I have 7 months and 19 days clean which isn’t a lot but isn’t a little either. I’m at the point where I have built a life way too good to lose but am also feeling antsy at times, as most addicts do in some point of their recovery. We get into this normal adult routine and soon catch ourselves asking, “is this it?”
I’m not sure what we expect when we get sober. We invision ourselves at a normal person job, with our own place, paying our own bills but not comprehending that comes with a pretty set schedule everyday. My biggest theory on why people relapse with months or years clean is this shit right here. Routine. I wont say boredom because I’m definately not bored, I’m actually exhausted. And sometimes I get tired of that too.
Anyway, I started writing this post 9 days ago because at the moment, my brain was telling me it would be a good idea to go to where I used cop just to see what’s up. You know, see how everyones doing. Then, of course, I saw past my own bullshit real quick because I know if I’m down there I’ll get high so I asked myself, why?
My answer? Well, I’m coming up on 8 months heroin free. I have my own apartment. I pay my own bills. I have extra money in the bank. I have two cats. I have a girlfriend I adore. I work all day Monday – Friday and adventure through Chicago on the weekends. However, in the midst of all this, my twisted brain told me to go down to Pulaski just to feel something DIFFERENT. Different. That’s the word I came up with. That’s my answer. I wasn’t longing for the numbing effects of heroin, I wasn’t looking for that rush it sends through my body right after I shoot up, I literally just wanted something different and that’s the best thing my brain could come up with right then and there.
And for anyone who’s curious as to how my sobriety is so different than the past failed attempts is because, like I said, this thought came to me 9 days ago and I’m still sober today. You know those insanely sunny days where there isn’t a cloud in the sky except maybe a tiny one floating by itself in the distance but obviously not taking away any sunshine or causing a storm? Well it was like that. It was just a thought passing through my head and I didn’t allow it to have anymore power than that. I could never do that before. I always used to feed into it, obsess over it.
It’s okay to have a brief scene of nostaglia. It’s okay to have these thoughts because they’re inevitably going to happen. It does not mean your recovery is at stake, it just means your human. There is, however, a difference between a bad day and an emotional relapse. Thoughts are just thoughts until they become intentions and then actions. I mean, I’m reading over the part of this I wrote a week ago and not agreeing with some of it at all. I’m not antsy right now nor am I getting antsy. I was antsy. I was having a bad day. But the fact that I can dismiss those feelings entirely even a week after the fact shows that THOUGHTS ARE JUST THOUGHTS. Bad days are just days. Cravings are only temporary and in my case, extremely rare.
I have bad days as all people do. There are many times I have left work in tears or trying to collect myself and breathe. There are many nights my girlfriend and I have spent fighting and it’s gotten ugly. There have been days I miss Dominic so much it hurts. There have been weeks money was tight. But there have been only a very small handful of days in the past 8 months that my brain has, even for a split second, told me heroin was the solution.
I guess the main point of this post was supposed to be that relapse happens. It starts with your head but it can also stop there. You relapse emotionally days or even weeks before you physically go out and relapse. By my 6th sobriety date, I knew what my patterns were. I knew it was coming way before I was too far gone to stop it, I just didn’t care enough to try. I thought that since my head was already there, I might as well be too. But I had never had more than 4 months clean and now I’m almost to 8. I had never built myself back up like I did this time. I stayed stuck so relapse wasn’t much of a surprise. What always got me is when people with a year or more clean would relapse. It was always beyond humbling for me to see and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But now, from my seldom moments of sobrital (I’m sure that’s not actually aword but it is right now) weakness, I can see where it may stem from.
I just hope that anyone out there struggling to be stronger than their own head right now can see that your thoughts only have as much power as you allow them to and they will, like the clouds, pass.