Living a (Past) Life of Chaos

“Rebellion was my first addiction.” – Black Tar Mormon

I find myself cleaning a lot more these days than I used to. I doubt anyone would call me “tidy” but compared to how I’ve lived in previous years, I’m, well…

clean

In my experience, drug addiction didn’t start or stop all at once. The spiral from a “normal” life into the filth of heroin was a gradual unplugging. I stopped doing the things that brought me true joy. I disconnected from family and friends. I gravitated toward the people who would enable my bad behavior. I wallowed in the despair and grime as a physical manifestation of my inner turmoil.

When you’re injecting a “happy serum” into your veins, even this…

pig

… can feel like THIS:

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Likewise, recovery from addiction would be really easy if life was instantly wonderful after your first day clean. As individuals who really (and I mean REALLY) prefer instant gratification, it would be great if all of those fires we had spent years setting could be extinguished all at once.

It doesn’t work that way either. Just because the initial plunge into the easier escape of addiction was “fun” at times doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy recovery and it doesn’t mean you have to always be trudging and miserable.

I think the mindset is the true key. I listened to a podcast from the W.A.R. (Workout Addiction Recovery) guys and they were interviewing my buddy Don Coleman. He was mentioning me sharing this idea while speaking to a group and he said, “it sounds so cliche, but…”

I really laughed when I heard that because that’s both the joy and torture of writing. Just because an idea is original to you doesn’t mean someone hasn’t already said or written it better. For example, I was over 10,000 words into a book about being afraid to find out who you are before I realized that I’d taken 10,000 words to say “Ignorance is Bliss.”

I’d merely made it a question.

If you’ve lived a life of chaos in the past and you’ve committed to the clean-up, always remember that you will encounter evidential reminders of your “party” days. For me, this is usually in the form of some kind of old bag or box that still contains needles or wrappers from my drug days.

The justification to use drugs became easier every time I did it. Similarly, the good choices in recovery to reject and flush drugs became easier the more I did it.

The difference is the returns. So, well… here’s another cliche for you: the harder decisions are usually the right ones. Doing things that you previously feared–rebuilding relationships–constructing a life worth protecting… these are all things that aren’t instantly fun but the decisions that have you standing back at the end of a good, long “lifestyle-swiffering” and saying…

“Damn, I clean-up nice.”

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