Sometimes we think that addiction is the stereotype presented to us in movies. We see the husband that suddenly goes bankrupt and his beautiful wife leaves him. So he is left in the gutter with stubbles and a bottle of Jack.
We also see the drug addict as the person with one too many tattoos, portrayed as scarily gaunt, getting their money from shady business and spending their weekends at raves.
These stereotypes are not what addiction usually looks like.
Many addicts are high-functioning. Addiction is incredibly common amongst CEOs and people who need to keep up the pace of a life that is based on money, power and relentless ambition. Someone who is high-functioning will still have a job, maintain relationships and have their money matters in order.
The high-functioning addict will appear to have their life together.
The stereotype of an addict is toxic, because it allows those of us who are struggling with addiction to slip into denial. We think things are not that bad yet. We don't really have a problem. When in fact, we do have a problem.
But no one likes to face their inability to deal with emotions, existentialism and life decisions.
It is always easier for us to pretend they don't exist, or that we just don't care. And that we are certainly not addicts. If we struggle with the concept of addiction and find ourselves explaining why we do NOT have a problem - well, we probably do.
Things we suppress do not go away.
Addiction only gets worse over time - it leaves us in a state of lethargy, carelessness, distrust and despair. We then require more stimuli to eradicate this sense of hopelessness and so the circle goes on and on and on - until we reach the bottom and die, commit suicide OR make a decision that we have finally had enough. That there must be another way of living life than what we have done so far.
We choose to take a leap of faith in that we were not put on this earth to self-destruct.
We choose to believe that there is a reason why we are here, and even though most of our life may have been built around painful experiences, we choose to believe that we develop character through every hurt, rejection, wound etc.
We choose to give in and mold, rather than resist and stay rigid.
Our choices are the main thing that separate us. Our choice of how we view things, interpret events and how we choose to react in turn. There is nothing we go through that another person has not already been through. So what outcome do we want? Only when we get really clear about our wanted outcome in life, our goals and the consequences of each choice we make, will we move beyond our current comfort zone of self-destruction and self-deception.