The longer I stay sober (almost 6 months!!), the more self awareness I have about my addiction and why I got so caught up in this self destruction cycle for so long. I realized this week that it wasn't necessarily taking pills and getting high that made getting high so good. I realized there were actually three highs that I chased...
FIRST- The high of walking out of my Dr's office with a whole new prescription for my drug of choice. Also, walking out of Walgreens with a huge bottle of my favorite pills. This high was exciting for me. The adventure of manipulating my way to pills and being successful at my goal. I don't miss this high at all. Honestly, at the end of the day, I knew this manipulative behavior didn't sit well with who I really am and what I want in this life. This was major cognitive dissonance between who I am and what my behaviors were. After this high wore off..I would take the pills to feel better about my behaviors and feelings about what I was doing compared to who I really was and what I felt. That leads to the second high.
The SECOND high was the act of taking the pills and feeling the euphoria. Sometimes when I was high on the right combination of chemicals, I felt invincible. I felt like I was finally free from the negative voice in my head that would tell me I wasn't good enough. I was able to successfully escape from my reality and take a break for a few hours or even a day or week. The biggest thing that this would do for me was take me out of my head. When I get bored, I do not usually go to a good place. My mind spins and I can get really depressed or really anxious if I don't check myself and reinforce positive thinking patterns. Self medicating was the only way I knew how to deal with my thoughts, feelings, loneliness, boredom, perfectionistic behaviors, heart break, etc. I am so glad that now I don't feel the need to escape my own head. I am overall generally happy with myself and my life. Of course I still have a long ways to go, but now I can spend time alone and not get depressed or anxious like I used to. I can lay in bed at night and my mind doesn't race with intense thoughts and feelings anymore. I actually really don't miss this high either, except when I get bored and just want to lose track of time. Other than that...it's actually suuuuper nice to remember my days.
The THIRD high is the high that I realized I miss the most. When I was using, I was a big binger. I would walk the line between life and death too often. I was a very high risk user. Usually this was because I built up such a tolerance, that I would just pop pills like candy and chasing a better high than before. I would start swallowing tens of pills at a time because I was so high that I didn't even remember that I had just taken ten pills an hour before. I would black out for weeks at a time sometimes and still have no memory from those weeks. This is where the last high comes in- once I would come out of this near death binge, I would have a restored belief that life was awesome and I wouldn't take anything for granted because I was lucky to be alive. The week after a big binge was the biggest high of all for me. This is because I had just survived a risky over dose, and had a renewed sense of who I wanted to become and how I wanted to live. The scary part about this is that once this euphoric feeling that life was rad wore off and the boredom or depression would set in...the whole cycle would begin again.
As I was talking about this with my super rad therapist, we discussed ways to incorporate those feelings of the third high in a productive way. You don't have to almost die to have a positive outlook on your life. Sometimes, just reminding yourself where you have been and who you want to become in the big picture is motivating enough. Life isn't always exciting and I get bored really easily...which is why I would chase the third high more than anything. BUT, there is so much to live for, be grateful for, experience, and enjoy in this life that sometimes we need to sit back and remember that. Remember that it is all worth it. The hard times are necessary. The good times don't have to expire. Sometimes, you need to learn to be okay by yourself and sit in your own head and be okay.
So there's my soap box thoughts for you this week. Love life. Love eachother. Love God....
And Most Importantly, LOVE YOURSELF!