Wow, so GBE is back up and running again. Ok, it has for a few weeks now but I been slow on the uptake these days. Haven't been doing much writing recently so it's taken me this long to decide I want to be part of it again. For those of you who were part of the original GBE on Myspace, I blogged as Clarkster there.
So.....control. What can I really say about control? Control is what every addict thinks they have, even as they are spiraling out of control. Kind of a funky paradox. We could be homeless, living in a cardboard box under a bridge, weigh 90 pounds and have open oozing sores from infected track marks on our arms, and when asked if we want help, we say, "Nope! I'm good, but thanks for asking. I got everything under control."
Rather fucked up, huh.
Control is a multi-layered thing in addiction-land. No one, upon trying drugs or alcohol for the first time, ever intends on ending up an addict. That's loss of control #1: genes. Whether an "addiction gene" exists or not, one cannot argue that these things have a tendency to run in families. Why is it that one person who uses drugs or drinks socially can take it or leave it, and another can't? "Disease" or not, I do believe that some people are born wired with addictive tendencies. It might not manifest itself as drug abuse, but might as an addiction to food, shopping, sex, gambling, or what-have-you.
Usually, though, part of the appeal of using drugs - apart from it being fun and cool at first - is to escape reality. Even if not realized at first, most addicts are trying to escape from something harsh in their lives.
Loss of control #2: the ability to face reality. The more a person runs from their problems, the less able they are to deal with it later on down the road. It's a cumulative affect. The drug use itself is usually just a symptom of the underlying problem(s) that was never dealt with in the first place. Treating the underlying problem(s) is just as important as treating the drug abuse.
Left to just run amok, drug abuse will usually end up turning into a real bonafide addiction. Meaning, your body and brain depends on the chemicals just like it does on water or air just to be able to function normally. Loss of control #3: bodily functions. Once users are that deep into their addiction the only control they have over their bodies is to keep feeding it their drug of choice, or face the consequences. Withdrawal is not a pretty sight: shaking, sweating, puking, diarrhea, cramps, aching, insomnia....and in some severe cases, even death.
But are we really that helpless? Some addicts are able to take back control of their lives by admitting that they have no control. Step #1 in AA and NA is admitting we are powerless over [drug of choice] and our lives have become unmanageable. Of course getting to that point where we can admit loss of control - ironically - takes quite a bit of control.
Part of recovery - and taking control of one's life - as an addict is also accepting responsibility for one's actions. In doing so, we have to accept loss of control #4: we cannot control other peoples' reactions. Over the course of our "career" we have hurt friends, family, and even innocent bystanders. Recovery doesn't mean we get a free pass and all is forgiven and dandy. We may never gain back the friendship and trust of those we hurt.
So, what does a recovering addict have control over, anything? Yes. Whether or not we pick up. No one forces us to use. No one ties us to a chair and points a gun to our head and says "shoot up or I'll kill you." We make that choice, willingly. Even if it seems like lifes' circumstances "force" us to pick up, that responsibility lies solely with us.