I have a copy of the following poem in my journal and I read it almost daily. It was written anonymously by an Native American Indian woman while she was in jail. Unfortunately, she died of a heroin overdose two years later, but her perfect description of the power of drug addiction still resonates with intensity. This was first given to me by my treatment counselor and the first time I read it, it shook me to my core. I still get chills from its raw truth. This described my life at the time to a T. Whenever I think I can’t remember the last time I used drugs, a memory that is one of many “musts” in the process of preventing relapse, this will bring it back to me with crystal clarity.
If you are an addict of almost any kind, nothing else has to be said. If you are a non-addict, especially one who has a family member or friend who is suffering from their addiction, please know that as chilling as these words are, they are not at all an exaggeration. Read this twice if you have to. The addicted one is not having as much fun as they may have you believe; they are not enjoying any aspect of their life at all, and in most cases, wish that life would cease rather than continue the way it is. Though the addicts imprisonment at the hands of their vice, that is nothing less than destructive, does cause the family and friends great distress, pain, anger, and resentment, no one suffers as much as the addict themselves.
I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, and that’s just the start. I’m more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold, the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold, and if you need me, remember I’m easily found. I live all around you, in schools and in town. I live with the rich, I live with the poor, I live down the street and maybe next door. My power is awesome; try me..you’ll see, but if you do, you may never break free. Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I’ll own your soul. When I possess you, you’ll steal and you’ll lie. You do what you have to just to get high. The crimes you’ll commit for my narcotic charms will be worth the pleasure you’ll feel in your arms. You’ll lie to your mom; you’ll steal from your dad. When you see their tears, you should feel sad. But you’ll forget your morals and how you were raised, I’ll be your conscience, I’ll teach you my ways. I take kids from parents, and parents from kids, I turn people from God, and separate from friends. I’ll take everything from you, your looks and your pride, I’ll be with you always, right by your side. You’ll give up everything; your family, your friends, your money, your home, and then you’ll be alone. I’ll take and take, till you have nothing more to give. When I’m finished with you you’ll be lucky to live. If you try me be warned this is no game. If given the chance, I’ll drive you insane. I’ll ravish your body; I’ll control your mind. I’ll own you completely; your soul will be mine. The nightmares I’ll give you while lying in bed, the voices you’ll hear from inside your head, the sweats, the shakes, the visions you’ll see; I want you to know, these are all gifts from me. But then it’s too late, and you’ll know in your heart, that you are mine, and we shall never part. You’ll regret that you tried me, they always do, but you came to me, not I to you. You knew this would happen. Many times you were told, but you challenged my power, and chose to be bold. You could have said no, and just walked away. If you could re-live that day, now what would you say? I’ll be your master; you will be my slave, I’ll even go with you, when you go to your grave. Now that you have met me, what will you do? Will you try me or not? It’s all up to you. I can bring you more misery than words can tell. Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell… ~Anonymous
The good news is, recovery is possible. The reality is, it is only possible if and when the addict wants and seeks it. We cannot be talked into, convinced, threatened, bribed, or begged to get the help we need. We have to discover for ourselves that the life of drugs and alcohol (or over-eating, or gambling, etc) is no life at all. We have to make the decision ourselves that a new life is necessary and believe it is attainable. The most successful of recovery program is the 12-step program, that if worked diligently, can and will break the cycle of active addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous was the foundation of all 12-step programs that came after, essentially the same, but tailored to the specific addiction in which it provides support and guidance. First and foremost, with a desire to quit using/drinking, followed by honesty with self and with others, a willingness to do whatever it takes, and an open mind, we do recover!
- Reflections of a Recovering Addict, #1 (onemindmanydetours.wordpress.com)
- Reflections of a Recovering Addict #3 (onemindmanydetours.wordpress.com)
- Overcoming Addiction (groupsolus.wordpress.com)
- Drug Addiction And The Family (tfollowers.com)