The hardest thing to accept as you try to recover is that you’re going to fail. Maybe a lot. The road to recovery is long, and there will be many false starts, wrong turns, and backward steps along the way. Some of you may know this, but others may think that they can do it all in one leap. That’s what I tried to do.
Trying to Sprint During a Marathon
I thought I could do it right away. I had a bad week, and wanted out, immediately. I threw all of my amphetamines away and prepared myself for the worst. If only I could have known how bad it would be. The headaches, the exhaustion, not being able to sleep, the depression.
I only lasted a few days before I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried the same approach multiple times, sometimes lasting a few days longer, sometimes giving in after only a few hours. It just wasn’t working. I would relapse and fall into a deep depression. I hated myself, angry that I wasn’t strong enough. I thought that taking amphetamines again meant that I had failed completely.
Making a Plan
I knew I had to try something new. The failures were beginning to add up, and I wasn’t sure I could take that many more relapses. So I decided to focus. Here’s some of my advice on how you can take a
- Accept that you’ll go backwards sometimes
I thought I could go cold turkey. And maybe some people can. But it didn’t work for me. I had to learn to accept that I would make mistakes, but that it didn’t mean that I had failed completely
- Know that it will be a long road
If you fool yourself into thinking the path to recovery is short, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Getting clean is a project, and a hard one at that. You have to build new habits as you get rid of old ones. This all takes time.
- Lean on your loved ones
My first attempts to get clean were kept to myself. I thought I had to be strong, to rely on myself, not others. It is true. You do have to be strong. But that doesn’t mean you
- Trust professionals
If you have the resources, use them. Don’t let your pride get in the way of seeking help where you can. Look into rehab programs, whether inpatient or outpatient. These programs aren’t for everyone, but you might find the right fit.
Never Give Up
One try just isn’t enough. You’re going to have to pick yourself up off the ground and keep going. That’s just part of addiction. And trust me, it’s hard work. At my worst, I certainly doubted if it was possible. But I’m here today, clean for years. There’s nothing special about me. If I made it, I believe you can make it too. You just have to make sure your first try isn’t your last try.