Aug 26, 2013 | By Tim Stoddart

Addiction – Cunning, Baffling and Powerful

Personal Addiction Recovery Stories

The word addiction is one that conjures up vivid imagery in one’s mind, whether or not an individual is in recovery.  We often see the end products of what addictive behaviors and actions do to a person and those snapshots are tinged with dirtiness, depravity and darkness.  The common refrain that echoes around the tables of the twelve-step meetings I attended was that addiction was cunning, baffling and powerful.  It became an oft-repeated mantra back in my early recovery, and still has resonance many years into my journey.

Addiction goes beyond the use of the poison of choice.  There is a whole ritual or dance that frames addiction as a whole—the mindset on when and how you were going to get that fix and what hustle or manipulation tactics you would stoop to in order to achieve those ends. Unless they have been an addict themselves or have had a loved one cursed with that affliction, people in general usually have little or no clue.

Thinking back on my experiences, I was a cognitive acrobat of the highest order.  The ability for me to mentally improvise hard luck stories and guilt trips on a dime and the ability to spin convincing stories for different people and different occasions amazes me in hindsight.  I was expending a ton of energy being creative and goal-oriented, but those goals were to maintaining the illusion of control and empowerment.  I was so far into the lie I was living it didn’t dawn on me that I was about to lose everything: possessions, friends, family and myself.

Addiction is a perfect storm.  It is that combination of where you are doing your drug of choice and whom you are doing in with and what behaviors are being reinforced and your environment around you.  It also involves your body chemistry and past history and what is going on in the present and your parents or family’s history of use and abuse–all of these factors and more are thrown in the proverbial melting pot and it can come together to produce something that looks so good and yet becomes your worst nightmare.

I was willing to somehow rationalize with myself that is was all good, even though I was passing out behind vending machines at 3am in neighborhoods I wouldn’t be walking through during the day.  I was able to rationalize manipulating my parents for money when I was unemployed for a year and it wasn’t because the job market was terrible.  I found it thrilling to basically squat in an apartment that was mine at one point, but due to not paying rent for months I was kicked out to the street.

I was the life of the party and the kid that was invited to sit at the cool table and I felt great, but people didn’t know that I wouldn’t eat for days and throw up blood and basically ruin the carpet of my bedroom with vomit stains and God knows what else.  I was literally dying and rotting from the inside out and still was willing to sell myself and others out completely and without question..why?  Because I chasing those golden days where the high was perfect and escape didn’t involve digging my own grave.

Recovering from addiction meant walking the walk and talking the talk, of doing my work in recovery and letting actions speak over my words because at that point my words were worthless.  In my addiction, my words were fashioned by my hustle and my shadow self and they threw daggers at everyone, those I loved and to those I cared less for.  I knew what I was saying but something else was pulling the strings.  It would take almost a year before people warmed up to the idea that I wasn’t pulling their leg or running some type of psychic shell game.

Cunning, baffling, powerful…yup, that nails it on the head.

Tim Powers – bald, tattooed, a business professional by day and rocker by night. Sober by the grace of God since the 8th of May in the year of our Lord 2003. Sharing my stories and myself in order to pay it forward. You can follow me on Twitter @tpowersbass42


One response to “Addiction – Cunning, Baffling and Powerful

  • Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!

    Extremely helpful ingo specially the final phase
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    for this certain informatfion for a long time.
    Thanks and best of luck.

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