of us made a simple internal decision and decided to single out someone we know that struggles with addiction and love them?
If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. People caught in addiction need people to pursue a nonjudgmental relational connection with them. They may not respond as we’d like, they may not be ready to step into recovery, but when we harass people with love it slowly but surely breaks down the walls they have built around their heart.
Having lived over a decade free from the death grip of addiction, I can tell you that a simple pursuit of intentional and relational connection with people caught in addiction does more than you can imagine to help them. It shines a little light into the darkness they’ve cultivated within their own heart.
Who can you love on? And how can you let them know that you care?
Hope and help are alive! Love always wins!