It’s been a week since I gave up cigarettes. I’m not going to claim that I have it beat yet – I’m not even experiencing all the benefits of this healthier lifestyle yet, but tentatively it is looking like success. Tentatively it looks like my formula for beating addiction works. It’s looking like something I should write down in a form that others can try to reproduce. But not yet… Maybe I should wait until I’m at least a couple of months free of the cigarette addiction. In the meantime, this introductory post will lay out some ground rules, to give context to my sobriety objective and thinking around the subject. (“Objective”, singular, not plural, is not a typo.)
The objective of beating addiction
- Abstinence. Successful and lifelong.
There is only one objective. I’m not going to write a bunch of trite inspirational nonsensical platitudes about how you must make fundamental life changes, and blah blah blabberty bullshit.
Abstinence is about no longer using the drug. If you stop the drug, you stop getting the drug, using the drug, protecting the habit, lying about getting and using the drug, and so on. None of those things need to be the goal. Stop using the drug and those things will happen automatically. Keep things simple.
You don’t need faith
Nobody needs a higher power. Faith is belief despite no supporting evidence. A faith based approach to sobriety takes the focus away from you, the person with the problem, and externalizes your problem. It takes away your personal accountability, and takes away all the credit when you get sobriety right. That’s why, when I tell somebody I’m five years clean from meth, and they reply, “Praise God”, I always reply with “Fuck your God. Shouldn’t I be thanking him for my meth addiction?”
Forget about ‘Just for today”
Even on my first day clean, I never once said “Just for today”. This is for life.
There’s no such thing as a “dry drunk”
If you’re not drinking alcohol, you can’t possibly be drunk. Likewise if you’re not smoking meth or snorting coke, you’re not a junkie.
People who tell me I should “work on my recovery” invariably don’t work on theirs. Asking your imaginary father in the sky, or the fairies, or the fluffy unicorns in cloud cuckoo land, to help you, does not count as working on anything. It counts as false comfort and delusion. If you have faith in something, that’s great, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it helps you stay clean. And whatever you do, don’t impose that on anyone else.
This goes back to my only objective… If you abstain, you’re going to “work” on recovery anyway, because all the things you need to do to stay abstinent will come to you naturally.
Relapse is NOT ok
Back when I went to meetings and spoke to other addicts, I became aware of this mindset where relapse is OK. It is not. Relapse must be avoided at all costs. It isn’t a natural part of “working” on recovery. It’s a mistake. It‘s not the end of the world, and it isn’t a reason to give up – if you do relapse. But don’t go into this with the idea in the back of your head that everybody does relapse, which makes it acceptable somehow.
Therapy is good
Don’t knock talk therapy. It helps immensely to be able to talk to someone about your problems. You can’t think of everything by yourself, and a good therapist will give you insight into your life from a perspective that you may never see.
That’s all I have time for today. Further posts in this series will have a similar title and be tagged with beating addiction.