You’re hollow. You have no control. You feel pain, but you’ve gotten so used to it by now that it’s become your new normal. Friends have left you. Family is leaving. Work is all but a distant dream, because you can’t even bring yourself to concentrate on something else long enough to be halfway productive.
For many of us, this was the very scary reality of addiction. Perhaps we initially thought that picking up that substance for the first time would give us some relief from the pain we’d been dealing with. Maybe we thought that if we only took a sip, a sniff, or a shot, everything that was wrong would go away. Maybe we just wanted to forget, and the substance of our choice helped us do just that. Only it didn’t stop there. One drink led to two, one dose to another. We started to like the substance, or at least like what it did to us. Heck, who are we kidding? We didn’t like it– we loved it. We loved the euphoria we experienced. We loved throwing our inhibitions to the wind. We loved pretending, even if it was only temporarily, that our problems didn’t exist.
Then it started to take over.
They started slowly at first, almost innocently– the cravings. A little more of this, a little more of that. More time “at work” and less time with family. Using a little money from the savings account wouldn’t hurt right? After all, it was for emergencies, and we hadn’t had any emergencies in years. It would be okay. Before we knew it, we had no control over it. What we had enjoyed had turned into a habit, and that habit into an addiction. We were hooked, and couldn’t find a way out.
Somehow, however, we did. Maybe it was that family member who kept telling us we needed help. Maybe it was the day we forgot our only child’s name because that’s how out of our mind we were. Maybe it was when we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that we had truly hit rock bottom. However it happened, it happened. We landed in a treatment facility, and in that moment, we knew just one thing: we had been blessed with a second chance.
Making the most of a second chance
Addiction treatment asks us to do two things– both of which are described in The Big Book. These two things transcend all types of treatment, and are completely universal.
First, we must admit that we are utterly powerless over addiction. Addiction is not our fault, it does not define us, and it did not happen to us because we aren’t good people. It is an illness, a disease that knows no color, gender, or age. It affects twelve year olds and eighty-two year olds. If it was something we could control, we would have stopped it long ago.
Secondly, we must agree that addiction can be cured. Though it is an illness of the mind, it is not terminal, and it can be resolved with the help of professionals and a willing mindset. The process to rid ourselves of addiction is methodical, as with any other illness. In short, it begins with diagnosing what caused our addiction, then addressing the spiritual malady within, and finally taking action steps to fix that malady.
Making the most out of our second chance means viewing every day as an opportunity. Even in the early days of addiction treatment, pioneers of Alcoholics Anonymous understood what an incredible opportunity treatment presented for them: “Many could recover if they had the opportunity we have enjoyed” (There is a Solution, page 119). We have an incredible gift in treatment. To be able to recover from our illness in the company of others facing similar situations, at the instruction of many who have been through what we’re going through before, and in an environment that fosters collaboration, unity, and solutions is not something to take lightly. Out of the darkness, addiction treatment stands as a light for us.
Making the most out of our second chance also means doing our part in the treatment process. This may sound like a record on repeat, but the importance of effort and attitude in treatment cannot be overstated. (There’s a reason why the two words are mentioned 75 times in the 164-page Big Book). Addiction treatment is a guide for us, and provides us with the tools we need to take back our lives and say goodbye to addiction for good, but it cannot cure us on its own. There isn’t a magic pill that we can take in order to no longer be addicted. Treatment is hard work, and the more we put into it, the more we’ll get out.
Finally, making the most of our second chance means that after we’ve conquered addiction, we should act as a beacon of light for others that are struggling. Our story of treatment isn’t something we should keep to ourselves. Sharing it with others who need to hear it allows us to do our part to rid our world of addiction, one person at a time. As the Big Book says, we are to “carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles [what we’ve learned] in all our affairs.” Our second chance doesn’t stop after we graduate from treatment. It’s still just beginning.
Thrive Treatment is an outpatient addiction treatment center in Santa Monica, California. With a number of programs designed to cure addiction for good, we have something for everyone looking for help. Your second chance can start today. There’s no need to wait. Call us right now at (888) 975-8474!