There are people out there who will mis-categorize & degrade your addiction for absolutely no reason at all. Maybe they do it to feel like they know something they really don’t. Who knows? If you’ve ever tried to give up tobacco, alcohol, or certain foods, you’ve encountered these people. They are the ones who say, Well, it’s not like you’re trying to kick something major, like heroin . . . You can’t call yourself an alcoholic if you just drink beer, you have to drink the hard stuff . . . Cocaine is cleaner than Crack, at least . . . Food addiction? That isn’t really a thing, is it?
Some are more creative, some are outright mean. Mostly, no one really understands another’s addiction. Not even former addicts, in certain & too many cases.
Even within the realm of related addictions, there are those who belittle your struggle. Just because Snuff & Cigarettes are both tobacco products doesn’t mean that Smoker Cessation groups are going to be tolerant to or even acknowledge your struggles. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but odds are, they want you to believe that you belong elsewhere. Even worse, society at-large wants you to believe that your particular addiction isn’t as bad as someone else’s, and maybe your real problem is attitude, not addiction.
This isn’t to say that no one gets you, or understands you. It just means that not everyone you open up to has your best interest at heart or in mind. You might have to swim through the sharks, but there are clearer waters out there; people, places & situations that are more willing & likely to help than hurt.
Maybe certain addictions are considered lesser because they don’t kill you as fast. Maybe others have more severe withdrawal effects. Still, addiction will kill you quickly or smother you slowly . . . the result is ultimately the same . . . addiction robs you of the richness & full potential of life.
The most important thing you can do is to find someone who believes in the severity of your addiction; whatever it is. If you believe you have a problem, you do. Even if the first 20 people you tell don’t agree, keep looking. You might’ve fallen into the rabbit hole on your own & by yourself, but no one ever gets out exactly the same way they came in. Keep asking, keep looking. It doesn’t have to be a professional counselor . . . just someone who gets you, is willing to understand your situation, and can offer some form of help . . . any form of help is a good starting place.
Secondly, be ready for a long, strange trip. Addiction is the cancer that eats away at the natural Mind & Body connection and inserts itself as the crooked & crumbling path. Dealing with addiction is thought of as primarily mental, but in practice it is just as physical. Beating addiction requires that you deal with both, the Mental and the Physical. This means extensive reprogramming. Your thoughts have to change, how you think those thoughts has to change, and even if quitting your particular addiction doesn’t instigate known physical withdrawal symptoms, you still will need to deal with & override the physical habits your addiction caused.
Thirdly, and somewhat lastly, once you begin fighting against your addiction, you always want as many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months & years as possible between you and your last hurrah. As the Navy SEAL motto goes: The only easy day was yesterday. If you truly remember yesterday, it wasn’t really all that easy. Today isn’t going to be easy, either. But, at least yesterday is something you survived. Somehow, some way, you did. Make another one, another yesterday. You might remember that it wasn’t really easy, but the last thing you want to wake up with tomorrow is yesterday’s regret.
There are lots of people out there who will not believe in you for any variety of reasons. Push past them, fast & hard. Find someone with a sympathetic ear, someone willing to listen, someone willing to be there when you need to talk, vent, cry, complain, or even celebrate. These people are rare, so when you find one, hold on for dear life, your dear life.
Once you begin, don’t look back. Medusa won’t really turn you into stone if you do, but you will be burdened again with a stone you don’t want to push up the hill any longer. Travel light & unencumbered, at all & any costs. The lighter you travel, the faster your journey out of the darkness and into the light of day. Stay strong, always strong.