In a recent Crying Out Now post (Remission) the author writes about how she knows she is an addict by how her mind responds to certain circumstances. She gives the example of a friend who went to the dentist and didn't take any of the Vicodin he was prescribed. She couldn't conceive of NOT taking it.
Ditto for me. My brain doesn't work the way non-addicts brains work.
Here are some examples:
I can't conceive of not polishing off a bottle of opiates, of any kind, post haste.
When I get sick, my mind gets giddy at the prospect of getting cough syrup with codeine.
A torn rotator cuff is a reason to get opiates, not physical therapy.
When others offhandedly mention pain meds they don't take, I wonder how I can talk them into giving them to me.
Driving home each night after work, my primary thought was about what kind of alcohol was in the house. If there wasn't any, I would get some. I would make up other items I "just had to pick up" to justify the stop at the store.
On camping trips, I would have to make sure there was alcohol readily obtainable. If not, I didn't want to camp there.
I didn't want to go to any social events if alcohol wasn't served. I kept track of how much wine was left and got nervous as it dwindled.
If there was alcohol in the house I would drink it. I always knew exactly how much wine was left and how many beers were in the fridge.
Non-addicts brains don't work this way.
These unsettling truths resolve the question once and for all as to whether or not I am an alcoholic/addict.
I am grateful for these reality checks. I picture them as a curious breed of angels. They serve as guideposts to the unquestionable fact of my disease.
It is odd to be grateful for something so disturbing. But when it comes to gratitude, I'll take it anywhere I can get it. I have a friend who is fond of saying: "All the really good stuff is hard." So I bow to the angels who are terrifying. Once again, back to Rilke.
"For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror we can just barely endure, and we admire it so because it calmly disdains to destroy us. Every angel is terrible."
— Rainer Maria Rilke
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