Many of us struggling with addiction continue our patterns for years before we realize we simply can’t live like that anymore. We’ve been perpetuating toxic and dangerous cycles full of self-hatred and self-destruction. When we’re mid-cycle, we tend to think we’ll be able to manage. We find ways to get away with all the self-harm. We avoid people and even end important relationships, all to maintain our addictions. We have moments where we feel fine, even happy, carefree. We convince ourselves that we don’t have a serious problem, and that we can quit any time we want. We tell ourselves our issues are manageable. We create lifestyles around our addictions that help us to maintain them. We find ways to conceal our behaviors from people who might suspect we have a problem. We design our routines around our addictive habits.
Soon we start to see that the lifestyles we’ve built around our addictions are actually not sustainable. We’re slowly destroying ourselves. Mentally we lose our ability to think clearly, to solve problems and to be present. We lose our ability to be rational and logical. Our thoughts become increasingly scattered and confused. We feel easily overwhelmed, stressed and panicked. We can start to feel like we’re all over the place, or even like we’re losing our minds. Our mental health deteriorates, and we suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, delusions, obsessions and compulsions.
Emotionally we’re constantly chipping away at our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. We’re not developing healthy coping mechanisms for our difficult emotions. We use distraction, denial, avoidance, escapism and numbing tactics to avoid our pain. We tear ourselves down with judgment and criticism. We feel the burdensome weight of shame, remorse and regret, for being addicts and for all the mistakes and wrongdoings we accumulate through our experiences with addiction. Memories of the hurtful things we’ve said and done, and of all the people we’ve hurt, weigh on us heavily. We’re constantly damaging our emotional health, and over time we destroy our capacity for emotional strength and resilience.
Physically we become exhausted, drained and fatigued, and sometimes our bodies simply give out on us. We’ve been neglecting our self-care with dangerous consequences. We haven’t been sleeping enough, whether because of insomnia or other sleep issues, or because we’ve been committing more time to our addictions than to our health. We haven’t been eating well, getting adequate nutrition or exercise. We’ve been wearing our bodies down, and eventually they will often just collapse. We can experience total breakdowns in our health, our body’s way of telling us our lifestyles are simply not sustainable.
When we examine the ways in which we’re living, we see that our addictions have detrimental effects on our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Eventually we learn that we can’t sustain our lifestyles the way we’ve been living them, and we have to make changes if we want to survive.
The most important step in recovery is the first one — simply embarking on your healing journey can make all the difference. Bayview Recovery is here for you every step of the way. Call 888-570-7154 today for more information.