I am an addict…
But in saying that I am clean and sober. From hard drugs 30 years, from alcohol 22 years. I hear people say one drug does not lead to another. Sorry some of them do when one fix is not hiding the pain or making you happy. You go to the next.
I also hear well you are sober for so long that you are not an addict. I don’t think you understand addiction. First I live in pain every day not only from emotional stresses but from my chronic pain syndrome. I am scared that one day I will take the wrong over-the-counter meds for my chronic pain that it will send me down a very dark path that this time I might not be able to get out of. I am scared that I will be served the wrong drink while out with friends and then I am back to where I was 22 years ago. I am scared that the harm that is caused by others for me being Transgender will send me back to drugs and alcohol.
This is not some little type of being scared of clowns. Yet I respect that fear as I do heights. Being an addict means that it is never over. Each day is a fight to say no thank you, I will never do that again, you cannot make me return to that dark place no matter what you say or do to me, and I am stronger now. Being an addict means that you still know the feeling of the drugs. Being an addict means that you know the smell. Being an addict means walking be a bottle shop is a magnet and you must fight. Being an addict means you know that burn in the back of your throat just below your nasal path. Sometimes when you are not focused on your fight to stay clean it reminds you that you once did it.
I hold a special place in my heart for those who fight the battle that I do. But I know that I must keep my distance in case they fail. That way I am not dragged back in. I understand those that fight and lose, fight and lose only to keep trying to fight. As someday they will win. I have never attended a “meeting” because I am scared of them. Those feelings of others remind me of what I went through to get clean and sober.
A few years ago I thought I was over the side effects of addiction. I thought I could help out in a friend’s bar/pub. Memories are a hard monster with many lessons to learn. I could not take the job helping my friend. Because the smell and then temptation of a drink was too high. I have to avoid going with friends to clubs even if it is a birthday party. Some don’t understand and still ask a number of times. I have one person who said, I would love to see you drunk. I replied to them “Not if you want to remain my friend you don’t”.
The battle of addiction is real and it lasts a lifetime. My father is an addict as well. Though you would never see him writing about it. He has fought a life of battles since the late ’70s to avoid alcohol and cigarettes. It is something that we face in our lives. Sometimes it scares us to a very core because we know what we were like in the past. There are some mistakes that I can never say I am sorry enough for. Knowing that my apology will never be heard much less accepted. So you work hard to make your life better than what it was, making sure you never return to the darkness. I have children now that are anchors to remaining clean and sober. I look at them every day knowing that I must battle and win. I talk to them about addiction and what lead me to it. I talk to them about the costs of it. Why do I do that? Because my father never did it for me. Look what happened I followed in his footsteps. When the pain was too high I turned to being numb to solve it. Even though there were better ways to deal with it. I chose not to use them.
So now people want to hear what I have because I stopped. I am not going to tell you, those are my rewards. What I am going to tell you is some tips to support others.
- Stop inviting to events where temptations might be. If you do don’t do it over and over again. Know who you are inviting to the events.
- If a person who is sober is at a place with you don’t ask them what they want to drink. Get them a Coke or a Water. Protect them like they are you best friend in the world and you have to save their life. p.s. you are saving their life.
- Try not to drink in front of them. It’s a bit rude…
- Listen to their storys when life is hard. Support them.
- Check up on friends and loved ones. Don’t let them think that they are battling this demon alone.
- Remember all war stories come with pain, respect the pain and the story.
- Stand up for your friends when others beat them down.
See those are just a couple of tips. But remember someone saved my life and you can do it for another.
Little known fact, Children who are abused learn to deal with the pain by using. A large amount of the Transgender community has used to survive. Because we have suffered abuse. #noexcuseforabuse