A good way to think about addiction is to personalize it. Think of your addiction as a living being, as “my disease,” who has wants and desires of its own. Whenever you get triggered, remind yourself that the “thought of using or drinking” is your “disease speaking” within your mind. And remember, “My disease wants to kill me.” This motto or a variation of it—like, My disease wants me dead—can be a powerful affirmation whenever thoughts turn toward using or drinking.
In AA, people often say, “I’m fine while inside at the meeting. It’s when I get to my car afterwards I’m in trouble. While I was sitting calmly inside, my disease was outside doing pushups in the parking lot.” I like this because it reminds me that, at any moment, even when the last thing on my mind is using or drinking, this disease can rear its ugly head. Try considering any using or drinking thoughts as the voice of your disease—a malevolent “other” who is out to harm you. This is closer to the truth than not.
Your disease has many great lies to tell now that you’re trying to get and stay sober. My favorite is: Don’t worry, now that you’ve not used for a week—or month, or whatever time—it’s clear proof you can in fact use in a “controlled” way. Really? When has that “controlled” using or drinking ever truly worked? I don’t know about you, but I was never in control with meth. My brain was hijacked and I was powerless.
You’re disease also loves to go negative. Any of these dark refrains sound familiar? I’ve relapsed so many times, I might as well give up on recovery. Maybe I’m one of those who are “constitutionally incapable” of doing what’s necessary to recover. Or, since I relapsed yet again, I might as well keep using until I run the train off the tracks since I’m going to have to reset my sobriety clock anyhow.
Then add to the fact, this disease of addiction is one of the few diseases in the world that tries to convince you that you don’t have it. It says to your thoughts, again and again, “Your not a real addict. You can control your using, if you really want to.”
It would be laugh out loud funny if it weren’t so deadly.
It’s crucial to realize your disease wants one thing, to kill you. During my first year, I said to myself at least once a day: “My disease wants only one thing, to kill me.”
And for those who have recently slipped—a word I prefer over “relapse” because it’s less shaming—I firmly believe there’s no reason this most recent slip can’t be your last.
As they say, our disease is cunning, baffling and powerful. And though it talks to us in our own voice, inside our own heads, remember: I am not my disease. It lives separately from me, a dark companion within myself who wants nothing more than to kill me first chance it gets.
Don’t let it. Call out your disease (your addict mind) as separate from your healthy, true mind. Though your disease talks to you in your own voice, realize it’s not who you are. Rather it is your addict mind, waiting patiently in the parking lot, doing pushups.
Label the monster for what it truly is: my disease, who wants me dead.
You CAN quit crystal meth today, if you decide to start the journey. And if you are in the first few months, learning what to expect during the quitting process can be very helpful. Then, not only are you prepared for what’s coming, but can find strategies to better maximize the possibility of truly quitting. I hope the above helps. Peace.