Drug Rehab 2022 Round 1 – Alive Without Addiction

Name: Lindsay Grohs

Alive Without Addiction

I saw it before my own eyes; my best friend was falling down the dark hole named depression. The illness was constantly convincing him that he wasn’t good enough. Leaving him to question who he truly was. Prompting him to turn to things, dangerous things, to escape the madness. Things that give you a feeling that used to come so naturally from words, friendships, and experiences. Those things do the trick for a while; filling the void for the time being, but it’s only a matter of time before it fades and you are left feeling numb again. So you open the bottle and take another in hopes of finding that young, lively, care-free boy that once lived in you. A boy who didn’t have to try with all his might to stammer up a smile for school pictures. A boy who didn’t shy away from hugs because they scared him. A boy who wasn’t worried about getting attached to the people he cared so deeply for. Anything to get him back. But it doesn’t work. You try again and again but it never works. He is gone. And you are left as another victim of the system fighting to end the cycle you so willingly threw yourself into. You blame yourself. You try to stop. But then you find yourself holding back tears as you lay on the bathroom floor feeling empty. You find yourself isolated in your room for days upon end. You find yourself skipping class. All because you’re brainwashed into thinking it doesn’t matter. You have succumbed to the idea that no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you fight for it, no matter what you do, that boy is not coming back. But how will you know if you never try?

Addiction is a rising issue among society today as many kids, teens, and adults continue to face mental health issues, peer pressure, trauma, genetic inheritance of behaviors, and additional stress. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder back in 2017. Of these 19.7 million struggling, 8.5 million experienced mental health disorders coinciding with their substance use disorders. This poses a concerning issue for the overall mental health of our society and the individuals living within it.

The scary thing about addiction is that you often don’t realize you’re becoming addicted until you’re fully hooked on the substance. It starts with experimenting. Sounds harmless and fun, right? But before you know it, you’re slowly smoking that marijuana, popping those pills, drinking that vodka more and more frequently. You, my friend, have now entered stage two; regular use. Doing these practices has now become a habit; one that seems nearly impossible to break. You’re prone to the “feel good”, “numb the pain” feeling. But that itself is no longer enough. Welcome to stage three; risky use. You are now abusing your usage of the substance(s). The thought of getting caught or facing greater consequences no longer phases you because you have developed a need so strong that you have no choice but to feed it. This stage often causes many to struggle with their school/work obligations, in their family lives and relationships, and in other extracurriculars. This is because the reliance has become so strong that it has turned into the main focus as opposed to your other commitments. Finally, you have reached stage four, the final stage; addiction. You can no longer go without this thing. Your body has adapted to it. The only way to stop would be to face the horrid effects of withdrawal; the shakiness, sweating, vomiting, fatigue, and constant anxiety. These conditions make it seem as though continuing to abuse the substance is better than facing withdrawal. This is why so many people get themselves stuck in the cycle. However, no matter how impossible it may appear, anyone is capable of tackling the monster of addiction.

What many people don’t realize is that oftentimes the journey is anything but linear. Recovery is a fluctuating journey that takes commitment, patience, and, most importantly, time. The first step in this journey is committing to recovery itself. Even this is harder than it appears. But you must remember the reasons behind this commitment; whatever they may be, they are worth the hard work and dedication it takes to recover. Next comes the preparation. With this comes research on a range of variables depending on who you are or what you are struggling with. Many times these include treatment, therapy, coping skills, and/or medication. Once you have done this, you are ready to take action. This is the start of behavioral changes with your habits, attitude, and lifestyle. You are consistently working hard to get better. You are moving further towards your goals. This stage often opens up more possibilities and enhanced opportunities because you now have more time to focus on other aspects of your life than solely the substance that was previously in control. The next step is maintenance. In this stage, you are continuing to utilize the skills and information you’re learning to progress further down your path of recovery. Relapses often happen in this stage. I advise those who experience relapses along their journey to not be upset with themselves, but rather focus on the progress they have made and continue to make as they are constantly growing and improving. The final stage of this process is termination; when you have shown commitment to staying fully sober. Some may eventually reach this stage, others may come close, and others may never reach it. Whatever the circumstances are, that is okay. The more important thing is your level of effort, not whether or not you hit a certain stage. As Arthur Ashe once said, “success is about the journey, not the destination.” Seek help. Believe in yourself. Stick to your word. You got this my friend.