Just a reminder that recovery is possible

Sometimes it feels strange to remember that I used to struggle with addiction. As the years pass, the reality of it fades and it all seems like a bad dream. All those years where I used meth night and day, where I could not imagine being clean, where I heard voices all the time, and where around eleven years ago I taunted an idiot into beating me to a bloody pulp, and went to sleep in a pool of my own blood in the hope that someone might care enough to take me to rehab – not that that narcissist necessarily cared for me but more likely I’d caused embarrassment to the family name – but fuck it anyway, it worked. It all feels so distant. And even then I still relapsed and used for three more years.

But now, unless I force myself to remember, I don’t. That person. That guy. I vaguely remember him and it isn’t even a first person recollection anymore. Fuck him anyway, the fucking fool. He didn’t know how lucky he was to be able to live through it and become me, but he’s gone and I’m glad.

Today I read a post on Facebook by a friend in the US, who admitted to struggling with heroin addiction for most of her adult life, and conceded to getting clean again. My heart aches for her, because I was once like her and yet I can’t remember it clearly anymore. It’s a memory of a memory of that other guy who in a way, died in that pool of blood back in 2009.

So I just want to remind her, and people like her, that recovery is possible. That monster that you are, that you hate… doesn’t have to win. And you don’t need a belief in god or a twelve step program or any other kind of magical thinking. You just need to want it, to want normality and all those things you lost through addiction, want to stop hating yourself and stop being ashamed. You need to reach that point where enough is enough and fuck everybody who doesn’t believe in you because they don’t matter anyway. You can be clean and you can have a life. It won’t be easy, but it will be better.

3 thoughts on “Just a reminder that recovery is possible

  1. Congratulations of your recovery 🙂 Perhaps you could give me some advice. I am a techie like yourself, but a little older.

    Due to a lifelong case of ADD that truly gets in the way of life, I was prescribed amphetamines 18 years ago, shortly after starting college. Ever since then, I have had a stimulant abuse problem of low intensity: mostly taking prescribed medication at higher dosages than required or advised. With a few short bouts of harder stuff, once a few months of daily moderate meth, mostly oral, never IV. And there was a year when I spent all my money on weekend coke party blowouts, but I grew out of that. Thank God.

    Recently, in the past few months, both adderall and vyvanse stopped working completely, no matter how high I took the dose. A positive result is that I no longer crave either. But I have lost the ability to code, or to perform many types of goal oriented activities outside of life; I’m able to complex tasks as long as they’re useless and don’t help me live the life I want. So I’m making no money.

    I actually tried switching to meth as a short term fix to save my career, but it also did not improve focus or motivation at the doses I could tolerate before the anxiety kicked in. On the bright side, it stopped me from possibly going down a rabbit hole of addiction, but I seem to have developed completely treatment resistant ADD.

    Do you have ANY idea how I can somehow normalize my dopamine system enough to be functional again? With or without meds… At the end of the day, I’ve never used stimulants for fun, only as an attempt to make up for natural shortcomings, so I would love to get off them if I could, but I’ll take them if that’s necessary.

    My mental health is otherwise pretty good, and my cognition is sharp, I’m just totally ADD / OCD and nothing seems to help anymore. I’ve also been on suboxone for 5 years, but I’m totally stable so I don’t think that’s relevant…

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    1. I don’t really know. My understanding is that amphetamines work slightly differently in people who have ADD, although I don’t know how true it is. You have to take only small controlled doses to get you in that zone that actually helps you to concentrate and focus, but not enough to tweak like a tweaker which gets you stuck on doing repetitive shit.

      I think the problem is that you’ve developed tolerance by abusing stimulants, but if you take higher doses, you’ll end up tweaking and anxious, in other words high. And that’s just gonna fuck up your code anyway. So you’re not hitting a good zone with small or large doses.

      There must be another way. The only thing I can suggest is a doctor, but you have to be completely open about the abuse. Maybe a doc can suggest a different class of drug, something you don’t already have tolerance for…

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    2. A problem I had, especially at the beginning of being clean, was I literally didn’t know how to do stuff without being on meth. I thought it gave me “energy” and when I coded right through the night, sometimes writing some decent code, I really thought I was into it. But it was just the meth. I was addicted to that psychological state when I got into it… that state where everything seemed interesting and I could keep going obsessively, because I was high.

      It took me a while to adjust to being clean, to be able to function without the drugs. For me, that was the most difficult part of cleaning up.

      I don’t know if this might help you, but for me that was the real challenge, to find motivation to code like I used to, without the drugs. In fact, I don’t code as I used to – I now only work within office hours (unless there is a really good reason to work overtime like something in production is broken) and I have very precise, specific tasks that I work on. What might also help is to have some kind of system of organizing what you want to do, a work planner or diary. Have set things that you can tick off to say they are done.

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