We know well the two things that make up true addiction: obsession and compulsion. Obsession—that fixed idea that takes us back time and time again to our particular drug, or some substitute, to recapture the ease and comfort we once knew. Compulsion—once having started the process with one fix, one pill, or one drink we cannot stop through our own power of will. Because of our physical sensitivity to drugs, we are completely in the grip of a destructive power greater than ourselves.
The physical aspect of our disease is the compulsive use of drugs: the inability to stop using once we have started. The mental aspect of our disease is the obsession, or overpowering desire to use, even when we are destroying our lives.
NA Basic Text
After my initial arrest and sentencing to probation for illegal possession, I found myself in a relapse last year which resulted in six months of house arrest for probation violation. A friend asked me, “Didn’t you know the legal consequences of doing illegal drugs?” When I answered yes, she couldn’t understand why — knowing that — I would continue to use. That’s when it first really sunk in for me and I understood that I am really wired differently.
The mental obsession, the physical compulsion…non-addicts just don’t have it.
Around the time of my last hearing for my probation violation, a friend who is not in recovery said something to the effect of, “It’s just eight more months. Wait this out and get on the other side of probation clean without any other violations. Heck, at that point if you want to have the biggest using party go ahead – just don’t do it while you’re on probation.” While I know that is ludicrous and goes against every grain of my recovery and self-awareness, that comment hasn’t left my mind in over two months! I don’t think of it daily – but probably at least a couple of times a month it’s come back to me. I know that wasn’t his intention – and this isn’t about everyone becoming P.C. and having to censor/watch what they say around me. It’s my addiction, my responsibility for recovery. However, that it’s engraved in my mind is another sign of the mental obsession.
I’m wired differently.
Then today, out of the blue – after almost five months of no contact – I get a text from an unknown number. It’s clearly my former dealer. Pushing his wares. I was in the middle of a meeting a church when the text came in. And I had to fight for the rest of the meeting to stay focused. I could feel a slight ‘rush’ in my system when I read the text and figured out what it was about. As I walked home, I told myself to delete the text and number right away. But, this addict mind hesitated…played out a couple of scenarios of how I might be able to grab something, use it in a controlled fashion, slip under the radar screen of probation. Really? Wow, I’m wired differently. Then, I applied the tools of my recovery – the ones I failed to apply when I relapsed last year. I played the tape through and reminded myself how ugly things had gotten. I replied, “Please delete my number and do not contact me again.” I prayed. I called my sponsor. I had a message from another addict (who called during the same meeting) who was in need of help – I called him back. I will share it with other addicts throughout this week to keep me honest. I am even writing this to keep me honest in a way and remind me that yes – it’s a real battle out there. But, if I apply 100% of the tools I’ve learned, 100% of the time – if I rely on my Higher Power because ultimately it’s not my strength that gets me through – if I’m vigilant in working this simple program on a daily basis – then yes – just for today, I can stay clean and sober.
Am I wired differently?
Am I a victim of that situation?