When your life is chained in drugs, it is impossible to imagine life without it. When life consists of getting from one hit to the next, hanging out with like-minded people, staying up ‘chillin’ all night doing tweaker things, and either isolating yourself or be involved with constant major drama, paying bills, eating dinner, and driving to work seems undesirable. What is normal life, anyways? What do ‘normal’ people do every day? From an addict’s point of view, normal life looks stressful, tiresome, and not exciting at all! In this piece, I’ll talk about what ‘normal’ is for me and how it unfolded after four years of meth, give my suggestions on how to start feeling ‘normal’ about normal life, and why ‘normal’ it is a lot better than the drug life-style.
I don’t consider the life I had the one year I was sober between drug sessions ‘normal’. I went from one serious relationship to my next serious relationship (with a few boyfriends in between); I got a stable job after bartending at a few dive bars for a couple of months, and moved houses four times that year. I was drinking and smoking a lot of pot, and unfortunately, that next serious relationship (with Jack) brought meth BACK into my life. In fact, I found myself back in a crowd that all were on meth and I was the loner (part of the reason I could justify falling ‘off the wagon’ and starting my second drug session). I got my first tattoo bent over a kitchen table, and had no working relationship with God. No, life was unhealthy and disorganized and that lined me up for relapse after a year of recovery.
After I quit the second time and terminated my pregnancy (read the pivotal point of my addiction), I SOUGHT a ‘normal’ life. Jack and I moved again but this time way out in the country and I started a job that ended up shaping my future career path. Jack was still bartending so alcohol and marijuana were still part of my existence but the new job and new house definitely gave me hope and longing for a stable future. However, after three months of us both being straight from meth and getting life back on track, life changed again when Jack was fired from bartending. What now? We decided to try moving to another state and live with his parents so I left my promising job and we moved from our nice country rental and started over AGAIN.
Such is life in recovery; moving, adjusting, jobs, school, bills, relationship ups and downs. Of course bill collectors were now chasing us down from all the unpaid bills we had occurred during our drug days but I got a job and dealt with them while Jack went back to school. We were finally living on a ‘normal’ schedule and then, bam, he broke up with me. I won’t get into the reasons now but I’m sharing this with you so you understand that ‘normal’ life has big changes. It’s just part of it! I moved back home and got the job back I was doing before we moved states. I started another new ‘normal’ life – INSTEAD of going back to my drug life.
Three months after I started my new life without Jack, he calls and say’s he made a big mistake. Next thing I know, I’m pregnant and we are living in two different states (he was travelling on the weekends to visit me). The following year, our first son was born, I moved back in with him, and we got married.
After quitting meth the second time, ‘normal’ life for me consisted of moving states twice, getting married, four jobs, two sons, a bachelor’s degree, and my closest relationship I’ve ever had with God. Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing; conflict and broken-hearts line my road but that’s what makes you who you are! ‘Normal’ life consists of taking care of responsibilities, building your credit score, seeking jobs that you find fulfilling, going to school to get qualified, relationships, parenting – of course, not in that order. Normal life should have its up and downs and it’s all easier to deal with when you have a working relationship with God.
How do you start feeling ‘normal’? If you are struggling with feeling normal, it’s time to get up, get dressed, turn the TV off, make a list each day of things that you can accomplish and get moving. If you’ve been wrapped in drugs so long that you aren’t sure who you are, there are lots of free online personality tests that help you with remembering what your interests are. Get involved in something. Put yourself in a situation where someone depends on you (walking someone’s dog or making coffee at the NA meeting). Become dependable in small things and build trust with the people around you. Put away anything that compromises any opportunities; alcohol and marijuana only impede you and doesn’t help at all building a new life. You might be saying to yourself, ‘dang, but I need to do something – I deserve a drink after what I went through,’ but friend, I promise that you are leaving the door open for backsliding and when you wake up the next day with a roaring headache, you aren’t going to feel like taking care those responsibilities that will lead you to a normal life. Don’t weaken yourself, instead, focus on getting stronger. Drink lots of water! Eat healthy! Start exercising! Dwell on things that you would like to do or accomplish. Start setting yourself goals! Time will pass, the scar will heal, and soon you will be living your new ‘normal’ life and not even realize it.
There are so many reasons why ‘normal’ life is way better than the drug life. First, being paranoid being caught with drugs is gone and that’s huge! If you have a fantastic job opportunity presented to you, you can walk in and happily give your sample head to your first day with confidence. There are always some conflict in relationships but the crazy tweaker fighting is gone leaving the two of you work things out instead of clawing each other to death. You can answer the phone again instead of avoiding bill collectors and concerned family members. Knowing that your money is going to support you and the family instead of into a bowl and up in smoke is a major sense of satisfaction. It is rewarding having relationships around you where you can freely ask for help and people trust you to keep your word. The routine of day-to-day life is secure and predictable – leaving all the craziness to vacations and holidays.
I KNOW when you are living in the drug world and caught in the mess of addiction, ‘normal life’ seems unattainable. The world is going on and you seem stuck on the side of the road with a chain wrapped around your waist keeping you from joining. Finding God will release that chain. Rediscovering you will open doors to meet healthy people and find enjoyment in healthy activities. Relationships around you will grow and start sprouting. It’s amazing but one day you’ll look down and that chain of addiction that was so tightly wrapped around you replaced with arms of love and a promising future. Meth WILL leave a scar. You’ll never forget but you can use that knowledge full circle to help someone else let go of the chain that binds them to a life with a dead-end.
‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.’ John 14: 1-3. Amen.
Til next time, peace.