By: Marilyn L. Davis
How Desperate Are You?
“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” ― William S. Burroughs
Desperation is that feeling we get when we run out of dope and money to buy more. Besides feeling desperate, we may feel guilty, angry, or hopeless. We know that once again, we’ve trapped ourselves in the never-ending cycle of use, withdrawal, and more use – hurting our families, but mostly ourselves.
I remember one Christmas day when I was desperate to change the way I felt. My children were living with their father in DC because of my use, and I was in Georgia.
Two friends and I went to three dope dealers – none home. We decided that there had to be at least a liquor store open in South Carolina, so we made the hour-long trip up there. Nope, no liquor sold on that holiday. Now the choice was North Carolina or Tennessee.
Surely, there would be alcohol in Tennessee. Three hours later, no alcohol. But we had a map. Maybe in Alabama, there’d be a store open. All we got was terrible fast food, but no drugs or alcohol.
Without Google to guide us and no cell phones, we just drove, bitching at one another for this lame idea, but continuing anyway. That’s desperation.
Desperation Fueled a Decision
My most desperate moment occurred at an intervention, where five caring individuals had evidence of my behaviors and use. I knew I couldn’t run, and there was no place to hide.
It felt as if my world was crumbling. I knew that I could not manipulate these people anymore; they would not believe anything that I said. My situation felt hopeless.
The only out was to go to treatment.
Desperate for Release, Relief, and Recovery
I also felt desperate in treatment about:
- Telling the doctors how much I was using
- All the money I’d taken from my parents
- The fears and uncertainty about my job
More than anything, I never wanted to experience this sense of desperation again, so I started participating in treatment.
From Desperation to Desire
Lying in a detox bed, sweating and smelling myself, I knew something had to change and that I didn’t know how, but the staff and other recovering people did.
Now I felt a glimmer of hope; that maybe if I did what they told me to do, I could recover as they had.
Desire Fuels the Determination
Using as much Xanax and alcohol as I did, the doctors were concerned about seizures. Tests, restrictions on my physical activities, and learning to be gentle with myself helped. I now had a desire to heal. When I applied that desire, it fueled my determination to get better.
Listening to others started being easier. I heard that they, too, had been desperate and didn’t want to experience any more failures.
Using the determination to follow directions, I got a day, then a week, then a month in recovery. Then I left treatment.
Determination Fuels the Dedication
I discovered dedicated people who had no other agenda but helping others. All of the old-timers and regulars at my noon and 8 PM meetings showed me what to do. I thought they were only helping others, but their participation in chairing a meeting, being the discussion leader, or answering questions for a new-comer helped them maintain their recovery, too.
As much as I was dedicated to using, I had to become dedicated to my recovery if I hoped to change my life.
Are You Desperate or Dedicated?
People are desperate for answers about how to get out of the cycle of use, withdrawals, and more use.