Romanticizing is one of the more devious pitfalls in addiction. It’s an upside-down fantasy land, a combination of selective focus and outright fiction. It is as nonsensical as pining for the bars after one has escaped the cage, but this is where logic gives way to lies.

There are times when I hold competing stories in my head about what it was like to be using. There is the truth: that I was sick, obsessed, unhappy, and eventually so lost and hopeless I wished I were dead. Then there is another version.

In the first story, I am better now. In the second, I am worse.

When irrational thoughts start creeping in, I take a breath and square my shoulders. Identify, refute, substitute; repeat as necessary. I have to listen instead of turning away, even when it hurts. Even when everything starts closing in and I have to fight my way back out into the clear, over and over and over again.

This is the work that holds the first story close, where it’s supposed to be. This is how I defeat the shimmering memory of what never was.

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Pete
Pete
5 years ago

Good post

KB
KB
5 years ago

Well said…tomorrow is another day.

Kim
Kim
5 years ago

*Chills*

Jennifer
Jennifer
5 years ago

Not sure if this will inspire any feeling of solidarity in you, but FWIW I’ve been in the same head-game with my unhappy marriage, writing a new imaginary story the romanticizes an affair and divorce. Hmmm. Probably better to feel the disappointments and hurts, over and over again. Keep going, Linda. You’re doing it right.

Dawn
Dawn
5 years ago

Just wanted to share that my 46 year old husband lost his life to his alcoholism in March. Thank you for sharing your struggles and never quit fighting. You’re worth it!

Amy
Amy
5 years ago

Thanks for sharing, Linda. Hugs.

Mary
Mary
5 years ago

Thank you

Mary Clare
Mary Clare
5 years ago

I’m rooting for you, Linda. You can do it.

Stephanie
5 years ago

I’ve been reading forever, am glad to see you posting regularly again, and want you to know I’m cheering you on from Michigan. You are such a gifted writer; I hope you will eventually write a book about addiction. I think it’d be incredible. Sending light and strength…

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Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

George Carlin who wrestled addiction addressed the imbalance of pleasure and pain.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdCklNNuEPw

“Most of the things we use don’t leave us alone.”

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5 years ago

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Kari
Kari
5 years ago

Hey,

I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time, and was really excited to see you were blogging here again. I quit drinking 323 days ago, and have thought about your journey often along mine. The struggling days are hard, but the good days are so good. I never knew how unhappy I was until I quit. God. I was so unhappy. Anyway, thanks for writing so honestly. Glad you are back.