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Denster 01-25-2005 02:40 PM

Addiction: External/Internal "Indicators" & Why Hit Bottom?
Hello to all! - A Very Good Day! Re: Addiction, - A few thoughts, and perhaps this post will click w/you. If nothing else, I am so happy for this moment of clarity.

Addiction: External & Internal "Indicators" & Why Hit Bottom?

At this very early period in my recovery, (a taper off pain medication plan) - I am beginning to see that my addiction & this taper off plan are restoring self awareness regarding my addiction "indicators." I did "hit bottom" to some extent, but that phrase is in my view, - a potential non-starter in terms of getting well! Pain medication, was not a personal choice for me. I have pain & an addictive pain medication was prescribed to help. My addiction to Vicodin was perhaps, "predictable" & this is where I dropped the ball. I have been alcohol free for 9 years, & that drug was "consumption for a buzz" for 28 years. I quit drinking utilizing positive energy from many sources, i.e. AA, prayer, & in my case, a very strong desire to be healthy, prosper, love, be loved, & enjoy activities that my alcohol addiction had, for lack of any other term "relegated to the back burner." Only after I lost, did I regain my desire to win! The fact that many addicts (myself included) suffer some degree of loss before attempting recovery has been on my mind, and I believe that losses can be mitagated, minimized, even eliminated before they get started! There are indicators.
We all have "external indicators" that can lead us to make positive & necessary changes in our lives re: addiction awareness. For me, these external, "outside forces" always change with time but include, a drop in income, a reduced effort re: physical therapy, a gradual but noticeable, "hey Den, where have you been?" move away from family, friends & healthy activities. My "addiction specific" external indicators also included running out of Vicodin too soon, faking increased pain, - so why didn't I pick up the signals? As this taper plan slowly but surely continues to lead me a little bit closer to my view of recovery, I am remembering "what really worked" in my initial & constant efforts to remain alcohol free, 9 years 6/14/04. I'm an addict & in my experience, "external" indicators have generally amounted to "responding" to outside forces, or "damage!" But this response was not made re: pain medication & as stated, I "bottomed out" - actually, "I became as disgusted and tired of this addiction as I chose to be." For me, recovery was/is a "for me" proactive, necessary & positive change. The damage, the impact on others that results from my addiction is NOT enough to motivate me to stop the destruction. Obviously, addiction recovery & maintenance (a lifelong effort) requires a desire to be well for me 1st, & the external factors just do not spring the recovery.
In addition to the very commonly shared "external indicators" discussed above, my addiction to alcohol & the very hard work associated with not drinking has helped me to create my own very personal "internal indicators." A bit like an inner warning system that faithfully "reminds me for me" that "relapse is just a sip away." This is true self-awareness and I gained it, and maintained it in order to allow me to set & achieve goals, enjoy and run right at every activity this battered body can handle, and just be myself. I CAN do so much more and that is because I want to, maybe need too! I can do my best with physical therapy, & I can stop waiting to recover and actually recover! As stated, the Vicodin helps pain, but I need to quit taking it. My addiction, (just me) lead me to abuse an addictive drug. I let it go, I knew I was losing control and external indicators were not enough. Hmmm, "Hitting bottom?" I hurt myself, & neglected others. Work productivity & finances got drilled. I let me go bad things happened. I never stopped working, but I did quit believing in me for a "period of time." I felt, but stubbornly ignored "external indicators" and that is regrettable. However, my "internal indicators" - my only TRUE sources of inspiration, belief, desire & energy to make this positive and necessary change re: addiction have thankfully reconnected. Horror stories, "I lost it all" are truth's that many among us share. But in my experience, severe damage & hopelessness is NOT a required 1st step towards recovery. I was failing "my" sobriety. The resulting sadness, despair (very real) and frustration gratefully got my internal indicators (my sense that something is wrong) fired. There is never, in my view, - "recovery for another, because of another, etc." There is me, my addiction & my desire to get well! This IS internal awareness, strength - & fear of losing me! I can't "be there" for anyboby until I'm "here for me!" This is a rambler, but it speaks to awareness. Addiction does not need to lead to a "bottom out" that is any worse than that point you/we are at right now. My recovery requires self-talk, straight answers & in the end, there is me, my program, & my desire to do any & everything I can to "get well!" My internal indicators, got me to this moment. I heard or sensed many "what's up w/Den remarks" I saw "the results of poor effort w/work" - & thankfully, I "felt" a connection between me, & my internal indicators. "Self awareness and a very proactive fight v. response to symptoms, & damage!" This type of thinking has kept my alcoholism in check for 9 years. I "substituted" w/Vicodin for a period of time, & that happens to addicts. Verbiage, semantics, & "whatever works is amazing!" Best wishes to every addict, & thank God for a multitude of reasons & methods re: recovery!

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