Why on this earth would you do that?
I think it's pretty safe to say that one of the most common questions people ask addicts is “How could you do that?” or “Why didn’t you just quit using?”. Both are very valid questions, but they are also very hard to understand if you have been fortunate enough not to battle with addiction. One of the biggest misconceptions is that addicts continue to use their drug of choice to get high, so they don’t have to deal with the day to day struggle we all have experienced at some time in our life. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that’s completely and utterly false. No, the real reason has nothing to do with getting high but everything to do with not getting sick.
Detoxing is often compared to having a nasty case of the “flu,” but that is like comparing the picture of what a hamburger looks like on the menu of any fast-food restaurant and what the kid actually hands you—not even close!. Over the first two years of my recovery, I came up with a way to describe what detoxing is like so everyone who is living with an addict would have some kind of understanding of what their loved one is going through hours after they decide to get sober.
Knowing that no one can tell what another person is feeling I came up with a three-part way that will hopefully give you some understanding since it's based on your own life experiences.
First Step: Think of the sickest you have ever been in your life. It could be anything from a cold to whatever.
Second Step: Think of the one thing that drives you crazy like nails across a chalkboard, bottle caps rubbing together, or someone eating with their mouth open.
Third Step: Think of the one person you have met in your life that the sheer mention of their name makes your skin crawl.
Fourth Step: Okay now imagine that the person you can’t even stand the mention of their name stops over to visit you on your sickest day doing that one thing that drives you crazy.
Final Step: Now add a ton of anxiety, some insomnia so you don’t miss a second of it, along with throwing up stuff you couldn’t eat. All while being asked “How could you do that?” by that someone in your life that means everything to you.
I hope this helps you in your understanding of what an addict goes through so hopefully you both can survive the battle of addiction