Confidently Coping with Addiction
Justin was recently featured in True Stories, where he told us about his first time getting drunk, and his experience with addiction. For him, it all began in Starkville, Mississippi, where he grew up. Following up, Justin had some interesting things to say about his life now versus his life back then.
“Using for me has always been a coping mechanism, because I don’t know how to react very well to life… I never really liked the person who I was…” Any adult can tell you that stress is a part of life, and sadly some turn towards alcohol and drugs in order to cope with it. For Justin, much of this stress came from the person he saw in the mirror. When his reflection stared back at him, he saw someone he didn’t want to be. In order to cope with who he was, Justin turned to drugs. Even clean, however, life still tends to be stressful.
“The difference today is how I choose to react to those things… I’ve always acted the part of somebody who was confident, but I never was never truly confident. I was just overcompensating for how I truly felt about myself… Now I definitely have a more pure sense of confidence.” Sometimes the ones who smile a lot are the ones hurting the most inside. For Justin, acting confident gave him a façade to mask the issues of self-esteem and self-worth. Even, as he says, “hating the person I saw in the mirror,” were hidden whenever he used.
The last time we spoke to Justin he was working as a content writer. Since then, he was able to move into an intake job.
“I get on the phone and I talk to people… I try to point them in the right direction, as far as getting help and getting treatment.” With Justin’s own experience with active addiction, treatment, and even relapse, he has a lot to offer those in need.
“Being able to have empathy for these people, and being able to help them.” Being able to help others has helped Justin with his own life. His own program is aided by helping others. Knowing many of the emotions they are going through, and being able to console them. Because of his experience, he describes how he is able to help others by giving them an ear to open up to.
“Something that helps me, keeps me motivated, is not making excuses for anything. Taking personal responsibility for my actions.” Justin looks at himself in the mirror and recognizes that he is now in control.
“Don’t make excuses, I press forward.” Utilizing work and physical exercise, Justin describes how he is now feels the same pull to things like a bag of heroin. Instead of blaming others, Justin owns his mistakes and works towards a better life every single day. He believes his life is worth living, which is something everyone should be able to believe.
“Nobody ever told me life was going to stop happening just because I got clean.” Sadly, not everything is easy just because he now lives a clean life. There are always problems to be had; obstacles to overcome; trials to be tested. What matters is how you handle it. For Justin, those stresses used to be combatted by drugs and alcohol, but now he has a different tactic.
“I put one foot in front of the other and I deal with it. What changes is how I deal with it.”