Sure, you might be clean, sober and “living life to the fullest” now, but you may not be aware that sometimes, even this new path comes with unexpected threats.
“You must be kidding,”you may think to yourself. “How in the world can living a large and full life be dangerous?”
Let me explain through an example.
Mark used to be addicted to drugs. He lived life high on drugs for more than a decade, drinking and doing all sorts of illegal drugs. He began with drinking and smoking some weed, but before long he began dabbling in other drugs like acid and opiates. He loved being high and drunk and thought he was living the life of his dreams for a while.
Then, as the disease of addiction progressed, he began to get tired. He began feeling empty and lost inside. He needed more and more drugs to feel that high, so he began trying some hardcore drugs and ended up on crack. Within a couple of years he had lost his family (for stealing money and being disrespectful) and eventually his children. The addiction had taken all the things he loved from him.
In and out of rehab a handful of times, Mark finally stopped drinking and drugging. He went into recovery and began to really get it that he didn’t have to live life hooked on drugs. He went hardcore into recovery and with full force. He had an all-or-nothing type of personality, which is a trait that many addicts have, and he loved being 100 percent involved in recovery. He went to meetings every night and eventually became a sought-after speaker for recovery.
But after a while, the newness wore off and he stopped going to so many meetings. He needed some excitement, so he began gambling online and at the casino. He went hardcore, as he thought it was a blast. He was living the life! Yet, after a while he got bored with this too, so he started a business on the side with a multi-level marketing company. He went full force and rocked the business for a few months and then got bored. All the while he did attend his recovery meetings once or twice a week.
Next Mark got back into sports and began playing basketball during his lunch break every work day. But what was supposed to be a one hour lunch break oftentimes turned into two or three hours because he could not break away. It was just too much fun! When that newness wore off, he got back into gambling for a while and then began coaching basketball. He went all out and instead of coaching one team, he ended up coaching three teams and then beginning his own league for youngsters. He was living large and excited about his newfound passion!
Mark was so busy he stopped going to recovery meetings completely. Today he is drinking and drugging after eight years clean and sober. Sure, he still coaches, but he lost a relationship and some of his good friends when he decided to go back out and use. His all-or-nothing personality running wild has not been serving him well. This is the danger of having an addictive personality. This is the danger of extremes.
Some recovering addicts will say that they feel like they are not happy in recovery living at about 20% stimulation when they are used to so much more. Alcohol and drugs can stimulate and keep you feeling some sort of excitement, whether it’s out there partying or even just at home drinking and cleaning the house. But recovering addicts need to learn how to stay balanced so they can avoid relapse down the road. This is one reason having a sponsor and working the 12 Steps are important. You can be accountable for your actions and involvement in recovery and this is valuable.
Mark is on a slippery path now and his friends and family can only support and encourage him to live life balanced and get back into recovery. If you feel like you have an addictive personality, consider getting some help on the matter. You can go to counseling or discuss the issue with your sponsor. Living life at full throttle sounds wonderful, but it can also be dangerous for some. Evaluate your own life right now and see if you are living a life of balance.
Dominica Applegate has a BS in Psychology, an MA in Counseling and has worked in the mental health field for 12 years before launching her own business as a writer. Specializing in addictions, relationships, codependency, fitness and health, Dominica’s work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck, because everyone can really create a life that they love.