Trying to Find the ‘Gray’

I’m on my way to my EDA meeting and then a Refuge Recovery meeting after that. I’m going because, despite my current substance use and less-than-stellar eating, I am very interested in my recovery. My traditional ‘black and white thinking’ is screaming at me that I am being a horrible hypocrite. The ‘gray’ that I’m seeking is the ability to honestly engage at these meetings while accepting that my current level of substance use is not a horrible betrayal of myself.

I do feel ok doing this, most of the time. I really would like to let everyone in on what I’m doing, though I’m certainly not complaining about the several people I already have in my corner. And I will tell everyone at some point. It will change things significantly. I know what I’m doing is not acceptable to some of my friends that I’m closest with. Once I open up about this, there will be no putting the genie back. I’m sure I will be giving up entire friendships and others will be irrevocably changed. I’m not looking forward to that.

Yet, I’m willing to continue down this path with full knowledge that this will happen. I am so uncomfortable in my own skin that I am willing to endanger important friendships to achieve temporary relief from these feelings. I think this is one of the shittiest things about being an addict.

We really do not want to destroy our relationships. I just want the pain to stop so badly that I am willing to give up intimacy with others, if it means a break from the suffering.

Make no mistake. I hate that I am like this. I despise being an addict. It is a miserable existence and I am approaching the end of my rope. That’s one of the reasons I’m willing to pursue this “use of limited substances” model. And, yes, part of that is rationalization. As much as I’d rather not be getting high, the actual act is still quite pleasurable.

I’m trying to figure out what this will look like, in the long term. I figure there are a few probable outcomes:

  1. I die. That’s the biggie I’m trying to avoid but it’s still a very “clear and present” danger.
  2. I live, but spend the rest of my life getting high nearly every day, in some shape or form (no heroin!). This does not seem like a great way of living but, if my mental illness doesn’t get any better, it remains an option.
  3. Slowly draw down my use while working with my therapist on achieving some sort of lasting relief (with possible, but limited, intermittent use of substances for the rest of my life).
  4. Same as #3, but 100% abstinence.

Right now, it seems like I’m destined for #1 or #2 but, as I get better at seeing gray, I hope I start believing that #3 or #4 start are realistic expectations.

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