People who have overcome addiction: tell us your stories.

I’m sure someone will comment that nobody ever really stops being an addict and that there is no such thing as ultimately overcoming addiction. Well, phooey. That title field is only so long, people.

Anyway – if you were formerly unable to ocntrol your use of some addictive substance – cocaine, nicotine, whatever – but have found a way to change that, this is the thread to tell people about it.


Hoplessly addicted to opioids 1983 to mid 1990, could abstain only when isolated in treatment. Used waaaaaaay too much alcohol, and a mix of other stuff when opioids not available. Continued to use despite harsh negative consequences, continued to use despite strong desire to not use. In my moments of clarity I thought I was insane.

Clean and sober since June 20 1990, via use of 12 step programs, mutual support groups, loooooooong inpatient & residential treatment.

Have been prescribed opioids a few times since, for heart attack, heart procedures, other major surgery, severe injuries. The dragon is still there, it still LIKES those drugs. But I didn’t control the dosage or administration of the drugs, and they worked as they needed to medically. NOT a relapse.

I’m much better off without recreational use of mood-altering substances. Wastes of time for me. I’ll leave them to those better equipped to handle them than I am.

I haven’t defeated addiction. I still have that disease. But I no longer need to use. I can now choose not to.

I used “smokeless tobacco” (snuff) for over 25 years. I chain dipped - unless I was eating or sleeping I had a dip of tobbacco in my mouth, and sometimes then as well. When I got a job where it was forbidden, I simply learned to hide the lump by moving it to the side of my mouth and swallowed the juice so I didn’t have to spit. I learned to carry the can in my front pocket where it was less visible and did not leave the tell tale faded ring on the back pocket. It got to the point where, unless I said something, people did not know I used tobacco. It was a combination of me hiding it well and them having never seen me without.

My wife hated it and my kids nagged me to stop. Every time I got a sore throat I thought “Well, this is it - throat cancer”. And then I took another dip. It’a amazing what addiction will do to a mind. It overrides all logic on the subject. Yes, I knew it was bad for me. Yes, I knew it could lead to an early death. No, it didn’t faze me.

I did try to quit several times, usually when there was a price increase. I once made it for 6 months, decided I could “just have one” on a night out with the boys, and ended up stoppping at the store on my way home for a fresh can.

Years later I was working with a youth group when one of them noticed the can in my front pocket and said “Hey, you dip snuff, that’s cool! I do that, too!”. I don’t know exactly why, but that did it. I told him “No, I don’t. Not anymore.” I quit cold turkey right then. That was somewhere around 5 years ago and I’m still “clean”, no backsliding. I still, after all this time, get an occasional, powerful urge to partake. I will sometimes dream that I started dipping again and it’s so real that I wake up mad because I gave into the urge. The desire doesn’t go away. It does get easier over time to think “I’ve made it this far, no way I’m going back now”.

I did tell my wife that, should I ever relapse, I will never quit again. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. While you’re addicted you don’t realize the impact that nicotine has on almost every bodily function. It’s insidious.

I smoked for almost 20 years. A couple packs a day at the heaviest.
In 2007 I got a prescription for Chantix, it was supposed to be a 3 months program.
After 2 months, I was off tobacco and Chantix, and have not even had a desire for a smoke since.
It was my first and only attempt at quitting. I think the difference in my thinking was not saying “I want to quit smoking” but rather “I don’t want to be labeled a smoker anymore”.
100% smoke free since July 20, 2007 :cool:

What happened for me is that I found out that there was a solution, that I didn’t have to try to do it by myself. I stepped into rehab and a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders as I looked into the eyes of the people sitting in the group. As they say in AA, my obsession to drink and use was lifted from me. I haven’t needed to drink or use since.

Funny that I was 37 and going to rehab, or AA for that matter, had never occurred to me. Tried any number of times to quit on my own, nothing worked. Thought I would be a stone alky and dope fiend til I died, which I hoped would happen quickly. Now I go to meetings, talk with sober people, listen, try to be grateful, don’t keep my shit inside my head. Just picked up a 12-year chip.

Addicted to heroin for close to 20 years. Over the years I had tried 21-day detoxes, methadone maintenance, hell, a girlfriend of mine even paid to fly me to L.A. to undergo a rapid detox procedure. All failures. Towards the end I was homeless or living in shelters, robbing drug dealers to support my habit. Most of the friends I had started using heroin with were dead or locked up or just didn’t give a fuck anymore. Absolute rock bottom.

About 8 years ago I got onto a program in San Francisco that used buprenorphine and it really worked for me. It came at a good time because I was completely done. I was sick of the hustle, the loneliness, the health issues. I had wasted half my life. It sounds crazy but it was just “my time” to get clean. All the previous attempts didn’t work because deep down I wasn’t ready to quit. I had thought I was but I wasn’t.

Anyway, a friend got me off the street and I eventually came off the bupes. Been clean for 6 years.

