What addiction sounds like

I wrote down what you said because you don’t hear me when I say it back to you. Your disease filters and warps so much of what gets in and what comes out. I wanted you to see it in black and white. I wanted to show you some truth.

The truth about who you are and what you are is beautiful.

The truth about where your addiction has taken you and where you are currently may be ugly, but those things do not define you. What you do next does. What we overcome and who we seek to become are our defining qualities.

You turn away from me because I reflect you. You see what is and what could be and the two just seem too far apart.

They’re not. They’re simply a series of good decisions and follow through. They’re not being alone with your fears. They’re manageable with support from kindred spirits. 24 hours at a time.

The space between you and I was created by your disease. It wants you to live in shame. The difference between your perspective and mine is that I know the truth – that shame doesn’t belong to you. Stop believing what those who hurt you the most taught you. You are a good person with a bad disease.

You talk like a person who’s trying to convince themselves that they’re ok. We both know you’re not.

I know what the disease of addiction sounds like. It sounds like every deflection, rationalization, justification, minimization, manipulation, bullshit story and every sweet sounding lie I’ve ever heard. It usually goes something like this:

“You know, I just need to get my shit together. I need to figure my shit out and keep doing the shit I’ve been doing. I just need to get my license back so I can get a job and get my own place and then I’ll be good again.”

Ok, but you had all those things before you lost all those things. You lost them cuz you went back to what you go back to when you start feeling again. You tell me you, “fucked up.” Don’t talk like that! You did some drugs. Your disease lied to you. It was only gonna be one time that turned into two times and the third time’s the real, “Fuck it.”

Stop saying “it.” Start saying, “me.” Stop saying “shit” and get down to specifics.

If we can’t say what it is then we cannot change it. If we don’t have accountability and the support of folks on similar journeys then we ain’t got shit.

I easily hold hope for you because I am not afraid to. You look at hope like it’s the scariest stuff imaginable. You try to live without it and then wonder why you’re depressed.  I want you to accept what hope really is. It’s an acronym: Hold On, Pain Ends.

Because I care about you I make you this promise – I will always tell you what I believe the truth is. I will speak it to you whether it makes you feel like a million bucks or an overdrawn account. Anything short of that is a waste of my time and yours.

I will gladly walk through hell with you, but I will not pretend. That’s not part of who I am anymore.

I can be real because I’m connected to real people and we love like nobody loves. Just like you, I didn’t believe I could have that. You can have everything I’ve got and more.

Just be real. Just show up and admit you’re scared. You won’t be telling us anything we don’t already know and then we can share with you the two most beautiful and spiritual words in the world:

Me too.

It’s infinitely better when we’re together. Folks like us just aren’t any good alone.

Like my brother Mike says, “I love and believe in you all.”

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.