BY: Marc McMahon
For me, the addiction inside me breeds while I sleep and it’s a horrible monster I keep it on a leash. It pesters and festers and jesters and moans just trying to make me lose all control. It doesn’t care about me or anybody else, he’s a selfish s.o.b. who only cares about himself!
That is my reality on the daily. You know the disease of addiction that many of us suffer from is unlike most diseases. We suffer from a disease for which there is no known cure. If you look at the struggle that many addicts have trying to get something that resembles long-term recovery, then you might agree with me that there’s really not even a very successful treatment regime for it either.
Inside of me lives a horrible beast, who whenever he thinks he has an opportunity to get me to do anything anti-recovery he lets his voice be heard. It’s not an audible voice mind you, but he will shoot a thought into my mind in a nano-second if he thinks he has a chance to derail my recovery in any way. The most difficult thing in battling my monster is that he knows me as well, if not better than I know myself. I find that very frightening.
My grandmother always used to tell me when I was little that no one knows you like yourself, Marc. Until I was 26 years old and found myself addicted to crack cocaine, I believed that. Today, though, I know that is no longer the case. I can believe it to be true for all who don’t suffer from the disease of addiction, but not for those who do.
At least not for those who suffer from the disease at the level I suffer from it at!
It was like today for instance. I am taking the twenty-minute walk or so from the local library downtown towards my house. Just enjoying the sounds of the birds and the sights of my new neighborhood, In this town, I moved to just seven months ago. I am strolling down the street minding my own business with three crisp $20 bills perfectly folded in my wallet. The money I had just acquired from selling a bicycle I no longer had a use for. When out of nowhere the monster inside me drops a thought into my mind.
“$10 on video poker would be fine”.
Out loud I immediately replied, “now there’s a brilliant idea asshole!!” Speaking to my addiction of course. Where I live the video poker machines are all located in establishments that serve alcohol and even though my drug of choice is methamphetamine he knows, (my addict that is.) That from past experience if he can trick me into believing I am strong enough in my recovery to go to those places just to gamble and not to drink. Given enough time he will also eventually be able to convince me that since I have been clean off meth awhile, that surely a drink wouldn’t hurt.
After all, it’s not even my drug of choice. Once that happens he knows he has got me again because I won’t stop with that first drink. No way, I can’t, I’m an addict and addicts just don’t have one drink! I continue to drink not till drunk mind you, hell no. Would not want to spend to much cash on alcohol when subconsciously meth is what this is really about.
I drink just long enough to catch a buzz to the point of feeling good. To that point where my body is warm and relaxed and my inhibitions have been set free. To That point, where I can then in good conscious, (or that’s how it feels anyways.) Finally, justify going to just buy a $20 bag of meth rewarding myself for being clean and sober this long.
Rewarding myself for my new life and all I have accomplished. Rewarding myself, for mending all those shattered relationships and for regaining all the personal property my addiction had stolen from me during my last using episode. Sounds crazy huh?
You should try living it!
Then out loud, because when I am out and about or just not around people I combat his thoughts with my replies out loud, which he seems to respect more than when I try and refute him with just my thought inside my head. The funny thing is, sometimes when I think no ones around and I swiftly reply to him aloud there is someone within an earshot that hears me, and immediately they will look at me and shake their head with the look like. “Oh well must just be one of the local crazy’s out for an afternoon stroll.”
I take a few more steps and begin to start laughing and talking to myself aloud, I say “now isn’t that a bitch. A guy is trying to do right and he’s constantly got this asshole inside him trying to kill him” and I smile, shake my head, and take my happy smiling self safely home. Victorious, knowing it, proud of myself, and rightfully so. Once home, I reward myself with a fresh batch of homemade tacos with all the fix-ins and I sit down at the table and eat. The whole time patting myself on the back for a job well done!
You may not see the need for my celebration meal, but I do. Today I beat the monster inside me and kept him on his leash. As a matter of fact, every little victory like this gives me more strength. Every little victory like this tightens the hold my leash has around my monsters neck. Every little victory like this builds my belief that maybe this is the time when my recovery will stick. It builds my character and my self-esteem and if I celebrate with too many tacos to often, it will, unfortunately, build my waste-line too.
So as I finished my third celebration taco (and they were fabulous by the way). I began to realize that what had just happened to me was an example of recovery 101 at it’s finest. My recovery isn’t one big fierce battle I must win all at once in order to be successful. No, quite the contrary. My recovery is keeping a clear head. Staying in control of my emotions and beating my monster one thought at a time on a daily basis.
If I can do that, I can stay clean! If I can do that for the next twenty-four hours, I can stay clean for one more day. Each day clean is a battle well fought. Each day clean is another day that I am breathing, in hopes my experience with this will be able to help someone else who is new to the fight.
The minutes will eventually turn to hours. The hours will turn to days, and the days will turn to months. It is a fight to the finish, a no holds barred cage fight, where any weapon available can be used. A vicious melee of good v.s. evil on a daily basis all in the name of recovery. When I graduated high-school I had no plans of joining the military,
I have definitely become a soldier!!
About the Author: Marc is a 48-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!