I had a pretty significant meth habit, like a quarter ounce a day at least, from about 16 until about 19. I told myself it wasn’t a problem because I wasn’t spending money on it. I was dealing and smoking everybody else’s shit or my profits or whatever. And the coke wasn’t a problem either because I was only using it to sleep. And the pot wasn’t a big deal because I was only using it to eat. Et cetera.

Anyway, one of the guys I sold to on a regular basis got dimed off by a guy I didn’t know who had been arrested on a theft charge and went up on possession with intent. Too close for my comfort.

So basically I decided one day that I was done, I wasn’t going to do it anymore. And then I didn’t.

I had a course of addictions that all relate to my fear of having no control/not being in control.

It started with anorexia, where I starved/exercised myself from 170 lbs. or so down to 120 lbs. I wasn’t ‘textbook’ anorexic (I think my BMI was 19, whereas anorexia is below 18.5), but my eating habits were certainly disordered. After about a year of that, I started to ‘slip’ and turned to bulimia. I started binging and purging a number of times a day and this went on for about four months until I finally broke down and admitted it all to my husband. He found us a therapist and we started working on that.

Things got better for a few months but then I started drinking. I had never been a drinker, and certainly didn’t drink when I was anorexic, but after a while (about 2 years) I was to the point of drinking a fifth of vodka or a couple of bottles of wine a night in the span of about two hours or so. I’d drink to pass out (I’ve always had insomnia issues). Once my husband started getting concerned, I’d hide fifths of vodka around the house and drink ‘tea’ at night, which was actually NeoCitron. In between sips from a mug of that, I’d run in to the bathroom, guzzle a bunch of vodka, brush my teeth, etc. It eventually got to the point that I would drink one or two packets of NeoCitron, a fifth of vodka, and take two extra strength OTC sleeping pills in the two hours before bed. I was always hung over.

Then I started waking up in the middle of the night because I’d stop breathing. In retrospect, holy fuck I almost killed myself! My respiratory system was obviously depressed from multiple vectors. Thankfully, before I actually did kill myself, my husband called me on it and I checked in to outpatient rehab.

I did a three week government sponsored rehab program with a variety of other addicts. It made me realize that I didn’t want to be them (many were at rock bottom, losing children, on the streets, etc.) and that I’d better smarten up.

Through all of this we have maintained an ongoing relationship with our therapist (it’s been about 8 years since the beginning of all this) and she has helped us through the highs and lows. I have had a few slips (both alcohol and purging), but overall I can say I’m pretty much there. I am at a point where I don’t want to drink specifically because I don’t want to waste my time with it. I don’t starve myself or binge and purge because I’ve learned how to be healthy and strong instead. The sports I’m now involved in, as well as my awesome job and my grad studies are partly what is keeping me in line. I don’t have the *time *for an addiction.

That said, I still struggle with insomina and regularly take OTC sleeping pills. I’ve been referred to the sleep clinic but the wait list is over two years long. I actually just went to my GP to ask about this and they’ve resent the referral in hopes I’ll get in soon.

In what ways do you still have the disease? Not only have you chosen to no longer abuse the medication, you’ve shown yourself capable of using the drug in a responsible manner when it’s called for in a medical setting and not escalating your use beyond that.

Am I reading this correctly?? Coke for sleep? :confused: Wha? That musta been some terrible coke.

Let me start by saying I now smoke again. :smack: But years ago I had several blood clots which led to a series of operations that weren’t entirely successful. At one of my check-ups the surgeon, on examining my right white foot, said off-handedly “It’d be a shame if you lose that foot because you can’t quit smoking” before he went on to something else. It was because of his seeming indifference that I finally “got it.” It was no skin off anybody else’s nose if I ended up getting my feet amputated, only mine. And it was my choice if I wanted to go that route. I didn’t smoke another cigarette for four years, not even a puff. Took me at least a year before I stopped wanting to smack everybody I saw enjoying a smoke. If I couldn’t do it why should they get to? But I eventually stopped thinking about it or even noticing it because I just didn’t do that anymore. Unfortunately, later medical crisis made me do a complete turn-around and I decided to give me anything I wanted :cool: because I might crap out at any time. But it’s been awhile and I’m still here and it might be time to reassess the situation.

I am addicted to most every thing I can find a way to abuse.

I just have an addictive personality. More is always better in my minds opinion.

How did I do it?
Cold turkey
Made a decision
Getting old cured my sex addiction.

I still have little balance but I now know it.

AA was the biggest help.

22 years sober
15 years free of cigarets this last time, 12 years before that one time.
Never a classic drug addict but I easily could be.

The best thing about being sober now is that I can be even crazier than I ever was drunk & now they don’t put me in jail for it.

GusNSpot’s last line is sigworthy. :stuck_out_tongue:

Me: 8 years as heavy smoker (2 packs/day).

