Updated: Jul 28
A friend and I were reflecting on how some addicts lose everything to addiction. Even though they have good lives, great jobs, and long periods of sobriety, somehow it's not quite enough. And they do something self-destructive like destroying their marriage or losing their jobs because recovery didn't work for them.
And as I write this I wonder why we even waste time talking about them. Because, of course, we all have heard of addicts who become successful, then do everything they can to destroy themselves. And more often than not, they succeed. It's not at all uncommon.
Yet this is a facet of the human condition that mystifies me. How can talented and educated people suddenly go off the tracks once more - even knowing how their world will change for the worse? I mean, we can speculate all we want and we still will never know for sure what triggers them to turn again to the dark side.
I knew a woman a number of years ago who was married to a good friend of mine. She was attractive. She had a Masters degree. She was a state-licensed social worker. She made great money with a counseling business she had started, had a nice home, and drove a beautiful car. And yet somehow it all went to her head. She became a completely different person until she finally drove her husband to seek a divorce.
She did well in the divorce settlement, walking away with something like $1 million. For a while, she operated her business and was still on track to success. But later it was reported that she lost the business, blew through all her money, lost her home, and eventually lost her counseling license for committing perjury. I still scratch my head when I realize how in a short time she screwed up her life after working hard for so many years to achieve success.
And I knew another fellow who threw it all away a few years ago. He was hard-working and bright. He was an asset to his company. He had a great home in the suburbs where he lived with his wife and children. Yet one day he didn't show up for work and his employers soon found out that he had reverted to using drugs. He went downhill amazingly fast. Within a few months, he was selling his belongings to get money for drugs after he had blown through his savings. His behavior only leaves question marks.
There are some things about human - and especially addict - behavior that we'll likely never understand. We can only hope that the twelve-step programs and the other therapeutic tools available to us will keep us from the same fate.
And I believe they will if we use them.
John Schwary, Recovery Connections