The past may have influenced where you are today, but where you want to be in terms of your sobriety tomorrow is up to you. No matter when, how, or why you started using or abusing drugs, at one point it became a learned behavior. You may have learned about drugs in your own family. For some, a family member may have turned you on or used with you.
You may have tried to escape feelings or memories that brought you to a place you didn’t want to be and self-medicating became easier. Even with the innocence of having fun with friends, it still can become a bad habit that leads to addiction that could destroy your life. Most importantly, anyone can change bad habits; because anything learned can be unlearned.
While bad habits may be hard to break, good choices are not as difficult as we sometimes make them. Imagine a dog accidently trapped in the trunk of a car. No matter how short the trip was, the dog, if given a choice, would never want to go in a car again. There would be no denial it was a bad experience; one he would not want to relive again. Yet, even if you had a bad experience or a major consequence at any time during your use, why would you ever use again?
Regardless of the consequences, staying builds tolerance. The more you tolerate, the more you use, and the longer you stay. Denial keeps you trapped. You ignore the warning signs and problems that come with continuing to engage in drug use. Ultimately, it’s too late. Many describe this as their “rock bottom.” In order to change a behavior, you must first change your attitude toward it. You must acknowledge that you have the problem and how it has impacted your life
If your perception is you are not addicted, you will continue to use in spite of the problems your using causes. Your faulty thoughts, feelings and interpretations will keep you stuck in denial. Conversely, if you hit rock bottom and are not in denial, you’ll seek help. Changing your attitude will help you change your behavior and the quality of your life. Your attitude can ultimately lead you to addiction or recovery. When you are in denial, your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and interpretations are distorted.
The longer you engage in self-defeating behaviors, the more you train your brain that your chemical use is a viable option in your life. In reality, if you are addicted, you are not choosing any options. The drug has control. You may be powerless over your chemical addiction, but you are not powerless over the choice to use or not to use. Your brain works like a computer. It stores memory and connects links together. When you continue to use, everything you do while using becomes connected and natural. Not using creates anxiety and overwhelming feelings. The brain looks for normalcy.
Chemical addiction is a disease. You may not have caused it, but you are responsible to find a way to treat it. Abstinence is the first step. You may be powerless over chemicals, but remember you are not powerless over making the choice to use or not to use. If you struggle with problems from your past, you do not have to let them have power over you in the present. Do not let anyone dictate the direction your life will move in the future. Stay sober and live a happier and healthier life.