Sorry, no exotic methods; I just decided to quit by not lighting the next one. That was 1984 (so far, so good I guess).

No, if I was in control of the drug and dosage, I’d escalate quite quickly. I’m still powerless once the stuff is in my system. That’s why I was not in charge of the meds. The wife kept 'em, doled 'em out as prescribed, with input from me (Me: “honey, since two helped last time, three would work better this time!!” Her: “You can have one or two now. You pick.”)

It wasn’t. I never even liked coke, to be honest, (could smoke crack all day though) because the high is so different from meth. It worked well for sleep because I could stop smoking meth for a minute, sub with coke and still feel relatively normal, and then sleep after a few hours. Like an assisted come down. Even if it still took the better part of a day to sleep, it was worth not coming down by myself which, if you’ve never done it, I’ll tell you is absolutely awful.

My husband recently got a disposable e cig and I tried it out. It ends on a weirdly sweet, almost berry, note but it totally tastes like meth at first. I compared with my brother, who I used with a lot, and he was like, “Yeah, and really GOOD meth, too.” Weird. Still love the taste, though.

I started smoking at 16 and smoked for 8 years. Gradually got up to about 3/4 pack a day, tried quitting several times via just attempting to stop, beginning around the 5 year mark. Unsuccessful. Tried switching to a tobacco pipe but soon found I was inhaling the pipe tobacco smoke (you’re not supposed to) and that furthermore I was still smoking cigarettes as well. Then went to a hypnotist for one session, came home, took pipes, remaining half-carton of cigs, matches, pipe cleaners, and bags of pipe tobacco and carried them into back yard, doused them with gasoline, and burned them.

Physical withdrawal was over in about 10 days. Never missed it terribly after that point, also never hated being around smokers, could go into bars with people smoking on either side of me (folks still smoked in bars back then) or have someone smoking a cigarette in my home (“as long as you use an ash tray”). The hypnotism made it like thumb sucking, something I know I once did and can remember enjoying, but have no inclination to resume doing now.

My only true addiction was nicotine, which I kicked cold turkey 31 years ago. I had a serious flirtation with alcohol addiction, but have been able to walk away from it (though not completely).

My son had an opioid addiction, along with alcohol and the accompanying anti-depressants. I did an intervention with him at the request of his wife and am happy to say that five years later he’s still clean, to the best of my knowledge. I think what did it for him were the twin threats of going to jail and losing his family, with family loss being the far scarier thing for him.

Lots of grass and alcohol mid 80s-90s. Mixed in some various psychedelics here and there. From about 2000 on it was 99% alcohol. Rehab 3 times, one of the three was for over 6 months, followed by a “sober house” for another 4 months (total of 10 months living away from home).

During the active addiction time I would abuse anything I could get my hands on, including over-the-counter drug cocktails, mouthwash, vanilla extract, etc.

Sober since 07/07/07 - AA and 12 steps.

The root of the problem for me was I was just numbing whatever negative feelings I was having at the time. Not that I have/had a difficult life. I just never learned to deal with life like a mature adult - until now at least.

I would say I’m free from the desire to use/abuse. I rarely have urges to pick-up, and when I do they are fleeting. I’m taught that I’m always an addict, but am also reasonably sure I’ve reached the end of it - so long as I continue to do what I’ve been doing.

Still use the 12 steps regularly and try to help others, sort of preventive maintenance. I don’t expect I’ll ever pick up again, but I don’t want to take the chance either (by ceasing the whole AA - 12 steps thing entirely).

Tobacco: I don’t recall when I started, probably around age 16 since I know I was smoking in HS. I was over a pack a day. Until I had a heart attack at age 28. That was 48 years ago and from that day on, I never smoked again. I suspect that a cigarette would now make me nauseous just as it did when I started, so I consider myself cured.

Food: this one is tricky because you cannot quit. I was a far kid, passed 200 lb in HS, was probably 240 when I got married and was up to 281 in 2000 when I had pre-diabetes. With the help of a glucophage, I lost down to 240 or so. My wife had started making meals smaller (and encouraging me to save leftovers for lunch instead of finishing them. But I stuck at 240 for a few years. Then I went cold turkey not eating between meals and it worked. I got down below 200 (I am just about 6’) and have stuck there. Still slightly overweight, but satisfied. Cured? Only one way I will be cured.

I was a 60-a-day smoker. I gave it up three times in total, once with hypnotherapy, which really did seem to work but I took up the habit again (yeah, I’m stupid) when things got extra stressy at work. Eventually gave up cold turkey - this was way before nicotine patches or gum. Apparently I was less than saintly to live with for a few weeks and I still have dreams where I’m offered a cigarette in a social setting and I take one without thinking about it. I wake up in a cold sweat, thinking I’m back on the smokes.

So I reckon I’ve probably kicked the cigarette habit. Wish I could kick the binge eating habit as well. That one still defeats me.

Wow, you must have some really good insurance or something.