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4 Ways I Healed From the Blame and Shame of Addiction

For many years I was an alcohol and drug addict. It all started when I was just a little kid, only nine years old. I was a very curious but shy kid. My parents have always been very social, cheerful people, so there was always a party going on at my house. I had been wondering about how alcohol worked. The adults in my family always seemed a lot happier after they had drunk a couple of glasses. I remember I asked my mom for a sip once, but she gave me a stern lecture. This lecture only made me more curious, so one night, at a family party, I snuck a bottle from the kitchen while the adults were busy. I took the first sip, it tasted terrible and burned my throat but nothing happened, so I kept drinking until I got drunk. I loved how it made me feel like I was less shy, less awkward. From that moment on I drank every chance I got, managing not to get caught.

As a teenager, I started experimenting with drugs. First, it was marijuana, but then I got hooked on more hardcore drugs. At 23 I got sentenced to 2 years in prison for substance-related charges. I hit rock bottom. I was suffering from anxiety and depression, blame and shame were the only two emotions I was able to feel at the time.

There’s a harsh stigma around drug and alcohol addiction. Most people don’t realize it’s a disease, they associate it with poor morals and a lack of willpower. The consequences of addiction, such as broken relationships and lost opportunities are seen as their fair punishment. I took responsibility for what I did. I know it was wrong and I paid my sentence. But I had to deal with a lot of judgment, which only made me more depressed, thus making me crave drugs even more.

While I was in prison another inmate told me the story of how he lost everything and everyone he cared about due to his addiction. I decided I wouldn’t let it happen to me. As soon as I was let out of prison I checked into a rehab center. It was a tough process, but it helped me heal both physically and psychologically. I was finally able to let go of the feelings of blame and shame that overwhelmed me for so long. This is why I want to share something with you: 4 Ways I Healed From the Blame and Shame of Addiction.

Courage

Making the decision to get clean, getting through detox and withdrawal, and getting out into the world after completing my treatment were things that required me channeling every last drop of courage I had in my body. Addiction brings shame, as we talked about before, and with shame comes fear. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it. I was afraid of not being able to endure the pain. I was afraid of what people would think. Nevertheless, …