From Chapter Two of the book
How to Quit Drugs for Good
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Your Own Special Struggle
“Some of us might find happiness if we
would quit struggling so desperately
Drug use involves you in a struggle—one part of you going one way, one part of you going another. You fight with yourself. And you fight with the drugs to get what you want. The reason? Drugs help you, but they hurt you, too. Your thrills tonight become high blood pressure, headaches, nausea, and regrets tomorrow.
But using is a challenge. And challenges are fun, right? Drugs challenge you to get the benefits they bring while finding ways to avoid the problems. Hey, it’s not easy! You try not to get too wiped out here, not to make a fool of yourself there. It’s a full-time job. You work hard at it. You juggle your schedule to fit as much of your favorite drug into your life as possible. You find novel ways to handle withdrawals. With some drugs, this becomes a monumental struggle as withdrawals get worse and worse. If you’re responsible for making money, you make an extra effort to get to work on time. You try not to get high on the job, or else not to get too high. Sometimes you feel completely helpless. Often you endure a lot of pain.
You would think that, if drugs cause such a struggle, it would be easier to quit. And indeed it would be but for the fact that most of us get completely involved with the struggle itself, so much so that it becomes our own personal life struggle, the inner story of our lives. And of course we grow to like it. Here are some reasons we get attached to the struggle of addiction:
- It’s a challenge.
- It gives us a sense of involvement.
- It’s like a game—we play hard and try to win.
- Like the concept of “no pain, no gain,” sometimes we need to feel as if we’re suffering before we can have a good time.
- It gives us something to complain about.
- It requires strength to keep it up—so it shows how tough we are.
- It’s like an adventure—every time we use, we don’t know where it will lead.
You might like the addictive struggle for any, or for all, of these reasons. Most of us get involved in our struggles for many different reasons, and we might even have different reasons on different days.
“You gotta be tough,” Lenny used to say as he passed his favorite mirror containing deftly divided lines of coke. Then he would insist, “Here, blow one of these. It builds character.”
He was serious, in a joking sort of way, but it’s true. Doing drugs does build character. The “drug-addicted character” deals with a deeper life struggle than most people can handle. It’s an intense struggle, requiring a great deal of energy.
You feel this struggle every day. You live hard. You go for all the thrills you can get. And even though you look beat most of the time, and even though you feel exhausted, you continue.
But slowly, over time, you begin to lose it no matter how tough you are. Granted, you might continue fighting on the surface, but the drugs keep hurting you inside. Sometimes it feels as if you’re fighting for your very life. And, deep down, this is actually what’s happening.
The drugs begin destroying your organs faster than your body can repair them. Your drug use starts a disease process in your body and so you begin to have more and more serious illnesses. In a way, it’s as if you’re deliberately reminding yourself of death so that the life you feel is a true exhilaration.
This requires strength to keep it up. But ultimately you must surrender. You must surrender by giving your life to drugs, or you must surrender by quitting the drugs.
If you choose to quit, you’ll find something else to challenge you, something else to give you a sense of involvement—something to work on or spend your time on or something more interesting to struggle with. This book will help you. Here, you’ll discover dozens of exciting, workable alternatives—alternatives that will be more thrilling, bring more rewards, and allow you to be a greater success in your life.