Someone brought up an interesting question tonight. There are some medications out there to help curb cravings or make you sick if you drink. If they came up with a pill that would “cure” addiction, would you take it? If it meant taking a pill for the rest of your life – would you swap recovery, meetings and working a program for a pill?
It raises an interesting question…
For me, I fall back on what I learned about Prozac and other anti-depressants. They aren’t the cure for depression – just like Xanax was never intended for long term treatment of anxiety. The idea behind anti-depressants is to stabilize one’s brain chemistry to allow one to work on the root causes of one’s depression. Believe it or not, the drug companies never intended the Prozac’s to be the end all solution — at least as I understand it. And I used to work for one…
So for me, whether there is a pill or not — the key for my recovery was realizing that drinking wasn’t my problem…using wasn’t my problem As one guy I know introduces himself, “Hi I’m an addict – and Brian is my problem.” For me it was the feeling of not fitting in — the low self esteem. I am a perfectionist and never felt like I (or others!) could live up to my standards. I am a people pleaser. I worry about what people think about me. I feel like I’m an impostor at work and someday, someone is going to figure me out and call me out! That was my thinking…my mental (and ultimately spiritual!) malady. That’s what I have to work on…the comparisons, the judgments…my sense of self, my sense of worth. The alcohol or drugs were just another attempt to fill that emptiness I felt inside.
What I’ve grown to appreciate is that we all feel that to one degree or another — we all have our insecurities. None of us are perfect; we’re all broken. Thankfully, in my brokenness, I found a connection with my Higher Power — for me, it’s God. And in that relationship, I’ve learned that He loves me no matter what. He loves me because I’m His precious son. He loves us all because we are unique, treasured children of God. And, because we’re separated from Him, we have a void…a hole that we try to fill in so many futile ways. That’s my problem.
I’m learning that even with my low self-esteem, it’s my ego that is at the root of my illness. My ego gets in my way of my loving God — of my fellow human beings — of my own need for wholeness. The more I learn to leave my ego out — to accept my brokenness and in that acceptance, find forgiveness and grace — the more I find what I’ve so desperately sought. I’ve tried to find it in work, in relationships, in sex, in alcohol, in drugs, in constantly moving from one state or country to another. None of that will ever suffice. I need to stop running, stop chasing the next high, stop looking for someone to “complete me.” I just need to surrender to my Higher Power. Once I understand and accept that spiritual brokenness, I can see others as the same — broken, forgiven, and in need of God’s love manifest in others.
It’s a long road…and whether they find a pill or not, the hard work still has to be done. The Truth has to be sought and found. This is a physical, mental and spiritual disease. Pills may work on the physical cravings; they may even someday help with the mental brain chemistry. But only prayer and a spiritual relationship with one’s Higher Power will mend the spiritual part of this disease. And that is the beauty of recovery!