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Debunking Addiction

Do you fear addiction recovery? During my active addiction, I feared everything. Fear was the driving emotion in my life. I was afraid of an unknown future and was most afraid of becoming sober. I'd become comfortable in my mess and just the thought of anything different frightened me. The fear of addiction recovery hid itself in my untruths.
Sponsorship during addiction recovery is one of the tenets of 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many who have gotten, and remained, clean and sober have done so with the help of a sponsor guiding them through the process of recovery. While it has proven to be an effective tool in 12-step circles, some wonder whether sponsorship in addiction recovery is really an important element.
A power greater than you can help with our addiction. A good example of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. That describes my addiction to a T. Of course, I knew that my actions caused myself and others great harm and yet I repeatedly chose those actions, thinking this time the result would be different. My life had become unmanageable and my very best efforts to abstain failed miserably. But once I acknowledged a power greater than me, God broke my addiction cycle and set me free.
At times, I feel a certain stigma of addiction when I tell people that I have been to rehab for addiction to alcohol. It’s something that really bothered me in early sobriety because, even then, I saw going to rehab as a positive thing that was done to improve a person’s life. I know that when I went to rehab for alcohol abuse treatment, it was because I truly wanted to change my life and fix the mess that I was in. So, when I was met with stigma about going to rehab, it made me angry and frustrated. Since that time, I have continued to be very open about my alcoholism and my recovery, and I have learned some ways to get over the stigma of addiction.
My lack of emotional maturity during my active addiction caused me to stuff down my feelings. Thinking, “I have to feel my feelings?” caused me great fear when I started sobriety. Whenever I started working through a 12-step program, dealing with emotions felt like opening a closet door with a big, scary monster inside of it. The scary monster was all the feelings I’d stuffed in there, during the decade I used. I was emotionally immature and didn’t have tools to handle the ups and downs of life. Getting drunk or high was my response to every feeling. For example, if you made me angry, I would get "drunk at you" for revenge. It really was as silly and self-destructive as it sounds. I was so scared of that monster, my emotions in the closest, that I’d rather self-destruct than face them.
I have a mental illness and an addiction. I honestly didn’t care if I lived or died, during my decade long drug and alcohol addiction. Which is why I tried and failed at sobriety so many times. My addictions co-occurred with a mental illness called bipolar disorder. A depressive stage of bipolar, even sober, can leave me hopeless. I'd lose interest in all the things that mattered to me before. It didn’t matter to me if I got sober. There were no consequences strong enough to make me want to stop because I didn’t care if I ever saw tomorrow. I didn’t make plans for my future because I really didn’t want one. It was a slow suicide.
Addiction to prescription opioids can lead to heroin use. Many who misuse prescribed opioid pain medication turn to heroin as a substitute (Over-prescription of Opioid Painkillers: A Deadly Problem). 12.5 million people misused prescription medication in 2015 and 15,281 people overdosed on commonly prescribed medication, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Do you still think the United States opioid epidemic includes only street people shooting up heroin? Do you know the real connection between opioids and heroin?
If you have ever suffered from any kind of addiction, then you know that dealing with addiction cravings to avoid relapse isn’t easy. It’s an overwhelming feeling of need that feels like it can only be satisfied by going back to your addiction. I know how it feels – in early sobriety, I had intense addiction cravings that felt all-consuming. I had to learn to deal with them, or I was in danger of relapsing. For me, learning how to deal with the addiction craving was the key to avoiding relapse.
My name is Misti Kuykendall and I’m a new author on Debunking Addiction. I am a recovered alcoholic and methamphetamine (meth) addict. At the early age of 13, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For more than a decade, I used alcohol to ease my symptoms of mania and meth to ease depressive symptoms.
Overcoming regret in addiction recovery can feel impossible because when a person is in active addiction, he or she tends to repeat the same mistakes over and over. I’ve been there, I know the guilt, shame and embarrassment that accompany regret, and I know how important it is to find a way to overcome it. It’s important because regret can be a huge obstacle to people getting better and a huge risk for relapse. That happened to me, too. I wasn’t able to deal with my regret and that caused me to go back out and drink – time and time again. Since then, I have learned that even though regret is painful, dealing with it is part of the recovery process and healing. It is possible to overcome regret in addiction recovery, even if it isn’t easy.
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