What does it mean to be an addict or alcoholic? I’m not talking about the medical definition but at the core who are these people?
Here’s what I learned in my 10 years in and out of the rooms of a 12-step program.
Addicts and Alcoholics are resourceful. They’ve had to be. When your life revolves around obtaining a drug of choice, you have to be able to figure out how to get it no matter what. The last three words of that sentence almost becomes a motto.
They are smart. Both book smart and street smart. You want to learn something new, go to rehab. Most love to learn and are extremely teachable.
They are funny. Addicts and alcoholics have seen some stuff. They’ve had experiences, and they are a little twisted. They have a unique way of looking at the world. They can tell a story. I’ve never laughed harder and louder than I did in rehab.
Boredom, lack of sleep, hunger, being angry and being alone is really dangerous for alcoholics and addicts. Seriously, they talk about HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) all the time in 12-step meetings. Those four things, plus boredom are some of the reason addicts started using in the first place. They are also the things that will bring them back to their DOC.
They take care of one another, fiercely. When someone is hurting or needs help they come together, often regardless of their personal feelings toward the person needing help. They are always good for a hug.
They’ve learned to pretend to be tough. They’ve learned how to pretend to be okay. They want you to think nothing is ever wrong. They wear a mask that hides the true person. A person who is sensitive. A person who loves and hates with their whole being.
They are forgiving and want to be forgiven. Such a huge part of getting sober is giving up the resentments, the hurts. To let go of the anger they have towards others, but mostly themselves. They also know that forgiving is not forgetting. They know about learning from mistakes.
Above all, they are survivors. They have been through hell and back and are still standing. They’ve cheated death. They’ve seen terrible things. They’ve had awful things happen to them, and done awful things to others. Yet, still they stand. Still they fight. They aren’t going anywhere.