**The following is a personal story of addiction told by the individual who experienced it. BRC asks that you please be respectful when leaving comments. At the same time, we also welcome and encourage you to share your personal story of addiction and recovery as others embark on their own journeys to permanent sobriety. Email us today at RecoveryInfo@BenchmarkCenter.com.
It was a rarity that I didn’t eat all the ecstasy tabs, snort every line of speed or drink the entire bottle of liquor. Once I began a spree, I would not & could not stop. When I put drugs/alcohol in my body, my tolerance grew, as did my desire to feel the adverse effect produced, causing the craving for the physical allergy to both drugs/alcohol. I was unaware that at some point in my history, as an addict/alcoholic, I had lost the power of choice.
Once my body reacted in a positive way to a substance, I’d become less concerned with the outcome and more invested in the effect produced. I thought using drugs and drinking made it easier to complete simple tasks in a faster, more effective way. I felt as though I was capable of anything. I was inspired to create, clean, organize, focus, and be present. I was less judgmental of my artwork & business designs. I perceived myself in a more positive way, which increased my self-esteem. I was in the delusion that I was better able to handle situations related to work. I believed my performance improved while under the influence, that I could complete more projects and function on a higher level.
A False Sense of Security
The truth was- I liked the effect, it made me feel attractive, courageous, trusting, aware and loved. I thought the substance-enhanced emotions I was experiencing were based on feelings that previously existed prior to using. It is only now that I am aware that this kind of rationalization was the cause for delusional thinking. What I was experiencing was a false sense of reality, where in the continued use of drugs & alcohol were mere factors at play in a deadly cycle. The physical allergy, brought upon by a mental obsession, fed my need to fill the ever-gaping black hole or spiritual void that was very much alive and thriving.
As an independent designer, I created my hours and felt that these circumstances provided me with plenty of leeway to use drugs and alcohol. Many times I found myself using/drinking the night before I had agreed to work or attend a business lunch, knowing that the probability that I would be present, function on a normal level or show up on time (if at all) was very low or non-existent. It’s not that I desired these events to transpire; in each instance, I truly believed that the circumstances would be different. I believed that I would be able to pull it off this time.
The truth is, once I put the substance in my body, I could not stop until;
A) I ran out or exhausted my supply
B) I was physically/mentally unable to function properly
C) I would feel so plagued with guilt that I’d show up to do the job while high, but only if I felt that I could “get away with it” without any real consequences.
The fact is, I’d be up all night sometimes for days on end, and by the time I’d have to work, I’d fall asleep before making it to my commitment, sleeping through my alarm clock, texts, phone calls- often not waking up at all until the next evening or afternoon. Horrified, guilt ridden and serotonin depleted, I’d construct elaborate stories of horrific unavoidable circumstances that had prevented me from taking responsibility for my actions. I’d then have to navigate a web of lies constructed to protect my addiction and ego, all created from a self imposed crisis.
A Life of Addiction
I use to create; therefore, in order to create anything of any value or worth, my mind told me that I needed to be high. The mental obsession was so convincing that I came to believe that all artists used drugs, it’s part of the lifestyle. Creating art and using drugs had become a daily practice, a kind of ritual over the past 13 years. I had constructed a lifestyle that allowed for this kind of thinking and delusion to become a reality. I had entered into a serious relationship with a fellow artist, a man who expressed a passion for the artistic lifestyle and shared similar beliefs. Soon afterwards, I began to spin a web, full of delusion based on what felt good. I rationalized and justified my behavior to myself, my partner and everyone else around me until I truly believed that the only way that I would be happy, inspired and loved was to continue down the path of darkness and destruction; creating and destroying artwork, relationships, trust, as well as my physical, mental & spiritual health.
The loving kindness I once knew was soon replaced with the kind of darkness that is brought about by long-term drug use and drinking; producing confusion not harmon; hopelessness not faith nor patience or tolerance. My mind told me it was a good idea to use. It convinced me that this man would not like me as much or at all sober, that I would not be able to draw or paint as a skilled artist without using. The only way I could stay connected to this feeling of pure ecstasy was to continue using, and authenticate a false romance, and if or when we ever drifted apart, I’d have the drugs/alcohol to mend the damage and soothe the pain of not being good enough and unworthy of love.
I arrived at Benchmark Recovery Center on Christmas Day, as a direct result of an intervention. I was literally a “starving artist”; strung out, exhausted from attempting to live up to my loved ones expectations as well as my own, engaged to a man I used with, all the while dying inside, living a double life and trying to shield myself from the truth: that my life had become unmanageable. I was powerless over drugs and alcohol. I had a body that wanted me dead and a mind that lied to me to keep me sick. Restless, irritable and discontent; having trouble with personal relationships, unable to control my emotional nature, prey to misery and depression, unable to make a living, and feeling useless, I was fearful and unhappy, unable to be of any real help to other people. The darkness seeped in and I continued to feed it with drugs and alcohol, all the while chasing the next high (a fleeting feeling of false happiness), unsure as to what was real or imagined.
Providing Solutions in Drug and Alcohol Recovery
BRC provided me with a solution, a spiritual program of action that was simple but not easy. BRC fully supports their residents, with a loving, insightful staff. The employees go above and beyond their job requirements to ensure residents are provided for physically, mentally, and spiritually, while in their care. If not for my experience at Benchmark Recovery Center, I would still be drowning in guilt, shame and despair, a hopeless addict/alcoholic dying of a serious disease. Due to my loving family and friends taking action, and the willingness to be open & honest, I’ve tapped into a source of power far greater than myself.
Today, I am a grateful recovered alcoholic/addict. I’ve begun to walk the path laid before me, trudging the road of happy destiny one day at a time. Guided by light and created in love, I am learning that the “Spirit of the Universe” is in everyone & everything. I’ve ventured through the Golden Arch to freedom, into the “Sunlight of the Spirit”, and am discovering the woman and artist, I was meant to be.