Everyone in this world has some sort of addiction. Whether it be drugs, porn, food, TV, soap operas, whatever. We all have one. We usually think back to when it started and wonder if maybe you were meant to do this. I mean, as a child didn’t I (for example) love taking medication? Didn’t morphine make me feel so good? Maybe I was destined to become like this.
No, you really weren’t.
I’m not a third- party observer. I have an addiction as well. One not physically harmful, but mentally chaotic. It started about a year ago, at the end of my freshman year. A few of you will think, “That’s ridiculous. How can someone so young emphasize with what we’re going through?” Everyone is always teasing teenagers because they’re emotions are out of control, right? Like a perpetual state of PMS. So, Mr./ Ms. Skeptic? We feel things ten times more than you do.
So at the end of my freshman year in high school, I got curious, and I dabbled, very lightly, in what would soon come to plague my thoughts. (It’s not drugs, my numerous trips to the hospital for surgery have alienated me from any drug, harmful of not. I’m not ready to say what yet, something else I want to discuss). I was fascinated, and you know, the very first ‘hit’ of your addiction is amazing. Soon you’re going back for more, craving the same effect, until you need more and more and more of it to reach how you felt that very first time. I went back, this time to explore further. That was the first time I crossed that barrier. We always have things that we block off with our minds. “Skydiving? Hell no.” “Ditching school? I don’t think so.” “Justin Bieber? Don’t go there.” When we cross that barrier the first time, it’s extremely easy to do it again, and again.
When I crossed that barrier, I felt like my mind had been warped, that my innocence had been ripped apart (I’m a fairly sheltered girl- my friends have to explain 3/4 of dirty slang to me), and the GUILT. It was EATING ME ALIVE. I couldn’t look my family in the eye, and I had this huge parasite in my chest, chomping away. I wanted to cry, throw something, and shout.
Did that stop me from going back again? No. Because I’d had that first feeling, and I wanted it again.
Slowly, I started feeling more comfortable with it. Each time I expected the guilt to lessen, to no avail. I couldn’t joke with my sister, I couldn’t focus on my schoolwork, and all I could think about was what a pathetic loser I was. This has been going on for a year.
And I’ve finally decided that it needs to stop.
Sure, we’ve all sworn to stop many times before. But we always break. But when you abstain from your addiction for a day, a week, a month? That shows you can abstain forever. So even if you make a little progress, it’s progress nonetheless.
Here are the steps I plan to take to stop this awful feeling in my chest of unworthiness. I don’t want to feel like a liar, like I have something to hide. I don’t want to be afraid anymore.
- Make a journal. Stop your whining, it helps when you’re feeling like the biggest piece of crap on the face of the earth. Write about what you did, what triggered it, how you feel afterwards, and what you need to watch out for.
- Depending on your addiction, you need to avoid your triggers. The smallest, most inconsequential things that we don’t suspect can throw us off our game. So keep your eyes open at all times.
- I realize that it’s hard to go cold- turkey. I’ve tried. A lot. So there are exceptions. Chew gum, croquet, eat something with similar ingredients. Don’t plug your earphones into the computer.
- If you’re not comfortable or emotionally ready to tell someone, because you’re afraid of losing they’re respect, or that they won’t act the same around you, I understand. I can’t even tell complete strangers what my addiction is. Best way to keep you from indulging? STAY WITH PEOPLE. And not people that encourage whatever it is you do. Stay with the people that you wouldn’t tell you have this addiction In the end, those will be the ones to pull you through.
- Don’t allow yourself the opportunity. A lot of us bullshit ourselves all the time. “Oh, I’m not actually going to smoke, I’m just testing it. No, I’m just logging on to the computer to go on facebook. I have a headache, and I can’t do anything without getting rid of it.” Be honest with yourself. You know exactly what and why you are doing it.
- Exercise. No matter what it is you’re suffering from, this actually helps. Seems our elementary school teachers aren’t lying after all. It focuses you, distracts you, and you get fit in the process.
- Don’t give yourself any free time. Boredom is the mother of addiction. It’s almost guaranteed that with free time, you’ll lapse.
- One person I read about marked his calendar for every day he stayed clean. He was pretty hard core too, and when his checks started being more than his X’s, he didn’t want to lose his streak. He kept a list of reasons why he couldn’t indulge with him to look at at all times. You can write it in the back of a binder, planner, notebook, whatever.
- If it persists: Seek help. Join a group, online or otherwise. I can hardly believe I’ve been doing this for a year. When I started, I was sure I would never do it again.
Time passes fast when you have an addiction. The days turn to moths, to years. You aren’t able to look at pictures, laugh with friends without remembering the taint of your addiction. It’s like a shadow, hanging over your head, like a guillotine. We fear that someday someone we love will discover what we have done, and it will all come tumbling down around our heads. I don’t want to live in fear anymore. I don’t want to live in shame. No more half- assed attempts. I want my life back. I want to be able to look back on this a year from now and be proud of myself. The first step that I didn’t mention up there is that before you do anything, you’ve got to want it. I picture how happy I was and how happy I can be once I purge this disease from my life. I’ll post updates on how I’m doing in this area, and maybe someday, I’ll have gained enough emotional stability to reveal what my addiction is. If you want to share your story, please do. You have no idea who can be inspired by it, or feel like they are understood.
I want my life back, and I intend to get it.