Blue smoke that is rising from the muzzle of a handgun

According to a doctor at HU, living as an addict in recovery is like living with a loaded gun to your head; figuratively speaking of course. But what he does mean is that the danger of relapse is a real life or death situation. One more drink could be our last. It’s that simple. And sadly many people who graduate from HU will lose their lives within the next year. It exhausts me just thinking about how on guard I will have to be for the rest of my life! I SO wish I could just remove the bullets. But alas, HU can’t teach us how to do that…because the bullets are our genetics.

We as students have learned that 10-15% of people are born with the addict gene, and according to peer reviewed studies, trauma didn’t need to be present for this gene to be activated. Trauma simply gives addicts the narrative required to ‘use’ with what they think is a plausible cause. Simply put, if we have a reason to justify why we numb our minds through addiction, we use it. But without a reason, we would still carry the addition gene and ‘use’ if exposed to a particular drug anyway. Our addict brain craves to be numb. It doesn’t care who, what, where, when, why or how it happens. That damn limbic system and its impulsiveness wants to win every time…eventually.

I get frustrated with the amount of mental energy it takes to stay sober. It’s on my mind 24/7! So much so that I have nightmares about relapsing and losing everything I hold dear to me. I wake up in a sweat, grateful that it was just a dream, but with a sickening feeling in my gut that lasts for hours. Just when I think I’ve got steps 1, 2 & 3 of the 12-steps conquered, my addict mind confuses me and makes me doubt all the work I’ve done. And it’s a vicious cycle! The cycle goes: I doubt my strength…I get stressed…I want to drink…I doubt my strength…I get stressed…I want to drink…and on and on.

The 12 step experience is just monotonous now. Sure I learn things every time, but I’m tired of listening to the same preamble and stories. How do people do that for 40 years? I’m just so confused about my future and at this point I am so tired of trying to figure it out. Ya, Ya, I know, one day at a time. But that isn’t the way my brain works. I want to be successful, but when does my mind get to rest a little bit?…its a rhetorical question…I know the answer is never. Rest only comes when the figurative trigger is pulled.

I have 4 more weeks to find some clarity when all I feel is confused. One thing I am clinging onto is that the doctor said that he is happy when people are confused, because that means they aren’t complacent, and are striving for a life-long recovery. Short and sweet, confusion equals effort. Ok great, I get an ‘A’ for effort on my HU report card. But my positivity still ‘needs improvement’.