Functional Addict

Perception can be extremely deceiving and just because everything on the outside looks normal or under control, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a storm of chaos living disguised beneath the surface. Functional addicts are still addicts. I’ve been an addict since I was 14 years old and simply switched addictions throughout the years to suit that time in my life. Being 37 now, it’s occurred to me that I’ve spent over half my life, the majority of my life, in some altered state of mind from how I’m supposed to be. In essence, I created a double life with two totally different worlds that took a lot of effort to keep separate from one another. Does that mean I was fake? I don’t know. And in which world would I be considered fake?

It wasn’t until a little over a year ago that those worlds suddenly collided and I was forced to reevaluate my whole sense of identity. I could no longer hide behind the facade I spent most my life building. That meant I first had to admit that I was an addict. Granted, I was a functioning addict that no one would guess from looking or interacting with me. I used to justify it in my head that there was a difference between ‘using’ drugs and ‘abusing’ them, and I was just using them in order to function better. I figured that any drug I took was just the same as any medication I had to swallow for my chronic health conditions. Come to find out that my longest and worst addiction was included in those handful of pills I took three times a day and prescribed by a licensed physician. It turns out that my physical pain wasn’t as bad as I thought and the real reason I became so dependent on opiates was because I didn’t want to deal with the pain and trauma I’d experienced in my life. That epiphany was kinda thrown on me against my own choosing but it was the best blessing in disguise I could’ve ever asked for.

I’ve been off all opiates now since September 18, 2016 and it changed my whole life around. I haven’t been able to think this clearly since I was in college and in my early twenties. I have a bachelor’s degree in English yet these are some of the first words I’ve written in well over a decade. They stole my sense of self, my passion to the point that I’m not real sure who I am anymore. Yet that was only one of the substances I found to make my life tolerable. I call it the “trifecta”…. opiates, meth, and Xanax. One down. Two still hanging on. One step at a time. It’s a process, you know?