For many, many years I have been trying to cover my mental health symptoms with substances.

Especially my psychosis.

Alcohol, pills, anything that I could get my hands on.

I was in rehab about 10 years ago, and I remember talking in a group session about how I never thought I’d really hit rock bottom because I’ve never done IV drugs.

The therapist that day chuckled and said, well, how many things have you put up your nose?

That shut me up.

I get it, I get it.

I’m no better or worse than anyone else who was there, or ever will be there.

I am an addict.

I’m in recovery, but I’m still an addict.

I have to seriously watch myself.

Even with things as simple as food.

I overindulge because I can’t stand how I normally feel.

So, for just a fleeting moment, I can hide my darkness.

But it doesn’t ever really help.

My misery is still there.

My mind is still working against me.

I’ve been “clean” for a long time now.

But, according to NA, there’s not always a gray area.

Some folks in the program even consider prescription medicine as using.

And if that’s the case, I’ll never be “clean”.

So, I don’t talk about meds anymore.

Granted, that was ten years ago and things change.

I do understand that logic, but I don’t agree with it.

It’s very hard to stay clean.

Very, very, hard to not cover up my symptoms anymore.

I absolutely have to take life one day, and sometimes, one hour at a time.

I catch myself longing for something to cover up myself with.

To cover up my guilt for being so ill for so many years.

But, a sustainable addiction isn’t an option.

I will instantly crash and burn.

I will instantly be fully engulfed again.

So, I’m pretty sure this is part of why I don’t talk to people as much right now.

Not strangers at least.

Because the conversation will get into me seeking any and everything they may have or know about, and I can’t do that anymore.

I know myself a little better now.

I actually don’t want to fuck up anymore.

As I think about it, I think that is a main fear of mine – messing everything up again.

Especially right now.

I can not go back to old behaviors, no matter how much I want to, just because they’re familiar.

That will do the opposite of helping me.

So, I stream tv, and write, and listen to music..

I’m good at bugging my dog too.

For the moment, maybe even the day, I’m good.

But I’m on edge constantly.

This is why I hate when people ask me when I am quitting my cigarettes.

My Camels are not the best thing, right?

But I’ll tell ya right now that it’s better than worrying about the next high.

And that’s good enough for me today.

I’m at the best point I can remember being at in my adult life.

And that’s amazing.

Addiction issues will always be with me.

I honestly don’t believe people who say they’re cured from addiction.

I personally don’t believe that to be possible.

It takes me unbelievable amounts of willpower to not use throughout every day.

Every single day.

I think about it all the time.

Granted, some days are better than others.

But remaining clean is absolutely a daily struggle for me.

I started using when I was a teenager – I was still in high school.

I would cut class almost everyday and would engulf myself with substances.

I hated myself.

I hated life.

I hated how no one understood me.

I had a very hard time adjusting to the mental illnesses that were taking over.

Anyone would have a hard time with that.

But subconsciously, I began to sweep everything under the rug.

So much so that when I picked the rug up after rehab in 2011, I was instantly covered in my own shit.

It was so thick I stayed in NA for years after getting clean.

It helped me so much to sit at the tables and just bitch about everything on my plate.

I’ll always be grateful for NA even though I very rarely attend meetings anymore.

I think about them quite often – it’s nice to know it’s there.

I feel like most people who have mental illness use substances to protect themselves from their mind.

To escape.

It’s seemingly easier to be high than feel.

Even though getting high is a full time job and then some.

Many people don’t understand the difference between being a criminal and being an addict.

Legally speaking, they’re pretty much one in the same.

But that’s not accurate.

Not even close.

So many people, like me, don’t understand why they are in so much unbearable internal pain.

They don’t understand that void that needs to be filled.

They say they do, but until a drug has such a tight hold around your own throat, they won’t get it.

It’s not something to just stop.

It’s something to overcome.

It’s a deeply rooted angsty sadness that will take over if it’s not fed with something.

That’s what it comes down to, huh?

Covering everything up.

Feeling something other than thick desperation.

I’ve seen some of the statistics of people who use and people that are severely mentally ill.

The data doesn’t lie.

There’s a huge correlation.

The weight of having mental health issues can push someone over the edge.

I spent most of my life trying to escape.

And now I’m learning to cope without substances.

When I was in the hospital this year, I noticed they kept using the word “recovery”.

I have never heard that used for mental health work and progress before.

But, I like it.

To me the word recovery was only used to describe life after substances.

But, recovery is multilayered.

My current goal is to never find myself in the place that I was.

I understand that what I deal with is messy and complicated.

I know that I’m unable to control another psychosis episode or reality break when it surfaces.

But, I’m hoping to stay in recovery, like I have been this summer.

I hope to be able to bounce back and recognize my symptoms quicker.

I hope to not crave substances anymore because I’m finally starting to get the help and medicine I need.

– Keren

4 responses to “Addiction”

  1. From what I know about addiction, a lot of people say that if you’ve ever been an addict you will always have a mind of one at least to an extent. I think it’s something you always need to work on. However, I do hope that it gets easier over time.

    Liked by 1 person

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