Often times it seems like in meetings we forget why we do drugs. The main speakers generally hit on it, but what about everyone else. Especially early in my sobriety this was something that confused me about the 12-step programs. I didn’t just do drugs to mess up my life, depress me, make me anxious, and obsess me. No, I did drugs for so many more reasons. I thought that this made my use different than others’ drug use. It doesn’t. Everyone starts taking drugs for a reason, and a lot of people keep taking drugs for reasons.
I first started smoking weed because I thought it was fun. I did have fun, at first. By the end it was different. I smoked weed for migraines, so I could stop throwing up. I smoked weed when I was anxious, ignoring the fact that long term it was building up my anxiety. I smoked weed to study and go to class, because nearly nothing made me more anxious than classes. I smoked weed around annoying people, so they’d be less annoying. I smoked weed to comfort myself, relax, and eat. I smoked weed when I was lonely, trying to forget that I basically had no true friends (nor that many fake ones by that point). Perhaps most importantly, I smoked to forget the past. Basically, I smoked because I was in a perpetual state of despair.
Substance abuse was a symptom of an overriding spiritual, emotional, and physical malady. I won’t be better if I just stop smoking weed. I have to connect, learn tools to cope with my anxiety and depression, find a higher power, get my migraines under control, and deal with my past. Amazingly, a lot of those things have happened. With meds and therapy my anxiety and depression has gotten better. I have a sober support system with a sponsor, friends, a case manager, and a sober living. My past doesn’t scare me like it used to. I am still sad about parts of it, but I don’t feel fear or shame like I once did. My migraines basically just went away when I dealt with the past. I know how to have sober fun, and sometimes I laugh just as hard as I did when I first got stoned. I am lucky to have gotten so far and that gratitude takes me even further.
Looking at the underlying issues around addiction lead us to develop an appreciation of our deeper maladies. This understanding tells us where to begin healing ourselves. Without knowing why we did drugs and abstaining from doing them, we are simply dry drunks or addicts, while taking steps to heal ourselves puts us fully in the realm of recovery.