The Journey of Addiction and Life

The Journey of Addiction and Life

There is nowhere to get to the journey is all there ever is. There are those who will tell you that you must have a destination. I believe that if we are focused on a destination, we may become caught up in trying to get there and miss something or everything along the way.

Have you ever been on a trip with someone and wanted to stop for something whimsical and spontaneous? “Honey, stop at those caves. They look interesting.” And the reply is on the order of “We have a schedule to keep” or “We can’t stop now”? While knowing what you want or where you are going is necessary to achieve or reach the end, this is not a book about the end result. Let’s face it, on any voyage, you may know where you are going, but you have no idea what it will look like, how it will feel, or what it will be like when you get there.

The truth is that the journey is your life. There is nothing but your movement through time and events and circumstance and your experience of these. That’s all there is. When experience stops, you are dead. The end, in this case, is death.

This is what is meant by “there is nowhere to get to”.

Being Willing and Being Open

There is nothing more important than willingness. Without willingness, no desire will ever be met. We begin with being willing.

Being willing to what you may ask. Good, ask. What are you willing to be, do and have? You may begin with asking yourself what or how you are being, doing, having now? Does the answer inspire you?

I spent 24 years as a drug addict. The first thing that created change in my life was my willingness to change. It sounds simple and you may equate it with desire. Yet being willing brings something completely new to the table. Inside of willing there is desire and there is also hope.

Willingness implies a state of readiness that is absent in desire. Desire, akin to want, can be seen as a state of recognition that something is not present. Desire without willingness is being in a state of lack. It is simply a want. There is nothing wrong implied in willingness. Want implies that something is missing – that there is incompletion. Willingness does not infer that you are not already whole; in fact, it is a component of wholeness.

Being willing to accept change means being open to the being, doing, having of change, both as a process and as a continually new product. When I became willing to stop being addicted to drugs, I had no idea what it would be like not to use drugs. I had no idea what I would do to stop and to stay stopped; and when I had stopped, what I would do with my time. I had no clue and I was willing and open to the complete area of what I did not know.

This is what scares us; what we do not know. I do not mean the intellectual memory or cognitive process of understanding. I mean that unknown or unrecognized area that can be described as “the void”. That empty space where we no longer know ourselves. The way of being where we have given up our concept of self. This takes something. And this is the willing that I am talking about here. Being open to the concept that you are not how you think you are. It is not set in stone. The collection of roles that we play and how we play them do not define us. They are helpful perhaps in navigating the tasks of completing daily chores, but they only exist in the world of getting done, of finishing things.

Being willing and being open demand that we shed the cocoon of who we think we are and who we think others think we are. Most of us go through life seeing ourselves the way that we think others see us. This begins when we are very young. We see ourselves as we think our parents and the other adults who are important in our world see us. If we think we have done something that will make our parents, family or teacher proud of us, we are proud of ourselves. This is not the same as actually being proud of ourselves. It is being proud of ourselves by proxy. It is not our choice to be proud of ourselves we are dependent on someone else to give us permission.

This follows us through the years and we lose our self-concept of self. Some of us lose our concept of self so completely that we fall into codependent relationships (code for addiction), substance abuse (code for addiction), abusive relationships (code for addiction), obsessions with food (code for addiction), obsessions with achieving (code for addiction), etc… These are all just ways that we have seeking that same outside validation or permission to feel good; much like the way we learned when we were young.

To be open and willing means not judging what we find and we discover ourselves. After all, it is not fixed, it is not permanent. We are not finite. To say “I am this way” is to believe a lie. The lie is that you are this way and not that way. It is not true except that you have made it true because you believe it to be and therefore you create it daily. What if you gave all those opinions of yourself up threw them into the wind. Who would you be? You cannot know. To think you know means that you have not thrown all the opinions and judgments of who you already are to the wind as we said. To not know who you are is to live in the mystery of what it means to be. This is where the juice of life runs down your chin. This is what it means to be alive.

