The Successful Addict

the-successful-addict

Most people with an addiction are successful?

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Most people with an addiction are successful. Most keep their jobs and have relationships that work, at least for a while. Most live life and find some measure of joy. Some even go on to fantastic success.

Just think of Charlie Sheen.

So does addiction make you successful?

Addiction is like quicksand. At the beginning, you may be on your feet, but after a short time, you begin to sink deeper and deeper. The more you struggle, the faster you fall.

Not at all. Addiction is like quicksand. At the beginning, you may be on your feet, but after a short time, you begin to sink deeper and deeper. The more you struggle, the faster you fall.

My father was a successful addict. He drank most days of his adult life and it warped his thinking. But he kept a job for over 20 years and eventually became a successful manager. Many, many people who live with addiction are “successful.” But the addiction eats away at them.

My father never read a book.Growing up, I cannot recall him reading one single book, but he did read the paper every day. He held the paper up in front of him like a newsprint shield. His university education came from doing stuff with other people. He never hesitated to help the neighbors with their projects and he learned a lot about how to make things.

Addiction is fuel, but it will set your life on fire rather than propel you onward to better things. I can think of  many things I would like to be successful at, addiction is not one of them. In fact, only a handful of my clients over the years have seriously said that they want to be successful at maintaining their addiction.

Most people with an addiction would like to quit. They get that addiction will eat away at the best parts of who you are, leaving only a shell.

Change can happen when a person begins to admit to themselves where life is heading. Unfortunately, my father died before he had a chance to choose a different way of living. Charlie Sheen, well the jury’s still out.

I wouldn’t want to find out, but I’m told that the way to survive falling into a pool of quicksand is to relax and stop struggling. The successful addict keeps moving because their demons whisper when they are quiet. The person successful in their recovery finds a way to embrace the quiet, to relax and to stop struggling. 

Our demons may whisper, but they are only trying to help us come to terms with a part of our story that needs healing.

Our demons may whisper, but they are only trying to help us come to terms with a part of our story that needs healing.

Most people with an addiction are successful? Well, that depends on how you measure success. Addiction will wreck relationships, trust, hope, a future and will make a person neglect the things that make them unique.

There is a better life, and it begins when you admit you need help, relax and stop struggling. For more on addiction recovery, see Addiction: A Simple Path. You can also search for Addiction or Recovery on my blog.

I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing.

Lastly, if you like my writing, you can click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Photo by David Bleasdale

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2 thoughts on “The Successful Addict

  1. I too had “successful” alcohol, pornography, and victimization dependencies for over 20 years. And yes, I was always slowly sinking in the quick sand, although I didn’t recognize it for a long time… I finally stopped struggling against my addictive behaviours as you suggest, and instead, I let them go as I chose my health (mental, physical, emotional). Thanks Sean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rick, Sounds like your journey has taken you to some difficult places and you have figured out how to become more healthy. Thank you for taking the time to read this piece and comment. I appreciate it.

      Like

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