This year, I am going on 17 years being clean from opiates. I have been to treatment 3 times in my life.
I remember how hard it was to connect with some workers due to not having experienced addictions. It’s easy to read a book nowadays or take a course to get a certification; however, addicts only relates to other addicts, just like an alcoholics can relate to other alcoholics.
I remember this one worker telling me he smoked pot when he was younger. I ask that worker? Did your stomach cramp to the point that death would feel beter? Did you have the feeling of anxiety and aching legs while you lay there thinking of your next fix? Have you ever been driven to do things that you didnt want to do? The worker stated “no” . I looked up at him and told him that he didn’t truly understand or comprehend what I am going through. He look at me and didn’t know how to respond.
Later that day he put in a request for a worker change. He avoided me the last 2 weeks in treatment. It wasnt beneficial to my recovery because I felt like I did something wrong.
It wasnt until I went to the Bridge in Kentucky that I seen myself for the first time. I never knew that I carried so much anger, pain and rage that originated from my childhood. I was so good at hiding it by this point in my life that it almost went undetected.
However, the workers and my peers seen through my defence mechanisms. If it wasnt for my workers and my peers who experienced the exact issues that I had. I wouldn’t got the help that I needed. I am grateful for all of them.
Sometimes, I make mistakes because I am only human. They are my mistakes and my mistakes only. I know, I can be a better husband, father, friend, cousin, brother and son.
The beauty of life is that it’s never too late to start making these amends. It starts with forgiving yourself and others by letting it go, being fearless and taking that first step.
It’s easy to see addiction for what it is. What is hard, is seeing that person for who he/she is. It’s easy for us to judge suffering and struggling people especially when we never walked in thier shoes. It was a process for my own recovery.
The hardest part of my recovery was my post acute withdrawals. They lingered constantly for the first 3 years. I would be restless with aching legs and anxiety were relentless. It almost driven me to use many times in my early stages of recovery. These are now rare espisides and happens once every few years. It’s something that my body will never forget.
Over the last 17 years, most of my friends that I used with are now deceased. One person in particular moved away from Thunder Bay like I did, just to escape. He had family, went to school for addictions and graduated.
I can honestly say that I would be another statistic if it was for him. He had his last relaspe in 2012 and is now with the creator. Being a recovering addict isn’t easy. We recieve alot more stress, anxiety and feel more pain than someone who never experienced opiate addiction. No one can compare with that or understand unless you walked in their shoes.
Addiction is cunning and baffling even in recovery. It is important to be sensitive towards the ones that are struggling instead of blasting them all over social media calling them junkies, they are people. This may be your brother, sister mother or father someday so be careful when you post.
You may be the barrier that prevents someone who is struggling with opiate addiction from getting help that they need.