By Evan A. Peterson
I don’t know what to tell you, exactly. You just kind of do it, I guess. I’ll try and put it into words.
No one develops an addictive habit, such as taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes with a plan, usually they just try them and enjoy the escape they provide; escape from their own thoughts and feelings. It’s my contention that most addiction sufferers are very sensitive people; people who have decided at some point that they would rather not feel so much. At least that’s the way it was for me.
It all started out innocently enough. I was with friends and we decided to give methamphetamines a go one night. I loved it. Everything came into focus after I got high. I had no wasted thoughts. Whatever I set my mind to, I did; for hours; pure focus. I entertained no doubt, had no worries, felt no fear and spent none of my time wondering what other people were thinking about me. I felt the way I had wanted to feel all my life; confident, sure, completely comfortable in my own skin; at peace.
Of course, I wasn’t thinking about any of that in detail in the moment, I just knew that I loved how the drug made me feel. It was love at first taste. And it didn’t take long before I developed the need to feel “protected,” “inoculated,” “high” all of the time. Why leave myself vulnerable to bad feelings at all? “Yeah, good idea,” my budding addiction chimed in.
It’s all fun in the beginning, until you notice the price you’re paying for the privilege, and the destruction you’re leaving in your wake; until you notice that you’re really not achieving anything close to inner peace at all. Drug users are only running away from reality; putting blinders on; dimming their perceptions; trying not to feel, or trying to feel differently. And I would think it’s the same for any addictive habit, such as over-eating, over-exercising, hoarding, etc.
Unfortunately this process of realization takes time, but once seen, it cannot be un-seen. The fun part of abusing yourself has gone forever. But on a positive note, you’re finally in a position to do something about it.
Leaving It All Behind
I went to rehab, but it wasn’t my decision to go. I went there because my parents said that I had to in order to keep on living with them. Sure, I knew I had a problem at the time and I gave quitting a serious try, a three year try actually, but in the end, drug using wasn’t over for me; you see, I had not made the inner decision to do so. There is no chance of lasting success without that. That is true in all things, I have found.
Anyway, for me, it took beating the whole thing into the ground. I had to hit bottom, as they say. And as it turned out the bottom was a long way down. Simply put, I had to see that no matter what real life dealt me it could be no worse than my experiences on drugs. Being high near the end was like living in a nightmare. Every fear I’d ever had, every doubt I’d ever entertained got magnified a hundred times over, I would get immediately agitated, paranoid and extremely self-conscious after getting high; I didn’t want to leave my room. It was hell on earth. So I quit; and got busy creating heaven.
Quitting smoking was even more difficult to overcome, but the cigarettes went out of my life quite similarly. I had begun exercising seriously the same day I quit using meth and realized right away that smoking cigarettes and working out couldn’t really co-exist together if I truly wanted to start loving myself. And I did, so I started contemplating a solution. The smoking would have to go.
Once again, nothing lasting changed until I had enough impetus to make an internal decision. It took about three years of fits, starts, failed attempts and developing a nasty repetitive hacking to do it; one which miraculously disappeared two days after my last cigarette. Thank goodness. I could breathe again…
Now, thanks to other people’s contributions to my life, and my own hard work, I practice what I call “Kung Fu of the Mind.” It is a function in which I first pay attention to, then look over everything coming in and everything going out. Then I use love of self, experience, and my best judgment, which thoughts, idea’s, and beliefs best serve me and the highest good. Then I discard or disregard the rest. I no longer let anything get in the way of me loving myself, and you can do it too.
My website forthehereandnow.org (no longer active – Pete) is a blueprint of my success. The tools are there, but it’s up to you to make them work. Remember, you are loved no matter what’s going on around you. Each one of us has a deep and powerful connection to All That Is, so use it and be your best self. I love you.
Evan A. Peterson
Here and Now
Evan was my son in this lifetime and he is now gone. For more on this read: On July 15, 2015, Our 44 Year Old Son, Evan, took his own life by Shotgun. Psychologically depressed and struggling with a growing number of physical disabilities, he took his life several days after it was decided he did not meet the criteria necessary for long-term paid disability through his companies insurance carrier.