Today we are going to be discussing addiction, but what is the definition of addiction?
In a world where everything is so readily available at a click of a button, it’s not a shock that what we can be addicted to has evolved and changed. When people think of addiction, we instantly think of drugs and alcohol, but it’s a wider spectrum than just those two things.
As a social construct we have all bought into social media. Look around any room, you will see a number of people in one group, if not everyone, on their phones. They are either flicking through Twitter, flicking through Insta or flicking through Facebook. We are addicted to looking at the lives we could be living. We are addicted to comparing the way we are against everyone on our timelines and we are addicted to the people we believe we should be.
We are addicted to being wanted. We are addicted to being loved. This isn’t only on social media, this is in our relationships in our day to day lives. We attach ourselves to people, even if they don’t want our attention and affection. We are left sat wondering if we are good enough, yet we go back time and time again because we yearn to be loved and needed. We have no idea if these people feel the same or even if they know we are sat there craving their warmth and attentiveness. We are addicted to love and this is also known as co-dependancy.
We have addictions to the physical side of things. Many people are addicted to sex. Some, are addicted to filling the void by, well to put it crudely; filling something. Feeling the warmth of another person just for a short time gives us the “hit” we need to feel something for even a short while.
Now as we are doing a piece on addiction we have to talk about drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and drug addiction affects people from all walks of life. People turn to drugs and alcohol for a number of reasons and once it becomes an addiction, it’s a difficult cycle to break.
During a party I was at recently, I overheard the opinion that people with an addiction to drugs deserved to be in the gutter. Now I don’t know what happened for this opinion to be formed, however, it’s one of the inspirations behind this blog. I couldn’t disagree with the sentiment more. I was so taken aback and shocked that I felt compelled to write this.
As I said, I couldn’t disagree more with the above opinion. For me, there is a compassion element. Even when someone is at their lowest, making choices they wouldn’t usually make if they were compos mentis. Even when they are destroying relationships with friends and loved ones because it’s easier than listening to what’s being said and accepting you might have an issue. I believe that the hand of help shouldn’t be taken away. I believe that it’s 100% true when people say that you can’t help someone that won’t help themselves, but what happens when they hit rock bottom and they do want to help themselves? Do we leave them on the floor or do we offer them a hand? For me, I’ll always offer the help because if I am ever in the position where I need the same one day; I’d hope someone would do it for me.
I was lucky enough to sit down with, and interview, the incredibly inspiring Josh, who is now 7 months clean and sober after a battle with both cocaine and alcohol. Having known Josh a while now, I just want to pop in here how incredibly proud of you I am and the progress you’ve made is incredible. You are a fucking inspiration. You can read this interview below;
B: Must of been hard for you, addiction, not an easy thing I’m sure. What was the point that turned it for you?
J: So, I thought everything was going alright, I didn’t think I had a problem and then yeah just one night it hit me, absolutely hit me. Just got suicidal. Next day, I went and saw my dad and opened up about everything and then within a week I was in rehab. So yeah, it was all quite quick from hitting complete rock bottom to going in an getting myself sorted out. It was pretty tough.
Understandably. Well congratulations; how long have you been clean for now?
That’s amazing, I know everyone is very proud of you too. What was it you were addicted too? And what was it like coming off?
Alcohol and cocaine. It wasn’t too bad because in rehab, you do a detox for a week. So they give you medication there to help with the withdrawals. Once that week had gone, I mean I still thought about it… I mean now I don’t even think about it.
Not tempted at all?
So where did this all start, how long had you been drinking / doing cocaine for?
I mean drinking started probably when I was like 13/14 and then the coke probably started uni days, so 18. So a fair old time. I mean I managed to hide the coke from family, well I thought I did, for years but it soon came out in the end.
Did your addiction ruin any friendships / family relationships?
Family yes, big time, I didn’t really wanna be around them. So I just withdrew further and further away. They didn’t want me to be around them because I was a complete and utter wreck. Friendships, I just hung out with people who wanted to use like I did. The guys who drank one or two, I wasn’t really interested in because they only had one or two – they weren’t up for the big all nighters; so I associated myself with the people who did want to.
Have you cut those people out of your life now?
Yeah, completely gone. It’s one of the things I did when I left rehab. I got a new phone and cut all the old contacts.
How long were you in rehab for?
28 days. In the UK, down in Southampton. I didn’t really get it at first when I was in there and then it just clicked and it was like maybe I do need to be here, maybe I am in the right place.
Have you got a good support network?
Yeah I’ve got my family and friends and then the people from the meetings I go to. They are always around me so they are first port of call. I go to 4 meetings a week. I know that I need to go, I know that I need to do this 12 step program to stay well, otherwise my head starts taking charge again and anything can happen after that.
What’s been the hardest bit for you?
Hardest bit for me, at first it was the thought of never drinking again but I’ve trained my way of thinking now to it’s not a forever thing, its a day at a time. Thats what I do now,I say I’m not going to drink today, I’m not going to drink today and then hey presto! I’m at 7 months.
I mean physically I can see the change in you from when we first met
I mean physically I feel better, I can actually get up and do thing in the mornings now and I don’t sit there and think what time do I finish work so I can get down the pub. Im so much fitter, I feel better.
How about mentally?
Mentally, I mean… I’m in a better place than what I was. The week before I went to rehab, I was absolutely fine during the day on the Saturday and that Saturday night the world just collapsed.
I still have up and down days but now, I have a coping mechanism to deal with those days. They are much less often. I just got ways of coping with it now, I realise now that if I have a shocking day that it will pass, it wont last for ever – it will only be a day two day and then it will be alright again.
What does addiction mean to you?
Addiction to me, well its an illness. It’s a mental illness. To me no-one chooses to become an alcoholic or addicted. If I was born like it I don’t know; all I know is a mental state mind, its in your brain. The only way I can deal with it is getting my medicine which is doing these 12 steps and talking to people that are like me, likeminded people who understand what I am going through. They help.
Is there any advice you have for people who are struggling with addiction?
Just know that you’re not alone and that there are people out there that are willing to help. There are phone numbers online that can help you, just give them a ring and yeah, don’t necessarily panic about it. I mean the best thing to do is speak to someone and then hopefully, which ever addiction you have – there are plenty of different groups out there that can help.
What would you say to people watching a family member or a friend struggle with addiction?
That’s a tough one, my parents for years said I had a problem and because I wasn’t ready to hear it, I would just tell them the only problem I had was them. Its a tricky one, because unless that person is willing and ready to accept help it’s very difficult to give them help. So sometimes, not enable them, as horrible as sounds you almost have to let them hit rock bottom; as hard as that is to watch. Hopefully, they realise they need help. That’s the only advice I can really give on that one. They have to see they need help.
Thank you so much for your time Josh. You’re amazing.
If you’re struggling with alcohol and drug issues, I’ve left a few links to check out below.
You can check out where to find an AA meeting here
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.