Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Addict Mind

Understanding an addicts way of thinking must be frustrating and difficult to comprehend for family, friends and partners.

The problem is that living with an addiction brings a whole host of daily battles that a person without an addiction just can't comprehend.
We have the reputation of being liars and thieves which is difficult to shake even if we ever attain abstinence.

Addiction is a vicious cycle, we all use for different reasons initially, most often to escape something in our lives we cant deal with. 
Addicts are often damaged individuals that unfortunately find solace in drugs or alcohol.

Underneath the hard exterior is in most cases a shy, sensitive and kind soul that has had to become hard to survive.

We lie to our loved ones under the misconception of protecting them, we don't want them to worry, or to realise the extent of the grip our drug of choice has over us.
Unfortunately this is seen as dishonesty and they understandably find our actions and words infuriating!

When I don't tell my mum about a relapse it's not because I revel in the lie and deceit it's because I don't want her to worry!
There is nothing she can do to help me and I see no point in her getting upset over something that is out of her control.

Similarly, when I don't admit to my partner that I've used it's because I love him and want to keep our relationship together.
Now from his point of view he would rather I was honest, it's the lies he find most difficult to deal with.
It's not easy being in a relationship where one half has an addiction, from either perspective.
Saying that, in relationships where both parties use, the so called 'co-dependent's', the couple bounce off each-other, relationships like these are destructive and unhealthy and very rarely work out in the long run.

When you live with a physical addiction to a drug it takes over everything, every day needs to be planned, money needs to be made/found, drugs ordered and saved for the morning so you can get up and function.
Nothing will get in the way of making sure you have that supply arranged for that day at least, many people stockpile so they don't have to go through the daily rigmarole..
This unfortunately means that things like maintaining relationships, family events and holidays and even basic things like personal hygiene go out the window when the clock is ticking on the withdrawal.
We know it hurts those around us, but when withdrawal is creeping up on you it has a way of taking over 100% of your thinking, nothing else matters until you have had your hit, then you can go on with your day.
To us our morning dose is like anyone else taking a pee in the morning.. we don't have an option!

After destroying ourselves with the guilt of what we are doing to our families and loved ones and burying our heads further in the sand we usually try and clean up.. people usually fail at first and start to try and justify our using, a lot of addicts come to a stage where they give up trying to get clean and decide that this is they're lot, they will always be on drugs and with this acceptance comes a (false) sense of peace.
We question what exactly the problem is, why can't our loved ones just accept us as we are?
What we don't see in our heroin fog is that to the people that know us best we are like ghosts, shells of our former selves... We are focused on nothing but obtaining and taking our DOC.
We are fundamentally different on drugs, whether we think we are or not!

Essentially taking drugs every day isn't conducive to maintaining close and loving bonds to those around us and we have to accept that to move into a stage where we can start recovering.

Behind the drugs I am a person still, with feelings, emotions, passions and goals in life, balancing an addiction with a relationship is complicated and trying.

Coping with the guilt that comes with the untruths feeds into my using.
It's been said that addicts will find any excuse to use, I'm happy, I have a hit. I'm sad, I use to blot out the pain. I've had some good news, I want a hit to celebrate... etc etc....

Learning to deal with life on it's terms after using drugs for a large majority of ones life is challenging and difficult to achieve.

I want to be clean, and be able to live a 'normal' life, I deserve it and my long suffering partner does too!
Coming to a place where I  want to be clean has taken a long time and a lot of heartache, part of my problem has always been my low self esteem, I don't value myself enough to warrant a shot at life.
This mind-set has dogged me my whole life, I wish I knew where it came from!

Superficially I know I'm a good person with a lot to give, I'm gifted musically, I'm kind and have always had a humanitarian, peaceful ethos, but underneath all that, sub-consciously, I have this self deprecating, self sabotaging element of my personality that seems determined to fuck myself over at every opportunity.

I guess this is the root of my problems and is what I probably need to face up to and understand and probably never will without some serious soul searching and probably the help of a psychologist!

I feel I am getting closer to that day all the time though...

I will not stop until I get there, it's not in my nature to give up...fundamentally I am a survivor and I will jump every hurdle and hoop it takes to find acceptance of who and what I am!


Gledwood said...

Have you ever been longterm relationship with another junkie? Bloody hell! I remember pretending to be asleep while she dragged me across the floor during some stupid drunken altercation. But what got me most was that although I was pretending I genuinely blacked out the memory ~ it only came back days later. And I still don't remember WHY she was dragging me across the room... weird.

One huge reason addicts lie and deceive is because in hospitals, treatment clinics etc they just do not get the treatment they need. Considering the aim of medicine is to make people feel OK even if they cannot be cured, surely doctors should give someone who's anxious for example VALIUM and not get so snotty about it.

And methadone clinics. You should be able to tell them what you're actually using when you come in. Instead it's assumed you're lying so a bizarre type of bargaining goes on where most of the "clients" seem to double their usage and they half it and hopefully you get enough juice!

Last time I was in that position I was asking for Subutex and said: look this is exactly what I use, £40 brown IV a day or £20 + 20-40mg methadone. And he gave me these Subbies saying "take it when you feel like you need a hit" so of course I took it the minute I got back, because that's when I'd have my next hit. And I got intensely ill. Lovely stuff!

Barbara said...

