Addiction. That’s a dirty word.
We don’t even like to read it, much less hear it or (heaven forbid) speak it.
No, we have a tendency to sweep it under the rug.
I’m breaking that silence today.
Before I can talk to you about addiction, I need to give you what I call my “Fuck Up Resume”. How are you supposed to take my advice if you don’t know I can really relate to you?
I was 14 when I picked up my first addiction: prescription painkillers. I tasted addiction when I sustained crippling injuries after I ran over and dragged myself on a four wheeler.
That wasn’t really a habit, though. I was a kid, and I didn’t know how to get more after I recovered.
Damn if I didn’t want it though. I just had to ride out the anxiety.
My next addiction definitely became a habit.
It was a fairly innocent addiction: smokeless tobacco. Most of the time it was moist snuff, although I chewed loose leaf tobacco when I couldn’t get dip.
I was a kid, so I had to steal it to get it, and I usually stole it from my Grandfather.
That’s not relevant right now, but it will be soon. Keep it in mind.
Side note – My First Arrest
I was 14 years old when I first learned how tight handcuffs are.
It wasn’t a drug charge, but a weapon charge…
I had a knife at school.
Decades ago, they’d just take your knife. That ain’t how it works nowadays. Now they throw kids in jail.
To make matters worse, it was my Grandfather’s knife. Not relevant right now, but it will be later.
I was a minor, so all they did was kick me out of school and fine my parents.
Not that bad.
My parents, being business owners, gave me a job to work off my debt to them while I was out of school.
It’s worth noting that this is where I picked up my second nicotine addiction.
The first thing I wanted to do after getting out of jail was smoke a cigarette. Seemed right.
Smoking and dipping at the same time is the reason my nicotine tolerance is so high today. I have to vape extremely strong juice to get any nootropic effect from nicotine now.
How much nicotine is that?
Not many people online know how strong smokeless tobacco is, but many can relate to cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco is about four times stronger.
Doing both at the same time? Better not run out.
My first experiences with withdrawal were the inevitable times where I couldn’t buy or steal anything.
I was still a kid at this point.
I was a kid smoking a pack a day and dipping four cans a day. It was easy to get away with dipping snuff at school, so I dipped in every class.
I had such a high tolerance I didn’t even have to spit. I could swallow tobacco juice or cigarette smoke without getting sick.
Hell, if I wanted to wake up early I’d just go to sleep with a jaw full and wake up after three hours of sleep instead of six.
Maybe so, but it had me hooked hard.
I would pay up to $10 for cigarettes seniors could buy for $2.50. Double that for dip.
As if I didn’t have enough to spend money on, I started drinking and smoking weed at 16.
We’ll get to Mary Jane in a minute.
For now, we’ll focus on the booze.
I wasn’t the party boy socialite kind of drinker.
It was that sad kind of drinking you do alone in the dark. Alone, in the dark, drinking everclear and mountain dew.
By 17, I was going through a bottle of liquor a night. Mostly I drank some weird French stuff I bought off a friend who kept me stocked.
This led to several social difficulties, because I was the kind of guy who gets drunk and talks. Remember I said I was alone? I was mister drunk dialer that whole year.
Through these drunk dials, I eventually found a source for painkillers, usually Oxycodone, and was eating them like tic-tacs almost every day.
Back to the Marijuana.
Was the grass greener on the other side?
No, no it was not.
Ever hear of those people who are allergic to marijuana? Well, I’m one of them.
I don’t know the science behind it, but every time I smoked pot I would vomit straight mucus after all the smoke was absorbed into my lungs.
Not a good experience. Surely that was enough to break me from the habit, right?
I was a weak person, but we’ll talk about that later. I dabbled in several other drugs but these were the ones I kept coming back to.
When I was 17, they did a routine sweep of the school parking lot with drug dogs. Lucky me, I got caught.
How much was I caught with? Four seeds in the back seat of my car. Four seeds ended up costing me $8,000.00
I’d told my girlfriend to throw them out the window for me, but she was so high she just dropped them.
I was arrested again and thrown in jail. Thrown in jail on my Grandfather’s birthday.
I’m on good terms with both of my parents, and our family is close. I’m also lucky to have grandparents that are as close to me as most peoples parents are to them.
I had been stealing tobacco from my Grandfather for three years.
Then I was arrested for carrying a knife I stole from him.
I had just been arrested as an adult on his birthday.
Luck? Friends, you make your own luck.
The first thing my Dad made me do after I got out of jail was tell my Grandfather (my mother’s father) what had happened. I felt like my guts were going to knot into a pretzel that day.
I was a piece of shit and my whole family knew about it now.
What’s worse? Soon, the pangs of withdrawal would join in with that shame.
By this point, I was addicted to dip, cigarettes, alcohol, Marijuana (yes, you can get addicted to Marijuana for a reason we’ll discuss later), and painkillers. What did I do about it?
