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Is It Better to Have Lived as a Drug Addict and Then See the Light, or Is It Better to Have Lived in the Light Your Whole Life?

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Is It Better to Have Lived as a Drug Addict and Then See The Light, or Is It Better To Have Lived in the Light Your Whole Life?

It is better to have lived as a drug addict on the dark side of life because this unprecedented life experience is invaluable to living a genuine, humble, and fulfilling life. The lessons learned in this lifestyle offer insight to revealing one’s true self through a recovery program, which leads to a genuine happiness. Substance abuse leads to an inevitable “rock bottom,” bringing the addict out of denial, resulting in the entrance to a recovery program where he learns how to live a drug-free, productive life. Many people successfully re-enter society and become prominent citizens who enhance people’s lives throughout the community. Many people have successfully overcome addiction to live a satisfying life. Statistics show that a rising number of Americans struggle with substance abuse and have a higher success rate of overcoming their addictions while attending a self-help group accompanied by fellow recovering addicts.

First of all, life as a drug addict takes a person through hell on Earth. An individual does not wake up one morning and decide to become addicted to drugs. The addiction is normally preceded by traumatic events during childhood leading to the use of drugs to dull the pain. Drug use is always a symptom of a deep underlying issue an individual failed to deal with. “Recently Kemp, in a number of papers, has sought to provide a more comprehensive description of addiction. He describes that addiction often arises through a pursuit of pleasure, or to reduce pain” (Kemp 2009a). It starts as recreational use on the weekends, and as tolerance builds up, more of the drugs are needed to achieve the same feeling of euphoria. After a short time period of using regularly, an addiction is acquired. An addict will choose his drug of choice over family, career, and even his own well-being. By this time, the person has resorted to committing crimes to support his habit, has been to jail numerous times, and is in denial about the severity of his problem. This is a vicious combination of feelings: pain, happiness, void, withdrawal, and depression, which are experienced every time an addict gets high and comes down from that high. Although this type of life sounds unbearable and excruciating, the addict will benefit greatly from this unparalleled experience. The turning point for most addicts is “rock bottom:” “Recovery has also been described as often starting from a crisis described as ‘rock bottom’. Kemp (2013) has described this in existential terms, where it is argued that that rock bottom is an ‘event of truth’, a point where the addict can no longer deny the nature of their existence” (Kemp and Butler 1). This life of insanity continues until “rock bottom” is reached, this is also known as an “event of truth.” Consequently, Substance abuse leads to an inevitable “rock bottom” where the addict reaches a point in his addiction where he can no longer deny that he has a problem and he needs help, which results in entry to a recovery program.

While working through the treatment program, “a discovery of one’s self” occurs. This is when a person faces the truth about himself and what pain he is trying to escape by using drugs. Addicts are encouraged to work the 12 steps of recovery because it has proved effective in maintaining long term sobriety. “The 12 steps of recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous link people with similar problems and help them recover, which is living comfortably one day at a time without using substances” (Wargo 1). These steps to recovery provide a step by step system for the addict to successfully face the reality of who he is, and through working these steps, he finds freedom from his addiction through a spiritual experience. In Warlo’s interview, Dr. Pohl states, “There is no easy solution to this problem. It’s complicated and involves some fundamental shifts in attitude and outlook upon the purpose in life. It takes a lot of energy and commitment, courage. It doesn’t come easy” (Wargo 1). Drug addiction is not something that is simply healed through this 12 step process. It requires a life-long commitment of waging war against one’s inner demons and regular attendance to some sort of self-help group. It is in these self-help groups that the addict has the best opportunity to enrich others’ lives by sharing his testimony. A result of a study on self-help groups shows, “Many participants described how sharing experiences and knowledge enabled them to start rebuilding their lives” (Seebohm 1). Addicts often find hope in religion for a brighter future. They become highly involved with a church and volunteer often for projects and discipleship opportunities. Having experienced firsthand many of the struggles that our low income population faces, addicts are able to connect with individuals on a personal basis. This rewarding experience results in an indescribable feeling within the heart that transforms into the constant desire to help as many people as possible. The greatest benefit of living a changed life is watching and being a part of others’ lives as they are transformed.

Notably, many people successfully transition from drug addicts to upstanding citizens living outstanding and rewarding lives. For example, Robert Downey Jr. is a well-known actor who struggles with drug addiction:

You probably remember his career interruptions from tabloid headlines. In 1996, cops found cocaine, crack, heroin and an unloaded .357 Magnum in his black Ford Explorer. There was the "Goldilocks Incident," where a drug fugue caused Downey to walk into the Malibu home of strangers and fall asleep alone in the bed of an 11-year-old girl. He later served six months in Los Angeles County jail and nearly a year at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran. (Weiss 1)

Downey clearly has an addiction to drugs which negatively impacted his life causing a tornado-like effect to his career and personal life. He lost multiple acting jobs as well as his wife because of the addiction. Despite Downey’s numerous failed attempts at recovery from drug addiction, in 2001, Downey made the decision to check himself into rehab which

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