Dear Drugs, I Hate You.
You destroyed my life, took away children and left me homeless. Every time you entered my body I risked death. I hated living with you and I couldn’t live without you.
I got caught in a trap of my own making.
Looking back it’s clear, yet at the time I struggled to see my addiction. Instead, I’d come up with another plan. I’d switch drugs, or use sleep medication to bring myself down. If only I could find the perfect formula, I wouldn’t have to give up my best friend – my worst enemy.
In short, I found a million ways to avoid doing the one thing I didn’t want to do… Let you go.
The last time I used was under a cement ramp. It wasn’t cool or glamorous. It was pathetic. My world had shrunk to a dark cubby-hole that reeked of urine. My worldly possessions consisted of a copper pipe and propane blow torch. That’s all I had left. And when I ran out of drugs, life got real. A few days later, I was in rehab.
I was a poly-substance abuser meaning I used anything I could get my hands on. But mostly, I used cocaine and opioids. A few weeks into treatment hadn’t changed much. I was still having trouble admitting I was addicted. My counselor gave me the letter assignment to help break through my wall of denial. I was asked to write a letter to my addiction.
Up until then, I could not accept the fact I couldn’t control my drug use. I still thought I could use drugs, when in truth …
I didn’t use drugs. They used me.
Drugs used me in ways nothing else in my life ever had.
Drugs hijacked my brain and lied to me in my voice. I left my family and children for them. They told me I was a loser and to kill myself.
Pen to paper, I start to write.
Dear Drugs, I Love You.
No. No! No!!!
I didn’t mean to write that. If I were ever to get clean, I must plant my feet in reality and stop living in delusion. The trouble was, I wasn’t a fan of the truth and did my best to avoid it, which was also why I was doing a stint in rehab.
Reality sucks. At least it does when you’re an addict.
However, you can’t stay high all the time. To feed your addiction, you lower your moral standards and do things you said you’d never do. You break a lot of hearts along the way, including your own, which was another reason I was in rehab.
Dear Drugs… Just one more time… No one will ever know… Smoking pot won’t hurt me…
No. No! No!!!
Dear Drugs. I’m not high, and I still don’t think right! Drugs you messed with my brain and overrode my will to survive. You twisted love into pain and pain into desperation. You changed a beautiful, young woman into a decrepit, palliative, scarecrow.
Dear Drugs, I hate you. You killed so many of my friends, and you nearly killed me. I despise the insidious, horrible trap that you are. You promise fun and deliver hell. I hate that I still think about you.
Dear Drugs, I’m scared of the power you have over me.
Dear Drugs, I’m saying goodbye.
I’m told not to think about losing you forever. People say I will find ways to have fun, without you. When you call my name, I should play the tape ALL the way through. I must remember why I wanted to quit you. I can do this, one day at a time. And if that’s too long, I’ll go five minutes and then repeat.
The trick is to build a life I don’t need to escape from. You gave me confidence, courage, and strength. You eased my anxiety and got me out of bed in the morning. If I’m to succeed in keeping you out of my life, I must find healthier ways to cope.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a powerful tool. It helps me recognize self-defeating thoughts and unhealthy behavior patterns like isolating. If I want to remain abstinent, I must step out of my comfort zone and connect with others by sharing my thoughts and feelings. When I get honest, my anxiety lessens and that gives me hope.
The hardest part of getting clean and sober was caring enough about myself to put in the effort. Effort equals results. The people who get well, work at it. Addicted persons want instant results. But there are none. What there is, are significant little milestones along the way. One day clean and sober. Thirty days clean and sober. Six months clean and sober. Each day sober is a victory. Suddenly, hope replaces despair, and energy replaces apathy. People look at me differently. I can meet my eyes in the mirror. And then one day it hits me. I’m alive, and I feel everything. There’s no better high than living life at my your personal best.
Dear drugs, all that you promised, I found in recovery.
Dear drugs. I did the one thing you hate…
I reached out for help and left you.