Sid, I am SO GLAD you commented on my blog. I ready your profile and already know I like you a lot. This post is really helpful because you're right, its confusing for the loved ones of an addict. I think I have figured it pretty well by now from talking to others, listening to my son and learning all I can about heroin and heroin addiction.

I see we have some of the same blogs in common. I really need to check in on "I hate my face...." I miss her.

I have a question but I may email it to you later.

I am wondering if Ibogaine is similar to Suboxone that we have here in the US?

Sid said...

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for the nice comment, i'm still beginning my blogging experience!

Of course i'll try and answer your questions, ibogaine is NOTHING like suboxone, i's a one time 'addiction breaker' and not for the light hearted!
I'ts often used as a last resort for long term addicts.. google it!


Gledwood said...

Hi Sid. This comment has been floating about for hours. I thought it had gone through but evidently not. The particular style of comment form you're using has caused me a few problems before, with the browser losing the page, then I have to save the comment and drop it in again. Sometimes 2 or 3 times. This will be attempt number 4 or 5!

I just read it again now that I'm more clear-headed. I've had terrible sleep problems Sid. Sleeping round the clock, sleeping all day. Up at night. Eventually I got some temazzies and I popped one tonight, so I'm hoping to sleep like a normal person from now on. Bad sleep for me = a very clouded head. Then people think I'm on drugs and that irritates the living crap out of me!

Yes those reasons you gave for lying were bang-on correct. Families and partners of addicts should learn NOT to question, not to ask for details we don't want to give. It makes life much easier. The best apporach is to accept that addicts use. Addicts use drugs. Simple as. Getting upset about that is utterly pointless, so a degree of acceptance is essential, else frustration will eat them alive. And they don't even have the solace of drugs... So how do they cope? (I really don't get that one...)

I know next to nothing about co-dependency, except I think I might have been in a co-dependent relationship for more than 2 years. I was on the heroin; she was on nothing. She took me in off the street and I lived in her house. She funded maybe a quarter or a fifth of my habit for quite a long time. She funded it well enough that at one point the lights were going out and of course I couldn't top up the electric card. My money was B-money, simple as.

I did offer to help her out by begging up cash, but she always refused. I'm someone that if I say "I'll do this for you" and soeone says "oh no please you don't need to" then I won't! I'm not into that stupid reverse bartering crap. As you know when you're on the B you're on the edge anyhow, so pretty much everything you do is strictly object-oriented.

I had no time for analysing other people's motives and feelings, except where they directly impinged on my drug supply! (My dealer's voice I could read every inflexion of, I knew without doubt when he was lying, when he was coming but going to take a while, and when he actually was on the way. That I read very well inedeed! I had to.

Anyway this relationship, she was obsessed with me. I was obsessed with heroin. She facilitated my using by giving me a place to use, money to use and a degree of security. And my stash, my filters and everything else, were completely safe. I saw that as co-dependent, because we depended on each other.

Were you online at mine earlier as Sids? If I'd realized it was you I'd have said hello! I'm shy! You should have said something when I tried to talk to Doops. I had to ping off earlier but I'm online now. I'll make sure my name's in the box.

Take it easy ;->...

Sid said...

Is the submit comment page fuc*ed then? Can you change it?

I don't really have any exp with co-dependant relationships with both parters on gear, I had a girl stay at my flat for a bit, she was homeless and i let her stay here, she used to make more money begging so would sort me out every day.. She was the reason I cleaned up a few years ago..long story!

I had a coke-head ex for a while and it was the most destructive, violent relationship, imagine gay relationships, two guys can get away with beating the crap out of eachother...!

That's funny about the dealer, I know exactly what you mean..haha

I did pop in earlier to say hi to doopsy, forgot to go back on!
Meant to ask you if you would want to write guest posts for eachother at some point? Dunno what about, probably drugs!



Sid said...

Ah! Got it.. changed to pop up comment form... cheers!

Gledwood said...

Yeah this form works far easier. Also if you have videos for music, the music keeps playing while the little window's up (that's why I used this one).

Yeah I'd be well up for that guest post thing. Another thing we could try is where someone comes up with a subject, a bit like a school essay title, and several of us blog answering that title or question and it's the difference in outlook that should make interesting reading. I've never seen that one done before, I'm surprised, I think it would be really cool.

If I can think up a title question I'll tell you. We would both have to post on the same day, and you're not meant to read what the other)s) have put until you've posted. Unless you're really stuck, I suppose.

It's also possible to embargo a post by saying OK we write it on Monday but don't publish till Wednesday at midnight 01 hours. Then you post it, alter the time and it automatically comes out at 00:01.

I'll see if I can think up some extremely exciting theme...

... it might take me till next year, but that's only a week, haha :-)

PS you said you're into piercing, have you ever done that ear thing when you turn one ear into a donut? I think that looks really cool. Dunno what it's called. You know what I mean? You pierce it, put a tiny disc in there and gradually increase the size of the disc, till you got an African tribal-looking thing going on. What IS that called?

Sid said...

Sounds good, we will have to think of a subject!

I have stretched ear lobes, theres no particular name for them, mine are 32mm I think, last check....

Well I say they, I mean one as one I stretched too quickly and it fell through years ago, so I look lop-sided now with one huge ear and one small...

Did u get my message last night? It's the only way I can contact you directly as your email never seems to work!


Gledwood said...

I'm checking my email in a sec. Thanks I got your address properly now, too