We Out Here

 
 

"I will never be an addict. No matter what, I won’t be like him.”

Those are the words of an eleven-year-old boy on his way to school. Before walking out the front door he saw something that shook him. His uncle on the couch, empty bottle in hand, his eyes rolled back, and drool seeping from his mouth - the stench of liquor filling the room. It was eight o’clock in the morning and he was drunk.

I was that boy and that moment shaped me. I can proudly say that I have never taken a sip of alcohol or done drugs in my life. However, I can’t say that I’m not an addict. I spent a large portion of my life avoiding substance abuse and didn’t realize I was addicted to ways of thinking and being that weren't working for me.

I believe something you may disagree with - I believe we are all addicts. We all get high off things that distract us, protect us, and medicate our pain. I’ve gotten high off proving people wrong, making excuses, feeling sorry for myself, having a savior complex, viewing pornography, thinking I was better than people, looking out for myself, talking behind peoples backs, beating myself up, being lazy, and trying to change people.

How does addiction show up in your life? Do any of those areas resonate? Are you like me? Are you addicted to being right? Do you always have to have the final word?

I’m no better than anyone. No one found me passed out on the couch at eight o’clock in the morning but I’m still battling my own demons. The good news is there’s hope. Our addictions don’t dehumanize us, they reveal our humanity. Our addictions don’t separate us, they connect us with one another - because we’re all addicted to something. We’re all out here doing the best we can with what we have. We’re all out here trying to heal our pain and lick our wounds. We’re all out here searching and longing for more.

If you’ve followed me for some time you’ve heard me say, “We out here.” It’s a phrase that means so many things to me. In this case, it’s a chant of solidarity. If you resonate with what I wrote, I want you to know you’re not alone. I’m an addict just like you. We out here.