“A man looks for what is and not for what he thinks should be”
I have always lived in my head. I have loved living in my own dream world, in my own world of fantasy and pretend. After all, as a kid, no one in my head put me down, rejected me, or hurt me. As I got older, a truly negative voice had been born in my head and my self-loathing had become quite prevalent. No longer could I trust myself to escape into my head for that sweet taste of optimistic freedom, so I tried to manifest this land of bright opportunity through drinking and drug use. Throughout my life I have criticized reality and consistently tried to outrun it, instead of facing it down and confronting that which I have disliked.
Instead of living in reality, I lived in contempt of it. My drinking and drug use was not only a way to escape, but also a way of rebuking reality. I was constantly dreaming of what reality should be and exploring different drugs to pretend it was so. I smoked cigarettes because I thought they looked dangerous and treacherous. I complained and fought, and when I gave up fighting and gave into drugs I numbed out and grew silent. I did all this instead of just accepting reality and working toward healthily improving upon it.
It is not conducive to the human spirit to have unrealistic expectations. I have to keep myself grounded every day, especially in order to stay sober. I cannot start living in a mystical land outside of reality or I will start to use again, for I will lose sight of what is true and what is real. If my brain loses its grip on reality, my emotions will become too difficult for me to control or cope with and I will start using again in order to find some semblance of control.
I failed to realize that reality could never measure up to the fantasy in my head. Life doesn’t work that way—nor should it. We learn too much in those dark corners of the world, in our mistakes and heartbreaks, for fantasy to be a preferred reality. Reality is our human truth despite what drugs we do or which fantasy we wish would come to be. It is something we as humans must cope with daily and, if we want to survive, we must find healthy ways to do so.
For an addict, a lot rides on looking at what is instead of looking at what he thinks should be. Coping with and living in reality is an addict’s daily work; self-delusion is not a luxury we can afford. Self-delusions can convince an addict of anything, and the last thing an addict needs to be convinced of is that using drugs and alcohol again is conceivable. If that happens, using happens.
It is important to remember that searching for the truth of what is can be difficult and trying, yet it can help with grounding. Searching for what should be can be quite dangerous as it is never satisfying, for it is never real. If it is never satisfying, an addict will crave it yet never have it, and the possibility of relapse will go up exponentially with the feeling of a loss of control.
If it is not real and could never be real, I cannot live in that space. I need reality; I need my feet on the ground; I need what is. I need this to stay sober and I need this to pull me out of my head and exist amongst people and this world.
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