I came to an interesting realization yesterday about myself, concerning addiction and recovery. I'm not always quick on the uptake about learning things about myself, I've spent a lifetime trying to hide from me to the point that I have no idea who I really am. Really obvious stuff - obvious to others anyway - comes to me slowly.
Anyway, I was reading an account of a fellow heroin addict and he made the statement that his recovery attempts were really only him setting his tolerance level back at zero again so that he could once again use and have a 'proper high'. That he wasn't interested in getting clean for keeps, he only wanted to take occasional breaks from using so that he could come back to drugs again and he'd get that new novel feeling all over again from them. Like falling in lust with a new lover.
I read that over and over and it made me wonder, is that what I've been doing all of this time, too? It really was like an epiphany moment, this new way of looking at my life. Do I really want to recover, or has this unconscious agenda been there all the time, guiding my choices, my repeated relapses? I've been thinking on this ever since and trying to analyze whether this is the case with me or not. I truly do not know.
I don't like what addiction has made my life. I think about using heroin all the time. All the time. It's always there, hovering in the back of my mind like a fly waiting to land on a piece of shit. I think back to the misery of active using, the panic, stress, sickness, and the person I become when needing a fix....willing to do anything, hurt anyone, to get money. I make myself remember the physical and mental agony of lying there in bed after waking in the morning, dopesick, with no money and desperate for a fix before I shit my pants. And even with those memories, I still want it, always. It is insidious, the pull it has on my mind. Probably because the only times in my life where I felt an ounce of peace, calm, and happiness was when high on heroin, and my brain is desperate to feel that way again.
The longest consecutive period of time I ever had completely clean and sober was 4 years. In all that 4 years time of going to meetings, reading recovery and self help books, living life, I never felt peace, calm, or happiness. I faked that I did because that was what was expected of me. I smiled and laughed like a robot, right on que. I had none of the feelings of surrender and acceptance that other addicts talk about feeling while doing the steps. I don't believe there is some magical higher power that can whisk these feelings away from me; or into me, however you want to look at it. It was 4 years of white knuckling it, full of depressing, suicidal thoughts despite the ever changing cocktail of antidepressants I was on.
What is wrong with me that I haven't had those same feelings that other addicts do in recovery? What am I doing, or not doing, that prevents me from wanting to keep on with it? Has my brain become so permanently rewired from years of opiate use that its impossible to ever feel happy again without them? I want to feel what other people feel. If recovery means more years of white knuckling it, always feeling depressed and angry and not quite right, I don't know if I want it. I don't want the misery that the addict lifestyle brings either so I'm fucked both ways.
I know what I'll be told - better to be depressed and angry but clean, instead of happy and in danger of dying or ending up in jail. A rational mind would say so, but an addict's mind isn't rational. I know this also sounds like I'm setting it up to justify a relapse, which isn't necessarily true. Even on my best days I'm an inch away from relapse. Just needed to get out what has been circling around my head about all of this - this new idea that deep down I may have no intention of ever really staying clean from opiates. It's heady, this idea, and I don't know how I feel about it.