The loneliness of addiction

The loneliness of addiction

Many people believe that the addicted person spends their life floating from substance to substance without a care in the world.

That life for them is all about getting high, having fun and behaving selfishly.  

To someone who has never struggled with addiction the site of an addict often angers them and statements such as junkie, lay about, waste of space often get thrown around.

All the addict cares about is their next fix and they make no contribution to society. 

When I think about this, I would like to ask those who have similar thoughts if they have ever felt alone.

I don’t just mean not in a relationship; I mean the loneliness a child feels when experiencing abandonment. The feelings of being unworthy, scared, vulnerable and fragile. 

This is the loneliness of addiction and the judgements and labels cast by others in our civilized society embed these feelings of loneliness deep within the mind and heart of someone who is struggling to cope and survive on a daily basis. 

When I was struggling to cope, I felt those same emotions.

The feeling of a society who would abandon me if I was to open up about my habit.

If I sought help,but I was held back. I feared the labels that I myself had spat with venom in the past at others.

When really, I needed to look in the mirror at myself. 

A few days ago, I sat with a guy who seemed lost and had nowhere to go.

We chatted for a bit and as we did so I realised very early on that our paths were very similar.

The only difference between us was that at my point of rock bottom I found a way out, this poor guy did not.  

As we spoke, I shared my history with him and he related back to me his, of how he was sexually abused by his brother.

As he told me this passers by walked past as though this man did not exist.

They could only see with their eyes and not with their hearts.

He shared the background to his addictive behaviour later in life and how he had lost everything through it. 

I could feel the loneliness within this man's heart and it took me back to the feelings I once had in mine.

Understanding how the addiction filled that gap and offers a sense of comfort in a cold and dark world created by the past.

We had a coffee and by the end of our conversation he said he was going to speak with his key worker.

Which was good, but more importantly during our short time together he felt connected to someone and felt understood. 

The loneliness created by addiction and fuelled by society is real, even for those surrounded by others.

The addict can be in a crowded room and still feel unseen, unworthy and unwanted. 

All this does is force them back to the only thing they feel does want them and the only way they can feel some glimmer of comfort, some glimmer of control over a life that may have been broken down and seemingly out of control often initially at the hand of others. 

I hope that you can begin to see with your heart and not just with your eyes.

When you see someone struggling understand that this is often the side symptom of a series of events and circumstances, trauma and bad luck.  

Not choice as many believe.

If you have ever felt lost, vulnerable and alone then you will understand.

I have and I don't want anyone to ever feel that way.

I hope that you don't either.