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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Renken

Because I'm an Addict

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

I will never be finished being an addict, but I can be finished letting it define me.

Before I even opened my eyes that morning, I knew. I would never drink again. It wasn't like all of those times before, when I swore I would never drink like that again. I was never going to drink again. At all. Period stop.

It wasn't a headache. It wasn't hangover stomach. It wasn't remembering something that happened the night before that made me wish that I could scratch my arms until the humiliation bled out (an actual wish and visual that occupied this endearingly crazy head on more than a few occasions).

It was the sadness that ran so deep, my bones ached. It was my heart beating so hard that I knew it was going to come up through my throat any minute. It was the magnifying glass that turned regret into pure self-hatred.

A few days and a couple of AA meetings later, I was ready to admit that I was an alcoholic. I finally understood why the drunk almost always came if I took that first sip. Why there was no such thing as "just one."

Because I was an addict.

Was. Right.

Taking pills wasn't the same as drinking because this was medicine, people. Medicine prescribed by a doctor. So the pills were legit. I mean, addicts buy from the guy on the shady street corner--not from the Walgreens on every block. The pills weren't a problem because I only took one (okay, maybe two) a day.

So why did my thoughts revolve around when I could take those two pills, how many I had left for the weekend, and how I was going to get another refill? Why did the idea of heading into a social setting without one of those beauties in my pocket get me all sorts of wound up? Why was it that I could be having the time of my life, but not be able to shake the thought that a Vicodin would make it even better?

Because I'm an addict.

Okay, fine. Order to the docs: no more prescriptions for me (at least not any good ones because--really--who joneses for an antibiotic?). I was really sober now. For real sober. Done being an addict.


I'll never be done. Because there's no such thing as being done. I'm not an addict because I can't stop drinking once I start. I'm not an addict because I love little white pills and long skinny cancer sticks. It's the other way around: the uncontrolled drinking, the obsession with pills, and the puffing-despite-knowing-better are because I'm an addict.

Because I'm an addict, a "sweet tooth" equates to donuts for breakfast, cookies at lunch, and ice cream (major ice cream--like ice cream mixed with candy bars--not a couple of bites of Ben & Jerry's) five times a week.

Because I'm an addict, there's no reason to have an eight-ounce energy drink when you can have two sixteen-ounce cans for the same price.

Because I'm an addict, I can't even buy a book without wanting to buy two. Like a shirt? Then why not buy it in three different colors? More is always better.

Was always better. Until now.

Alcohol? Check.

Narcotics? Check. Nicotine? Check. Sugar? Check. Ungodly amounts of caffeine? Check. Spending too much on crap I don't need? Check(ish). Addiction? Don't hold your breath.

Because I'll never not be an addict. It's simply not an option. But being in control is.

Which is why I no longer need the booze to unwind. Or the pills to be happy. Or any of the other garbage to feel complete.

Because I'm a recovering addict. And I've got this.


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