The 5 Stages of Addiction Interpreted by a Recovering Addict
By: Tim Myers
I had no idea there were five stages of addiction. When I was using I thought the 5 stages were –
1) Wake Up
2) Find or Steal Money
3) Get Drugs
4) Do Drugs
5) Pass Out
Now that I have almost four years sober, I’ve realized there are five stages that took place way before I settled into my standard five daily stages.
Now, we can look at the five stages of addiction from a “clinical” standpoint, but you always get that.
Parents, addicts, and concerned friends always get the cookie cutter definition of the stages of addiction, but what purpose does that serve? It’s like a NASA scientist explaining what it’s like to have your butt launched into space. The scientist will say –
“The engines burn liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The fuel is partially burned in a pre-chamber to produce high pressure. The fuel is then fully burned in the main combustion chamber and the exhaust gases leave the nozzle at approximately 6,000 mph. Each engine can generate between 375,000 and 470,000 lb. of thrust.”
Okay, that’s boring. I still have no idea what it’s like to be shot into space. Even worse, now I’m confused.
But what about someone who’s actually been to space? Astronaut Chris Hadfield said –
“Launch is immensely powerful and you can truly feel yourself in the center of it, like riding an enormous wave, or being pushed and lifted by a huge hand, or shaken in the jaws of a gigantic dog. The vehicle shakes and vibrates and you are pinned hard down into your seat by the acceleration.”
Wow, now that’s what I’m talking about! That’s someone explaining exactly what it’s like to experience something. Now it’s my turn.
The 5 Stages of Addiction
The first time I smoked pot it felt great! I took three puffs of a joint and then rode my bike all over campus. I stared at the clouds, found the nearest Taco Bell, and had a feast. The first time I got drunk, I was in a really great mood. I made jokes, mooned my friends, and sang karaoke.
I woke up the next day from both, happy and feeling a bit sick. Nothing too bad, though. I felt like I’d found the coolest toys in the world.
[BLUECTA title=”Addiction is not a choice!”]866-205-3108[/BLUECTA]
2) Regular Use
I drank or smoked pot every weekend, every vacation, and almost everyday. It still felt great. It still made everything seem much better. The difference is I did it every single day.
Once my work was done, once I finished all my obligations for the day, the first thing I did was reach for the bottle. I’d go to bed drunk every night, but my life still appeared to be going pretty well.
3) Risky Use
I once tried to drink an entire bottle of whisky in one minute. I ended up in bed for three days straight.
I broke into homes and stole bottles of liquor just so I could sleep. I crossed the Canadian border with a fake ID just to drink underage. I once did so much coke that I had a heart attack. I took an OxyContin and nothing happened…so I took two more. Then I took another. Then I snorted one and still nothing happened…until I overdosed.
My drug addiction took me to very shady places. I had guns placed to my head many times. This is when my use became very risky.
I remember lying in my bed, penniless, unable to find the motivation to lift my head until I could figure out a way to get coke.
I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, carry on a conversation unless I was high or drunk. Nothing came before my intoxication. Work, family, friends, health…nothing was more important than getting drunk or high.
I didn’t spend one day sober. I couldn’t function without some mind-altering chemical in my body.
Sober, drunk, or high…I was different. My level of intoxication may have varied, but the way I thought and acted seemed permanently changed. My mental stability had been drastically altered and my moral compass had been broken.
What started as an altered state that I’d eventually sleep off had become a permanent mental hurricane. My mind, body, and soul had been shattered. When the substances were removed, I remained broken.
In my opinion, addiction is the splintered and unrecognizable mental condition of a substance abuser.
Is there meth in your medicine cabinet?
I later learned that even though my life, my body, and my spirit had been destroyed, they could be rebuilt. In fact, they were rebuilt bigger and better than ever. They were stronger and more beautiful than before these five stages.
So yes, addiction and the four steps preceding it are awful, scary, and can kill you, but the recovery process is better than any drug ever. Period.