How to fight the monster: First Step

The insidious thing about addiction is that by the time you notice it, it’s had you in its grip for quite some time—maybe years or decades even. For me, the addiction made itself a part of my life… even before I was born. Or was it after I was born, after I became aware of being different from everyone else?

Or was it both?

It was probably both. My biological mother passed away from addiction at the age of 56. And I admitted to being an alcoholic at the age of 45, nine months after suffering a grand mal seizure that might’ve been connected to my lifestyle (but please notice the depth of my denial/lack of insight and that it took me all those months before I admitted to what was wrong exactly). Still, once I admitted, there was no turning back. There is no turning back. And that’s the best and the worst news for those who struggle.

The best news is that through admitting you have reached the first step… to the road of recovery. And I’m not talking about the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous—they might not be for everyone—I’m just talking about acknowledging that addiction is indeed this insidious thing that lives with us, inside of us.

Once you acknowledge it, there’s no more hiding, and denial becomes impossible. Oh yeah, that’s the “worst” news. You can no longer lie—to others, sure, but to yourself, no. You’ve become a new person the moment you admit it. You have a chance! Finally. Sure, you can tell yourself for a while that you’ve overreacted—or they overreacted: your family members, friends or whoever was around and tried to help—and you can try jumping back into denial but trust me, it won’t be comfortable there. I’m speaking from experience—from the experience of trying to go back to denial for years even as I had an inkling that there was something wrong with the way I was drinking—or the way I was living, actually, as drinking was only a symptom of my addiction.

This is how addiction is insidious—it’s all encompassing and it gets you. But once you get it, it’s hopefully game over—for it, not for you.

And not always—I’m not saying knowing what you have will fix you or even keep you alive—but by admitting it, you have named the monster that was trying to destroy you. And once you know what the monster is, you have a fair chance of fighting it.

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