Trigger warning: this article contains graphic descriptions of drug usage and addiction.
I miss recreational drugs a lot. Whenever anyone tells a story about doing cocaine, my body reacts instantly. Within half a second, my heart rate elevates and starts beating out of my chest. My muscles tense in anticipation, and I feel a rush of adrenaline through my chest and stomach. Images of using flash repeatedly in front of my eyes and my brain tells me over and over that it wouldn’t be so bad to start taking drugs again.
I haven’t touched drugs since October 2016 and yet my body still reacts in the same intense way to stimuli. If anything, the cravings have become worse over time, and some nights I sit alone in bed obsessing over memories of partying. It is so confronting to experience, especially when I never considered myself to be a regular user, and certainly not an addict. I only used cocaine half a dozen times, and yet my body craves it so badly.
It’s easy to get addicted to self destruction.
Since my early teens, I have been psychologically addicted to self destruction. I used to think that I was broken, but I now realise that my BPD fuels it. A highly common symptom of the disorder is impulsive behaviour, which includes alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex, reckless spending, gambling, and dangerous driving. I get an extreme rush out of doing something that I know is terrible for me, but which also gives me short term gratification.
“I had to do something self destructive, so I just tried to minimise it” is a phrase that I used to regularly use. I felt this extreme chemical drive to put myself in imminent danger and treat my body like trash. It scares the hell out of me when things are going well in my life, and some part of me feels like I deserve to feel terrible.
I think it’s easy for anyone to get addicted to self destruction. When you are so used to chaos and misery, it feels more comfortable to have drama happening in your life. It becomes habitual to feel out of control, and normal to feel miserable. When you have low self-image reinforced by trauma in your life, it can often feel like you don’t deserve to have a happy and rewarding life.
I think there is also comfort in self destruction. In some twisted way, it means that you are completely in control of everything. When you enter a relationship and choose to wholly trust the other person, it puts power into their hands. It means that you have to have faith in them, and it could be torn away from you at any second. If you continually ruin every relationship that you have, or refuse to engage in emotionally meaningful relationships, then you are calling the shots, even if they are miserable ones.
Recovery is not an easy habit.
I’ve spent my entire life feeling like I’m not enough. I have a voice in my brain that tells me that I’m an evil person and a complete waste of space. To commit to recovery is to challenge that voice and try to believe that I actually might be worth the effort.
When I’m going through a depressive period, it’s really easy to just sit in that feeling and believe that I deserve to feel that way. As one of my therapists continually says: emotions love themselves. Depression and sadness want to continue taking over your body, and so will tell you anything to keep you suspended in inaction and despair.
Self destruction is hard to break out of because it’s easy. Making poor choices is easy because it doesn’t force you to re-evaluate your self image or try to believe that you might be worthy of a better life. It gives you instant gratification in the moment, and perpetuates a lifestyle that is comforting in its chaos and misery.
Recovery is a daily choice.
Recovery is something that you have to choose every single day. You may have a breakthrough one day where you realise that your life’s worth living and that you do deserve to feel happy and fulfilled. But that doesn’t make the negative emotions go away.
You will still have days when you wake up and don’t want to help yourself in any way. You just want to lie in bed all day. You will have nights where you are tempted by drugs or alcohol, and may even succumb to the temptations. You will still enter relationships with deep-rooted fear of intimacy and letting go of control.
Recovery doesn’t come easily just because you have started down the path. Every single day you have to make difficult choices that go against your desire to do nothing and improve nothing. Every day you have to choose to get out of bed, be productive, regulate your emotions, and make effective decisions for your future. Over long periods of time, it does become easier, but the self destructive urges never fully go away.
I constantly have to keep on top of my urges to consume drugs and binge drink. I often feel the urge to throw in the towel and go back to my partying ways. The truth is that it would kill me though. Altering my brain chemicals drove me to the brink of suicide once, and I can never go back. Every single day I remind myself that I want and deserve a life free of brain-altering drugs and full of positive choices that lead me towards achieving my goals.
You have to choose recovery every single day. So what do you choose today?