Free from the Chains of Addiction
My mind tells me that I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough, not thin enough, not smart enough. My mind tells me that I am useless. Worst of all, my mind tells me that I can use drugs in moderation or that I can have just one drink. My thoughts are my own worst enemy.
My name is Cassidy, and I’m a drug addict and alcoholic in recovery.
The first time I put a substance in my body, it gave me freedom from these incessant thoughts of inadequacy. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin. Drugs and alcohol worked for me in the beginning, but after years of drug and alcohol abuse, they took absolutely everything from me. Instead of providing relief to my anxiety, they catapulted me into a world of chaos where I lied and stole from the people I loved in order to get my next fix. I became a person I never imagined I would become.
When I got sober, it wasn’t easy. I had to go to detox to be medically supervised while I came off of opioids and alcohol. After detox, I completed three months of intensive inpatient therapy. Treatment was great for the separation I needed from drugs and alcohol, but my recovery truly began when I was discharged from rehab and began to navigate a new, sober lifestyle.
I surrounded myself with sober women who had been relieved of the obsession to drink and drug. I followed them around like a lost puppy because I was terrified of relapsing. I began to chase my sobriety as hard as I chased my drugs. Chasing my sobriety meant changing everything about my life—starting with my thoughts and actions.
I had been encompassed by selfish thoughts in the past. However, a life run on my own self-centered thoughts and actions had obviously not been a success. In order to avoid my selfish thoughts, I was told to help others. I began to live a life based on service to others.
During the first eight months of my sobriety, I brought speakers into a detox facility so they could share their experience, strength, and hope with people who felt hopeless. I would stay for an hour or so after the speaker was done, simply listening to these individuals talk. I offered them a compassionate, non-judgmental ear to which they could express themselves freely. Watching these people get out of detox and embark on a journey of sobriety became the bright spot of my life.
Once I had accumulated more time and experience in sobriety, I began doing for newcomers what the women in my early sobriety did for me. I taught them exactly what I did to stay sober and showed them how beautiful my life is today. Now, I have the privilege of sharing my hope with others with the idea that maybe, just maybe, I can help one more person stay sober.
I’m far from perfect—and I accept that. I do what I can to be of service to others every day, and when I fall short one day, I try harder the next. Helping others gives my life purpose. This purpose surpasses any feelings of doubt or uselessness that I may experience. Having a purpose quiets the voice in my head that tells me I am not good enough.
My experience has proven that I am good enough, that I do have a reason to be alive.
In seeing how my life experience can help others, I lost the obsession to drink and drug. If the thought of using again passes through my mind, I know I have other women in my life who can remind me that drinking and drugging will not only hurt me, but will also diminish my sense of purpose and my usefulness to others. In these loving, supportive friendships based on helping others, I live a meaningful life in which I am no longer bound to the chains of addiction.