To not know who you are is to surrender your concept of self. This requires acknowledging that you have a concept of self. When you do this, when you examine this idea of what you are, you are confronting your ego. The ego is a wonderful tool in the world of getting things done. It is not very useful in a world of self-discovery. The ego will tell you “But I am this way. I have always been this way and everything is okay. I’m alive still. I am fine this way.” To live like you do not know frightens the ego. The ego must know.

Your ego is there to protect you. It is a tool to survive to get through this circumstance, situation, event. From circumstance to situation to event, we survive our life. Life does not have to be about surviving, it is about living. This is what the ego does not understand because to the ego, we survive our life. We cannot truly live our life if we already know; there would never be anything new.

I noticed in high school that I had not learned anything truly new for a long time. There were plenty of different ways to use the skills I had been taught in elementary school and to build on them, but there was nothing new. Scientists will tell you that almost all of what we think is memory. If it is memory, it cannot be new.

This is because the ego, in its concern for our survival, uses comparison to the past to judge each situation in our life and to dictate a response to the situation. We are living in a memory. It is no wonder that our experiences follow predictable paths. Predictable is good in a world of survival.

If we are willing to live in a world where we do not know and we are open to discovery, the ego will fight us. That is okay. This is the job of the ego. There is nothing bad or wrong with the ego’s concern for our survival. When we acknowledge and accept that we only think we are this way or that way, that it is only a memory of how we were yesterday and means nothing about how we can be today, we open a door. We can see that we are not really who we think we are. We can be new.

Post Discussion

  1. Addict

    I had a friend once who was in prison was put on drugs without his knowledge, before he knew he was on full swing. What I dont understand is arent the authorities responsible for such an atrocity on prisoners who were never on drugs and got on it because other inmates were drug users? Shouldn't such addicts be given full treatment for substance abuse or rather be succumbed to more ill treatment in the prison?

    But to end the story it was on his willingness and confidence to change his life forever that he is successfull person today. He is a completely new person today. He spend 5 years as a drug addict now he is a proud and successful business man.



    Addiction Recovery Idaho

  2. Addict

    people come to drug addiction,due to social contacts,friends,curiocity to know how it works [this happens in schools ],by accident due to trauma other painful illnesses when drugs are administered. The individual try to over use it may be due to individual idiosyncrasies. Normal people return to their normal life once the crisis is tided over. Others prone for addiction make use this and other associated matters like marital in congruency ,financial problem competition in life all contributing to drug dependence and this may be a way to escape from their problems,As told the,success of the attempt to bring them back to normalcy depends mainly their desire to quit te habit,as whatever treatment will become futile if this factor is lacking .

  3. Addict

    For nine years I watched the man I married struggle with drug abuse. I did not know how to help him or stop the pain he was inflicting on our family because of this disease. Instead I lived in isolation and suffered in shame. I struggled with pain and fear as I helplessly watched him destroy himself more and more each day.

    Taking on the pain and anxiety that he should have been feeling became a normal thing for me. Eventually I stopped living for myself and instead lived for someone who was not interested in his own life. I inevitably became an invisible casualty of addiction. I encourage those of you who have been in my shoes to share your experiences.

  4. Addict

    That was very relevant to me and gave me strength going forward in this battle withdrawing from Methadone.



  5. Addict

    This blog is very reflective and profound. I think it represents a place a lot of people strive for regardless of whether or not they are or were recovering from drugs. What has been said here shows a lot about the human condition and what we can all do to make it better.

  6. Addict

    I don't even know if this board is active or not. I have just got to "talk" to someone. I am alone, at home, and I am an Opiate pain medicine addict.

    I am trying to detox a little, waiting for my insurance company to pay for detox medication. I have about 2 weeks to wait. I am a mess. I can't even leave my house. All I can do is sit in my house and wait until I can take my next dose. My body is screaming for more. This is a hell I never thought I'd ever end up in.

    (I have had several surgeries this past year but I thought I had it under control. I love Opiates and hate them when I don't have enough of them which is now.)

    Blessings to anyone else who is suffering as well. People who have not been down this road do not see it from the "addict's" point of view. Everyone has the capacity to get addicted to something, that's what I believe. Some addictions are just more socially acceptable than others.

  7. Addict

    Your story was magnificent. My life is definitely a journey. Please email me.

