Sunday, July 21, 2013

Addiction: My Heart vs. My Head

Today I started to write a beautiful post about the memory of Blake and my first kiss. It really was special, the whole weekend leading up to it was special, but I can't share it right now. I want to focus on such a lovely memory, and all of the happy memories in general, but I can't ignore my pressing thoughts about how horrific the whole world of addiction is. I've opened up a can of worms in my search for information and I can never go back to being blissfully ignorant of it all.

Against the advice of basically everyone I know (and my own conscience) I am choosing tonight to dwell on addiction. Thoughts of it are constantly popping up in my brain, so instead of fighting them, I'm allowing them space to dance freely for a while on this page. After all, the reason why I created this blog was so I could release all of the things in my head, even the unpleasant ones. Hopefully I can entertain these thoughts for as long as it takes me to write this, and then lay them to rest for the time being.

Tonight I am oscillating between two opposing viewpoints. These conflicting ideologies can be dubbed my head and my heart.

My Heart:
Addiction is a disease, but one that can be overcome. Although it takes an incredible amount of internal strength, a person can make the choice to fight against the changes that have occurred in his/her brain. This will be an ongoing struggle, but addicts can be helped if they come to terms with what their addiction has done to their lives and the lives of those they love and make a conscious decision to end the destruction. They can go on and lead complete and fulfilling lives without drugs. 

My Head:
Some addicts cannot be helped. If a person has to decide on their own to WANT to stop using, but the addiction has made it nearly impossible for them to make that choice, how can they ever get better? How can you choose to fight against drugs when drugs have disabled your ability to choose? Is there a fine line that an addict crosses where there is no longer hope of sobriety? 

And what does that mean for the people who love these souls who have crossed that threshold? Must they resign to standing idly as the waiting game continues until they get that much dreaded, but fearfully anticipated phone call? Or is their only other choice to lose themselves in fighting a battle for a person who can only conquer his/her demon alone? Trying to play martyr by sacrificing their own health and well being for someone who cannot truly benefit from this act of selflessness? It seems like a lose-lose situation all around. 

If I go with my heart about Blake, it almost makes me more upset because I know that if his family and I had an intervention with him, he might have gotten the second chance he needed to really fight his addiction this time. He must have thought he could have both his drug use and me because he was able to hide it from me so well that he never had to choose. I know it's not helpful to think about this, but I feel like if I broke up with him or gave him an ultimatum he would've wanted to get clean for himself, knowing he needed to take control. 

But my head knows that love cannot save someone, only that person can save him or herself from addiction. Blake's love for his family was as strong, if not stronger than his love for me. If their intervention and concern didn't wake him up the first time, how can I believe that potentially losing my love would do it for him this time around?

I'm just feeling really down lately about the prospects of a full recovery for some addicts. Although my head and my heart know that many people can overcome this disease, only my heart believes in EVERYONE'S ability to do so.

Although it would never sit well with me to say its for the best that Blake died as early as he did, some part of my head does believe that if he was never going to get better, leaving the world when he did saved him and his loved ones a lot of pain. But that makes my heart hurt for all of the people coping with boyfriends, siblings, parents, friends ect. who seem to be on the same path as Blake, where hitting rock bottom and rehab still didn't produce the desired wake up call for internal motivation for a sober life. Would it be better for them and their loved ones if their "inevitable" death came sooner rather than later? My heart and my head both scream "Of course not!"

I'm going to go with my heart and say that everyone has the potential to overcome their addiction because it hurts too much to believe anything to the contrary. I don't like to think anything in life is predetermined. I believe in the power of free will and choosing your own destiny. I am going to choose to believe that a person can be on a path of inevitable death by addiction, but can, at any instant, stray from that path in a moment of strength and clarity. Even in the fog of addiction, I know in my heart there are moments of clarity. It's just up to the person to grab onto those moments with all of the strength they have left. And there is always strength left.

As for the loved ones of addicts, I see harm in both isolating yourself from them and playing their martyr. I think either scenario will add hurt and stress to your life. But whichever option you choose (or maybe a combination of the two), my head and my heart both agree that all you can do is pray for that moment of strength and clarity and make sure to be there if/when it comes.

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