The following piece is a collaboration of entries written by Pete Kastros in his Disease of Addiction journal. He wrote the journal in 2014, shortly after being pulled over for a DUI. In an effort to increase clarity some of the excerpts have been rearranged.
To me, the disease of addiction means that no matter the substance if it makes me feel “good” I crave it constantly. Addiction is far more than physical dependency, it’s an obsession that affects both your thought process and your mood. It majorly impacts your loved ones and will turn an honest man into a liar. I’ve tried many times to stop on my own and could never go more than a couple of days. Even after the physical withdrawals subsided the mental ones always caught up with me. When I’m obsessed with something I’ll do whatever I have to do to get it. Whether it be lying, stealing, or cheating; my body feels as though it can’t go without. The cravings change my thoughts for the worst. I do and say things I’d never normally do.
I first recognized my addiction was a problem at 17. Although I should have done something earlier, I didn’t. Looking back, I think I was afraid. There have been multiple occasions in which I’ve made excuses, for example, saying my use is, “not as serious” as others. I justify my actions when, in reality, I am my own worst enemy. I’ve allowed myself to be manipulated for years, and I’ve hurt everyone who’s been close to me. I want things my way and it’s caused a huge issue with every relationship I’ve had. My lack of consideration always puts strain on them. I’ve blamed a lot of my past on other people, and various events that have taken place throughout my life. I’ve always made excuses, as opposed to owning my actions. In the past, I would fall apart if things didn’t go my way and it’s always led to relapse or caused me to do dumb things. I feel resent when people challenge me. This has led to me having hatred towards, and being challenging of, authority as well as losing structure in my life.
Rationalization has been a constant battle for me. I have made every excuse in the book to justify my actions from my past. One that sticks out in particular, making injuries seem worse than they actually were. Although I’ve been off my “drug of choice,” I’ve substituted it for another attempting to trick myself. I always think irrationally, it’s one of my biggest faults. I’m compulsive when it comes to making important decisions. I panic, fight or flight when it comes to decision making. This occurs under other circumstances when things don’t go exactly how I want them to. I avoid action, not so much because of what others will think because I’m worried about my future. I hope and pray that in the end, everything will work its way out. This irrational thought pattern contributes to a lack in my ability to see beyond myself. I have a one-track mind, especially in active addiction. I don’t care for anyone or anything else outside my drug of choice. My attitude is I don’t give a shit. I will do anything to screw anyone over to make sure I get my fix. Even if it means breaking the law or screwing people over.
My addiction has majorly affected my work performance, resulting in the loss of countless jobs. I’ve lost all of my friends. None of them wanted me around and I don’t really blame them. I’ve stolen from anyone I could cheat over. As for my family; I’ve betrayed them in the form of stealing, lying, and cheating. Doing whatever I had to do so I could get my fix. I’ve become very arrogant and an expert manipulator. I’ll say and do whatever I have to in order to get what I want.
Recently, active addiction has been an issue. I’ll be doing good for a while then BAM, it comes back more intense than ever. It always seems to be on the back of my mind. As I said, I’ve known about the impact it has on my mood but I’ve recognized it affects my opinion on someone or something and especially my relationship’s with the people I love. The disease manifests in my progression as well as increasing resentment. My obsession with drug use has affected my physical and mental health, my relationships with those I love, and my overall wellbeing. I didn’t take care of myself and always found unhealthy relationships.
Physically the toll of drugs has resulted in losing weight, not exercising, a lack of energy, and overall stamina. Mentally it has adversely impacted my memory and led to me obsessing. Spiritually, I’ve lost touch with God. The drugs have become my higher power. Emotionally I am numb. At this point in life, I take full responsibility for the bad in my life. I’ve come to terms and must be able to live out my days with content. To me, unmanageability means you have no control over a certain matter. I was arrested for a DUI and I’m facing potential charges, although I’ve not been formally charged. I’m completely powerless over my disease and over my future. All I can do is live for today and pray to God everything works out. Finally, I now realize I need something stronger than myself to fight this disease.