  8. Addict

    Anybody anywhere any time can become addicted to drugs or alcohol. We are seeing this in the statistics.

    The way I beat it was to get Treatment, and then fill my life with positive interesting activities which fulfilled my sense of worth. Not to mention having a mother who prayed for me every day.

  9. Addict

    I have been taking Xanax for 22 years now. I want to quit again, it's been 2 days without any Xanax this time around. I have been planning quiting Xanax for about 3 weeks. I am going to see a doctor tomorrow, I hope he understands just a little bit about addition.

    Reading those comments posted here are inspirational. I like the story about the Journey of Addition and Life. You write so well. This will be my journey and I want to come out on the other side but I know I need help and to date I have not been able to get the help I need.

    Please God, I ask for your Strength and guidance. I hope I can write a year from now and write that I had made it and become clean from today Jan. 31, 2010. 22 years after my son was born, I asked my OB/GYN for something to help with being anxious and hence he gave me Xanax. 2 years after he prescribed Xanax to me I asked him every few years about it and he always told me that when I didn't need them I would stop taking it. Well that never happened. I will be back and write again about my experience.
    Thanks for listening........

  10. Addict

    I am doing a research paper on "Drug Counseling".
    I never thought it would be so hard to find information on it. Especially because of how serious it is today.

    This website is a great tool and it is helping me out a lot. I have never done any type of drugs and never will. If you have any information on becoming a Drug Counselor, can you please inform me.
    Thanks, Teshara Pulley

  11. Addict

    I read the article above about being. Strangely, I was just looking at myself yesterday, and seeing my moral character and what I thought of ways other people perceive me. I am changing (59, been unemployed for over a year from a high level sales position.

    I realize I cannot ever do that again; to be willing to be another person just for money and status, the desire is gone. I sold myself. But our society here in America demands that we achieve, we need lots of money just to survive as we have been trained by our society. How do we change, and give up all that ego stuff? It is my security, I have never liked being out of control of my situation.

  12. Addict

    People especially teens want to try drugs out of curiosity. After they are addicted to the drug, some teens try other kinds with their friends.

    Parents need to educate their children about drugs. They need to teach them the disadvantages of drugs. They need to get them the right help if they do abuse them too.

    Also, don't humiliate your children, treat them good and motivate them towards the beautiful aspects of life.

  13. Addict

    What an outstanding story. I can only imagine how many people who are battling addiction that you will help by sharing your experience.

    People need to realize the trapping of this society that we live n today. It's so easy to get caught up and succumb to drugs and alcohol.

  14. Addict

    This is a life changing moment!
    It is not uncommon for an alcoholic or addict to be admitted to one of our treatment facilities totally defeated, devoid of hope, denial washed away, resigned to finishing out their remaining time in a chemically soaked haze. We know this as the bottom, not the end, but a starting point, a place where most addicted people need to get before a life of sobriety is possible. We are accustomed to seeing loss of hope and resignation in individual people and know what to do to help.?

  15. Addict

    This is very helpful. Good treatment is not fueled by the mind. It is fueled by the heart. Good treatment is not necessarily complex and intellectual. The process can be incredibly simple (though elegant). Good treatment is, however, extraordinarily difficult to provide every day. That is because good treatment requires that those who provide it consistently bring great energy, great commitment, great attention and great love to their work every day. And the nature of teams is that frequently when one team member falters so does the entire team. It is also the nature of love that it doesn't matter much if those providing treatment have a general love of the alcoholic and addict.

  16. Addict

    I have had a very serious problem for over 10yr. I give known that I need help for far too long I am scared that it will affect my 4 children "like this doesn't already". I deal with my issues OK but I know I need help but the kicker is if I truly sought treatment who would watch my kids. I don't have anyone to ask second I would leave treatment to return right back where I was a couple weeks ago. It's not as if I can just pick four kids up and move away from the only family I have which by the way is 3 adults we won't count kids I just don't know what to do. I know mostly I am talking myself out of seeking help also I am scared that seeking help will end with somehow me losing my kids because I want help but what if I mess up which is likely possible then can they tell on you to DFS or something for using and get them involved .. I really am lost.

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