12 August 2016
Greetings and welcome to the Butterfly Blog once again.
Since stopping smoking skunk I've struggled with not seeing old friends associated with my using. For example letting go of the person who deals to me because I also see them as a friend. Some might say I'm crazy for this. Perhaps they'd say that they are most certainly not a friend. Rather I'm merely business to them. Nothing more than a pay check, money! That this person is making a good living from the suffering of others, from my suffering. Some may feel very strongly about this. Yet I still struggle to let this person go, and maybe that's part of my powerlessness over the addiction. By holding on to people like this I'm also leaving the door open to using again. There is another friend we'll call this person A. This friend is an old dealer of mine who has substance dependency problems too. They no longer deal having left that business some time ago. A doesn't understand why I want to stop using as they believe cannabis is medicine for certain medical conditions, including the depression from which I suffer. This person has enabled my use of skunk for many years. I've avoided meeting up with them since stopping using skunk because I didn't feel strong enough in my resolve not to use to be around them, they were an unsafe friend, but I kept in sporadic touch via text messages. I've now been on my recovery journey for three months and A was pressuring me for a meet up. So I thought it would be okay to re-establish contact. I thought as they were no longer dealing anymore they would have no access to skunk and therefore I'd be safe. So I visited A...
We talked for a while and then the subject of addiction came up. One topic lead to another and A ended up offering me quite a large amount of free skunk because A said “I needed my medicine for my depression”. At the time I was surprised by this, in fact I was completely thrown by it. But in retrospect and in all honesty a small part of my addicted brain had thought, however improbable, that there was a very small chance of this happening, but I didn't take enough notice of this before meeting up with A. Was this a subtle motivation to meet up with them? The addiction demon is a dark and ruthless beast for sure. Now I understand the importance of checking my motivations for doing things because the addiction demon is a trickster and beguiles me into unsafe situations where there is a chance I will use, it had created a psychological trap. Maybe I was also testing myself, how foolish. Now I was in a very unsafe place. This offer immediately unsettled me. Part of me wanted the skunk so badly, but the other side of me knew it was a really bad idea. I was hugely conflicted. I could leave here with a good amount of skunk for nothing, but if I did the consequences would be bad. I had to leave, get some space so I could think as my brain had gone into melt down. So said I'd come back for it later or tomorrow. I could have said 'no!' and been honest with A about my recovery, I could have shut the door on it there and then but I didn't I left that door ajar. The addiction demon was hungry.
I went to the Living Room, a place of safety. I sat outside for a while drinking tea and deliberating on this offer and whether to talk to my peer support worker (PSW) about it. I thought if I didn't talk it over I would be in greater danger of using, but if I did I was probably going to have to listen to some uncomfortable truths that would help me to decide to stay clean. It was a fight over addiction v recovery, over what I needed for my well-being v what I wanted that would lead to ill health. I was in a state of great inner turmoil, conflict, indecisiveness, confusion and anxiety. I wanted to use but I needed to stay clean. Eventually I decided to reach out to my PSW, whom I trust and respect, and talk it over. My PSW never enables my addiction, they have always told it like it is, the straight uncomfortable but necessary truth, and in speaking to them about my dilemma they came through again for me with honesty, insight and wisdom. It was very difficult to hear what was said at it made me feel very uncomfortable due to the increasing intensity of the fight that was going on inside me. The addiction demon was getting its butt kicked and it didn't like it at all. My PSW very clearly and honestly told me what the consequences of my using would be. Each sentence my PSW uttered had great power in it and landed like a punch in the guts. “It'll make you mentally ill, depressed, anxious and paranoid” --- Punch! “It'll make you feel physically unwell for days, with heavy fatigue, diarrhoea and nausea” --- Punch! “You'll isolate yourself, hide away, sleep a lot, not eat well, not wash or get dressed or leave your home. This all fuels your mental illness” --- Punch! “You were suicidal three months ago, you thought you were in serious danger of killing yourself, that was because of the addiction – remember” --- Punch! “This is step one stuff. You're powerless over the addiction and when you use it makes your life unmanageable” --- Punch! “This is not a game. This is not a game. This is not a game.... --- Punch!
After I returned home I slept for a while. When I awoke I felt much calmer and clearer. My resolve, determination and courage not to use had grown. I felt more committed to my recovery again, the intense cravings to use had passed. I knew I wasn't going to take up the offer of free skunk, I was not going to use. I had with help beaten the demon and the dark-side would not win. This is a notable day for me as it is the first time I have successfully overcome some of the strongest cravings to use I have experienced. A really hard but positive experience for me.
However it is not the end of the tale and I will continue this story next time we meet at the Butterfly Blog....
Quote of the Week.
My recovery must come first so that all I love does not come last.