I was 17. Hell, I didn’t care.
I didn’t care until much later.
I quit smoking weed and popping pills for a few months so I could go through Pre-trial Intervention and pass the piss test.
It wouldn’t be until 2010, the best and worst year of my life, that I quit most of these habits.
It wouldn’t be until 2013 that I finally quit smoking, and I didn’t quit getting drunk until 2016.
Alcoholism is a bitch.
I would drink a pint of whiskey like you’d drink a pint of water, and not even stutter or stagger. You’d drink a fifth? I’d drink four fifths.
Every single day.
I’ve drank over a gallon of liquor in one night before, when I had been bitten by a brown recluse. The alcohol and venom counterbalanced each other.
That’s the only time in my life it’s been a good thing. Of all my addictions, Alcoholism was far and away the hardest to overcome.
Probably because it was the easiest to keep going.
The Functional Alcoholic
I was a functional alcoholic. That means I functioned in society and I was a drunk.
What does that look like?
I would spend my day hustling, working 7 days a week. Away from home for a minimum of 12 hours meeting people and doing business.
After that, I’d come home and see my wife and infant daughter. I’d play with my baby girl, talk to my wife about the day’s events.
Then they would go to bed, and I would be alone with my weakness.
I’d crack open a bottle, 14 year old single malt scotch on a good night. Most nights, single barrel Jack Daniel’s.
You know, Frank Sinatra used to call Jack Daniel’s “Gasoline”.
I’d open the bottle around 9:30 and I’d be completely out of gas by midnight. I’d do the same pathetic calls I did as a teenager, except now I was a father, husband, and businessman.
My wife would wake up around 2:00 every night and peel me off the floor. She’d help me to bed, she’s a sweetheart like that.
Vomiting? Hang overs?
I’d hate to see the amount of alcohol it would take to give me a hangover. It was business as usual the next morning.
My greatest fear?
That my baby girl’s first memory would be of her pathetic drunk of a father motionless and stinking on the floor, unable to get up.
Enough about me.
If you don’t think I’ve bled enough for you to confirm credibility, you can click away. You don’t want to know how to overcome your addiction.
That’s right, there is hope.
I haven’t had a drop to drink in a very long time, and I’ve got the blood work to prove it. My liver levels are still elevated from liver damage, but they’re a fraction of what they were before.
I’m no scientist. I can’t tell you what these numbers fully indicate, other than I quit drinking and my liver calmed down. That’s all I need to know about them for now.
Yes, there is hope.
Yes, you can overcome your addiction.
It isn’t going to be fun, though. It isn’t going to be easy.
How do you overcome addiction?
It isn’t a twelve step program, I can tell you that much.
I’ve been to the church of narcotics anonymous. If you’ve never been, the people there treat it like church.
“Hi, my name is Lloyd and I’m an addict.”
It doesn’t work the way they think it does, even if the returning members stay sober.
Why doesn’t it work? Because it sacrifices control to some higher power, and you’re encouraged to stay an addict.
That doesn’t work.
You don’t need some twelve step program. Hell, you don’t even need a program.
You just need the following five steps, which are really just one big step.
How to Overcome Crippling Addiction
Step One: Realize that you are an addict.
You are a weak, pathetic creature that refuses to control their impulses. You aren’t much of a man.
A man creates his own reality, and you’re allowing reality to create you.
Step Two: Realize what addiction is.
Addiction is weakness. There are no two ways about it.
Your body is a dainty, priveleged little princess, crying about what it wants and what it needs.
Step Three: Realize that feeding your addiction is surrendering to weakness.
You are an addict, as mentioned above, and are weak. Because you’re weak, you cave in and give your body what it wants even though you don’t want to.
Every addict wants to quit, but they’re weak so they give in to weakness.
Step Four: Realize you don’t want to be weak anymore.
It isn’t just you. Every addict on Earth wants to stop using.
Why don’t they?
Because it’s hard and they’re weak.
Step Five: Say “No. Not today.”
This is where I’m going to lose most of you.
Addicts are weak. See step one.
Addiction is hard to say No to, because you’re weak. See steps one and four.
To overcome your addiction, you have to refuse weakness.
There is no other way.
There are things that make it easier, sure. Things that ease the chemicals inside you screaming for sweet relief.
Since you’re weak, you’ll just get addicted to them.
You’re not trying to fix a “substance abuse problem”. You’re trying to fix a personal weakness problem.
Feel free to use things that ease the withdrawals after you’ve fixed that personal weakness problem.
You can’t change the fact that there are powerful, addictive substances everywhere. You can change your ability to resist them.
You’re weak. You need to become strong.
How are you going to become strong?
You’re going to say No and you’re going to become strong.
Why? Because you have to.
Your options are:
- Say No and Become Strong
- Die a slow, lingering death
- Die a fast, painful death