Jul 22, 2006

To A Friend

(Toledo, OH) I was heartened to hear that you have checked yourself into an inpatient facility for your addiction. I am not sure if you have Internet privileges in this stage of your treatment, so I do not know if you will read this.

We have not spoken since I learned that you were falling into the pit of addiction. Some might see this as selfish, or as turning my back on a friend, but I have other reasons for my reluctance to associate with hard partiers - I simply cannot afford to let myself get caught up in a world of inebriation, deception, and self-destruction.

You have a lot of hard work ahead of you; the process of sobering up is only a small part of recovery. The difficult part is getting your thinking straightened out, because years of addiction have created changes in your brain.

I am not referring to the physical damage in terms of depleted brain cells, or the wholesale disordering of the neurotransmitters that normally regulate brain activity.

I am instead referring to what might be called "junkie-think," or the self-deception in which addicts engage. You know - thoughts like "I can quit at any time," or "I control the drug," or "It's only one little hit," or "I'm just hanging out with my (drug-using) friends - it's no problem, I won't go back out."

That sort of thing.

It takes months, and even years, to retrain your brain to how to think normally again. There will come a point in your recovery, perhaps around three months of clean living, when you may try to convince yourself that you are "cured."

Nothing could be further from the truth.

If I have learned anything in this life, it is that people prone to addiction never become "cured." They can maintain sobriety, they can lead healthy and happy lives, and they can become pillars of the community, but they are never "cured."

The minute you begin to believe the lie of being "cured," you are doomed to repeat the cycle of addiction. Don't go there.

I wish you good luck in your recovery, and I will visit soon.


Anonymous said...

Good luck to your friend, Mike. You did the right thing by distancing yourself because addicts only learn the hard way - by losing friends.

Mrs. Phoenix said...

It's times like these where you MUST give yourself permission to be selfish...you have a wife, children, property and YOURSELF to protect! Good luck to your friend and good thinking on YOUR part to separate.

Kate said...

Mike - the world of addiction is a hard thing to deal with. You can talk to a man here: http://www.lenaweecountymission.org/

I fell in love with a man, years ago - who was addicted to coke. He smoked it. I had no idea - I lived in a different city. I only saw the man who was an opera singer, artist and journeyman sheet metal worker.

When I came to Toledo - I was confronted with a set of circumstance that was out of control. And involved some very bad people.

In any case, you cannot buy into a sense of responsibility for this behavior.

While you may love the person - it is perfectly ok to hate the addict.

It is an evil thing. If you don't believe in God - or evil - this doesn't make sense. But if you do believe - everything falls right into place.

There is help for your friend.

liberal_dem said...

Had I an addiction problem, I would wish that you were my friend.

Stephanie said...

I hope your friend has a chance to read what you have written here and takes to heart the very important messages you have left for him/her. I, too, have heards those words from the ones I love who are addicted. I've seen the "cure" fail and the tragedies continue. It's not an easy road to walk down, and sometimes the only way to walk it with a friend is by not being there.

In a way it reminds me of Footprints in the Sand, because even when you are not by your friend's side, you are carrying him/her in your heart and doing what you can (which doesn't feel like much, but may be more than you know) to get them on a better path.

Hooda Thunkit said...

You and your friend will be in my prayers Mike.

May God take your friend by the hand and show him/her the way.