The Gift of Drug Addiction Recovery

No one ever says, "When I grow up I want to be a drug addict." As for myself, I recall my mother using that term and I had not a clue as to what she was talking about. I could not conceive of the idea that a person could not control his behavior. Becoming an addict was the furthest thing from my mind.

The Harsh Reality of Drug Addiction

Flash forward 15 years from then and there I was, stuck in a vicious cycle of using drugs and bipolar disorder. I did not have a clue how this could have happened. There are a variety of factors that typically contribute to a person becoming a drug addict. Initially I simply wanted to be a part of the “in” crowd. I was always looking for a way to be accepted by my peers.

It didn’t take long for my addiction to take hold. Before long, I found myself craving the drug more and more. I also began to engage in behaviors to get my drug – things I previously never would have done. Risk-taking behaviors such as stealing and going into strange houses to cop, were both regular parts of my drug using repertoire and are not uncommon for drug addicts.

A Way Out Through Addiction Treatment

As my addiction progressed, I was admitted to an outpatient drug treatment program. At first, I resented being there. After all, I didn’t have a problem (or so I thought). My first counselor was incredibly ineffective, so much that I recall attending a group counseling session under the influence. Eventually, I got a new counselor with whom I felt I could relate. It was through this therapeutic relationship that I eventually turned the corner and gained a measure of insight into my disease.

But putting down the drug was just the first step. I had to start to look at my past behaviors and recognize that many, if not most, of my actions were formed by a degree of self-centeredness. It was all about ME!!! I had to acknowledge that the world does not revolve around Karl (which I still have to remind myself).

When I am able to look at myself and acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects of myself, then the healing can begin. This takes time. I didn’t become addicted in one day, this is true, so I cannot expect to recover overnight. Addiction recovery is a journey – one of the greatest gifts one can ever receive.

Have you received this gift?

APA Reference
Shallowhorn, K. (2012, June 18). The Gift of Drug Addiction Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC

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