This is my writing at the time I was starting on my road to recovery from alcoholism. It has been a road that has spanned many years, of recovery, relapse, and recovery again. This last, and I hope final stage of recovery has been two years in the making…
Addiction – Escape
Are you an addict? Do you know if you might be an addict?
Let me ask you a few simple questions:
1.) Do you look forward to using your drug of choice (which includes alcohol, food, sex, gambling, the internet, etc.)?
2.) Would you rather use your drug of choice than spending time with people?
3.) Do you plan your schedule around using your drug of choice?
4.) Has your drug of choice affected your personal relationships?
5.) Has your drug of choice affected your arrest history?
6.) Once you start using your drug of choice, is it difficult to moderate or stop using?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be an addict.
However, what I would really like to discuss here is the escapism brought about by the drug which you use (and choose) – most likely, to escape day-to-day living.
Do we use to escape? If so, what do we escape from? Do we use a mind-altering substance — or even a substance which does not alter our mind — to escape reality, that is, to escape what happens to us in our daily life? Does getting drunk, buzzed, or high allow us to escape to another reality – a “reality” that we would like more than that which is in front of us? An addiction does not even have to be with a mind-altering substance. An addiction can be with any substance, or behavior, which keeps us from confronting our life, as it is, day-by-day.
Have we ever considered that, perhaps, God put these difficulties in front of us in order to learn, in order to grow? Are we negative about all challenges put before us, or can we think that maybe, just maybe, these challenges were put in front of us in order to learn, and to grow, as a human being?
Escapism is not necessarily a bad idea if it involves riding an amusement park ride, escaping
into the eyes of a child, escaping into a good book, or escaping into a beautiful sunset (to name but a few positive escapes). But if our escapism is constant and regular, and interferes with our daily life, we may be an addict. If we think that we might be an addict, maybe we should try one of the many 12-step programs out there, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, or Gamblers Anonymous. Or maybe we could seek help through other mindful approaches, or where I am now, the New Life Foundation, whose approach I have found works for me.
There is help. We need only admit that we’re an addict, and then perhaps we can get better. But without this admission, the gutter and the toilet are always calling our name, every millisecond, of every day.