Drugs are only a Symptom of the Disease
The disease of addiction was prevalent in my life before I ever picked up a substance. I can remember my friends and I riding bikes across town to shoplift from the local convenience store. As my friends distracted the store employees, I stole cigarettes and candy. We had the art of shoplifting down to a science and felt invincible. I prided myself for being smarter than other kids my age and learned how to use people to get what I wanted. The ability to manipulate, con, and steal came natural to me. I loved the rush from stealing, breaking the law, and being a delinquent. I would over hear other kids talk about feeling remorse for doing immoral things, but it didn’t bother me one bit. I enjoyed the freedom that came with the criminal lifestyle until I got caught. At twelve years old, I entered the criminal justice system in which I remained for the next twenty-one years.
When I got clean, I heard members of N.A talk about how recovery was a change in old “ideas, attitudes and behaviors”. It took a little while before I understood the meaning of that statement. My drug use seemed to be the cause of all my problems, so wouldn’t life get better once I stopped? After going to meetings for awhile, I realized that I was still impulsive, obsessive, compulsive, and controlling. I began to understand how drugs were the most obvious symptom of my disease and how my belief system needed to change.