Recovery: Secret Society
I remember growing up with the preconceived notion that all addicts were weak minded and unsalvageable. The powerless “junkie” in the alleyway was a threat to my self righteous ignorance. If addiction was not a matter of will power, then that would mean I was susceptible based solely on my genetic predispositions and less than favorable experiences with trauma. I would never choose any substance over my own kid. It wouldn’t be too long before I would put my stigmatized ideologies to rest as I became one of “those people”.
Throughout my life I never really felt “a part of”. I was a chameleon down to my very core. I would change shades in hopes of relishing in validation from anyone handing it out. Coming from a broken home, this idea started from birth. From my experience, love was very conditional. If I could transform myself into the perfect daughter, sister, and friend then I would would always feel loved. Unattainable perfection drove my despairing self esteem. My behavior and internal conflicts shifted with my evolving environments. As I started to get older, this pattern became me. I had the most diverse selection of friends. Each group would meet a very specific need in my thirst for approval. I lived to be alone in my room whenever I was home and isolation became my reprieve. My delusional perfectionism convinced me that I was utterly unlovable. My unhealthy perceptions and habits cultivated my love affair with addiction.
The first time I danced with drugs, it was as if I was Cinderella, the glass slipper of opiates fit me perfectly. I had arrived. I felt like the most beautiful princess at the ball. I felt untouchable, but in all reality, I was completely dead. I dissociated from all of the pain, trauma, rejection, and abandonment. The relationships I found in active addiction were founded solely upon self seeking motives. I gravitated towards anyone that had something to offer me and my beloved opiates. If you had no service to propelling my addiction, I had no use for you. I relentlessly drove away anyone that tried to separate me from my lover. Codependency became the foundation upon which I built relationships with other humans. Often times, I surrounded myself with people that had fallen further down the scale than I had. A boost of self confidence came from the delusion that I was a single mom, working two jobs, and helping other addicts by making small talk during our drug runs. Oh the insanity!
Once the facade I created started to dismantle, I was left stripped of any sense of identity. I had victimized myself into oblivion and the gig was up. I left for a dual diagnosis treatment center and I was convinced I was the newest member of this brainwashing cult. The joy that radiated from the sober people I met made me nauseous. Surely these people were drinking the Kool-Aid. Their willingness to help me came without conditions and I was sure I was missing the fine print. After all of the unimaginable things I had done, why would anyone want to help me? I was so blinded by unrelenting guilt that I refused to accept the validation I so desperately sought after. I defiantly refused to accept the fact that I was just like them. We shared a common bond, out from the trenches of addiction, rooted in pain, and covered by grace.
Coming from a place of complete mistrust of other women, due to my lack of self love and deep resentments, I gravitated towards the boys constantly seeking validation and running on empty. It wasn’t until I started connecting with strong women that I got a taste of recovery, and the promises started to come true. This forced me to dance with my fears and walk through the painful growth of trying to utilize my defects as assets. I began finding women that had common goals, responsibilities, and displayed the characteristics of the woman I desperately wanted to be. There are days when I have zero desire to get out of bed, much less make a meeting, but keeping my commitments to these women is no longer an option for me. I have seen members of the fellowship offer help, without hesitation, to other members looking to find a job, housing, legal aid, and support. Through the 12 Steps, there’s an intimate vulnerability required. The kind of vulnerability that requires the addict to divulge their deepest darkest secrets with another addict. An undeniable spiritual experience occurs during the process and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The outpouring of love and support is nothing short of miraculous. Fellow addicts can sit in a room rehashing incomprehensible pain and embarrassing stories and laugh together, only to grow closer after leaving the meeting.
Naturally the grace, compassion, and loyalty these women shared with me restored my faith in real friendships with other women. When I come across challenges and I feel discouraged, these women literally carry me when I cannot carry myself. There’s a secret society made up of the world’s “throwaways”, stepping out in love and successful overcoming seemingly fatal adversity. Laying down age old resentments, making amends to family/friends we’ve hurt, growing spiritually, and dying to ourselves daily to help the next struggling addict…is the remedy for any spiritual malady. Humanity, as a whole, would certainly benefit from the process we trudge in recovery. Today, I live a life I never would have imagined. I’m comfortable in my own skin, I gravitate towards intimate interpersonal relationships. From pain to pleasure, I get the opportunity to take every emotion and grow from them. I am grateful to finally have the ability to truly experience the mountains and valleys of life.
Tricia Moceo is an Outreach Specialist for Recovery Local, a local addiction/recovery based marketing company. She advocates long-term sobriety by writing for websites like https://louisvilledrugrehab.com and, providing resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Tricia is a single mother of two, actively involved in her local recovery community, and is passionate about helping other women find hope in seemingly hopeless situations.
As we learned with Tricia’s story, recovery is always an option and recovery is ALWAYS possible. No matter how lost you may find yourself, there are people and resources out there that want to aid in guiding you back to your purpose. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center provides methods, therapies, and treatment programs that have benefited countless patients, and we pride ourselves in changing lives for the better. Don’t hesitate to reach out, let’s start your journey today.