The information I would like to offer for consideration is what keeps me clean from drug use.
It is imperative to first break the using cycle of addiction - that is to say; get time away from using drugs to clear one's mind and to remove the dependency on the substance being used. Dependency on a substance other than the opiate family of drugs is typically psychological and habitative behavior - and looking back in retrospect, I believe that the psychological dependence is developed through the habitative use of something. Although substances other than opiates are said not to be physically addictive, I personally believe they can be to a certain extent, with long-term use. As well, although I never crossed the line into opiate use, even recovery from chronic long-term use of anything involves a physical dependency of sorts - and it takes time, patience, and courage - and you need to believe that you can do it.
For me, once I got over the hump of not using for a time, I found that involving myself in stuff that I found mentally stimulating and interesting, was the absolute best cure for continuing not to use. Of course, one has to possess the propensity for the desire to learn new things; which I have always had. If one can find some thing or a cause that they feel passionate about - something that really intrigues them, this one thing can do more to foster a substance-free life, day to day. This "subject", "cause", or "whatever" can become the avenue of pursuit that replaces the avenue that pursues the substance. Of paramount importance, one has to realize and understand that they no longer desire to pursue the substance - one must be able to observe that they can make it without the substance; because they don't call it "dependence" for no reason!
The best thing that I felt was the freedom from dependence - the freedom from having to go through all the motions to actively pursue, obtain, and use a substance every day. That pursuit becomes the pivotal point from which one starts every day, and days can go lost if one does not maintain that pursuit because it becomes the first order of the day, once one is caught up in the perpetual cycle of substance use and dependency. As long as everything else is functioning day to day because your substance needs are met, all is cool and groovy. But the day always comes when you can't acquire the substance, and if you have an established ongoing dependency, everything else can come to a screeching halt when you are unable to acquire the substance for whatever reason. I never allowed my values or moral standards to be compromised by substance use - I never committed any crimes to support my habit - I always paid for what I used with money I earned at a regular job; that kind of thing is ingrained at childhood, I think - that is to say, the inclination to steal. This is a subject that I vehemently disagree with the system's recovery communities who state that "every addict lies, cheats, and steals." I do not agree with this - one is either a thief or they are not, and my personal lifestyle habits never took over my moral stand to "lie, cheat, and steal." The judiciary also claims to have a "3% success rate" with recovering addicts/alcoholics - from my perspective, that is more like a 97% failure rate; which compels me to think that with all the financial resources at their fingertips, if they sincerely wanted to make positive strides in the addiction arena, they could do a much better job helping the addict community. That said, I do not believe that they really and sincerely want to help folks who use substances - for after all, the more people who are lost in substance abuse and are subsequently apprehended for same - translates into job security and more funding for the system. If everyone got better, they'd have less to fund and less to do. Our judiciary in America is completely corrupt, so it is not very likely that they will exert much effort towards real help for the addiction community. So, if you are lost up in the cycle of addiction, you must break the cycle yourself - and if you get arrested and put in jail for it, please think about using that clean time as the springboard to launch yourself into something that you mentally find really interesting to occupy your mind and time. And, everytime you think about using, you must exert your own effort to immediately divert your mind into that thing that you love. Immediately. If you aren't really jazzed by anything, just go online and start doing searches for anything you are interested in. I am here to tell you that it only takes a couple of minutes of mental diversion to avoid making that trip to acquire whatever substance it is you prefer. If you make yourself do that, minutes later you will be caught up in some subject you are interested in, and the urge to acquire will fly from the front of your mind. I remember when I had about six months clean time, I was at work at my recently acquired job that I loved, and this thought came to me out of the blue as I sat there working - I thought, "Hey - I'm really doing this! I am doing work and going home each day and doing my chores - and I'm doing it without having to do drugs! I'm really doing it!" The freedom from the need to acquire every day is such a reward that you won't feel until you do it.
One more thing: it should be noted that many people use drugs because they may have a chemical imbalance. That needs to be addressed. But I completely agree with the noteworthy actor and entertainer named Russell Brand, that most people use a substance to try and fill an empty void inside them left there by life in general; and from having to deal with life on life's terms. So, to enable themselves to metabolize life, they find it is easier to do it after imbibing a substance of some sort. This is directly relevant to my discovery of what has worked for me that I've already explained above: filling that void with something that you are very interested in or can find interest in. It's that simple; and it's that difficult; if you're lost in the cycle of using.
In closing, if you are currently lost in the cycle of using, sometimes involuntary incarceration is the best way to get clean time, because it's forced upon you. If this happens, please tell yourself not to be bummed out, but tell yourself to embrace it - because once you are caught up in the system, there truly is no way out but to stay clean. Use that break in the cycle to stay on that path and stay clean if you want to - and understand that you will never be rid of the system unless you stay clean. If you're incarcerated, ask to go to the library to start looking at books to try and find out something you may find interest in. As well, please understand that your tendency for addiction is largely genetic - you inherited it - and do not ever let anyone make you feel as though you are "bad" or that it is a character fault. You are not a bad person - you just were taken down a bad path - and the way you feel about yourself after you kick the habit is so good that it is worth more than all the money in the world - I promise you. This is because you were able to overcome your addiction, and that is quite an accomplishment, believe me! I was a chronic long-term user for decades, so if I can do it, so can you! Do it for yourself, not for anyone else - remember that - you are getting clean for yourself - and you are worth it. I have much faith in you - in all of us - c'mon and join the rest of us who are like you but who are now on the other side of the fence - your spirit inside you needs you to be present - you can do it!!
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