ADDICTION – a deadly disease that will destroy your life, those you love, and everyone around you. It’s not your friend. It’s insidious, sneaky, crafty, and vicious. You may not even know you are addicted, and frankly, that’s the worst experience ever.
You won’t see the destruction you are causing. Those around you won’t understand why you have changed. They won’t get the mood changes, forgetfulness, lack of compassion, lack of concentration, or changes in appetite. “Maybe he’s depressed,” they’ll think. And maybe you will be depressed, but that’s just a symptom.
Depression is one of many symptoms of active addiction. Everything I have written thus far is a symptom of active addiction. But there is so much more. Addiction will leave your life hanging in the balance and you won’t know if you are worth saving or not. Addiction will have you believing one lie after another. You won’t be in control of your life. Addiction will be in control, but you will believe otherwise. You will blame those around you. Your wife, husband, or partner – they must be controlling you. You may begin to feel boxed in. You will blame your boss for having expectations of you. You will blame your partner for not being enough. You may even question your partner’s love or devotion to you. And if you have kids, they will be blamed for actually needing you to show up as their parent.
It won’t make sense.
Most likely you won’t believe that what you are doing is “bad”, “unhealthy”, or “causing harm” to anyone in your life. It is! You may believe that pawning your loved one’s jewelry so you can sit at the casino for 24 hours makes sense because you believe, “Who am I hurting?” You are hurting a lot of people, mainly yourself.
Addiction will make you enter into a relationship even when you don’t want to. Addiction will drive you to have sex with people you aren’t even attracted to. Addiction will make you accept a proposal when you aren’t even sure marriage is for you. Addiction will have you picking out wedding venues one minute and contemplating leaving your beloved the next. Addiction is in control. Addiction is running the show for you all. Addiction is killing you and you don’t even know it.
Do you have a chronic illness like diabetes, high blood pressure? Addiction will make you forget those things in a heartbeat. You’ll stop taking your meds and skip your doctor appointments. Maybe you have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS because you have had so many unprotected sexual encounters. Addiction stopped you from being protected then and it won’t convince you to wear a condom moving forward. Addiction will tell you that you are already dying – why bother with a condom. Addiction will tell you that it’s not even worth disclosing your status because if you do, you might get rejected! And that’s one of the core issues – fear of rejection.
No one wants to be rejected – but an addict will lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, and become hypervigilant to threats of perceived rejection and launch a full scale of attack to prevent it from hurting too much. This attack may look like fleeing a healthy relationship – your partner might find out you are truly an addict and set a boundary, then what will you do? The attack might look like gambling away all of your retirement – your partner won’t leave if he/she can’t get access to funds. The attack might even look like drinking so much that you can’t even function and need to be hospitalized – that’s better than facing the facts – now others have to take care of you.
You may not know what you are doing. It may not make sense to you why you are building a wall of silence around you. Your friends and family will not know how to reach you – but your addiction will. It will grip you and take you down, if you don’t do something now!
THERE IS A SOLUTION – RECOVERY
Recovery will save your life. Recovery will guide you out of pain, hurt, anger, and shame. Recovery has to be worked! You can’t just show up and expect someone to do it for you.
Recovery will return piece of mind. Recovery will bring clarity. Recovery will strength your family. Recovery will break down that wall of silence brick by brick.
Recovery will make you stand up and take notice of the past, but give you hope for the future.
Recovery is not just about stopping whatever addictive behavior you are engaging in. Recovery is about filling that God sized hole in your soul with love, fellowship, compassion, and empathy. You are a worthy person – we all are. Recovery will bring a return to sanity. That’s right – at one point you were sane – and you will be again with Recovery.
Start today. Start asking about Recovery. Recovery is everywhere.
Remember, with Recovery, you are never alone.
Welcome to Journey On. I am D.J. Burr, the host and executive producer. I am a licensed behavioral addictions specialist and bestselling author of "I Just Wanted love - Recovery of a Co-Dependent, Sex and Love Addict," available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.
This podcast is for male survivors of sexual abuse and assault who want to experience a life worth living beyond a tragic past. I'm a survivor, just like you and I know the complexity of healing from trauma. I also know the joy that comes from the healing process. Hear our stories and share your own. You are not alone. You too can breathe deep and Journey On!
I encourage you to visit the Journey On website www.journeyonpod.com. There you will find a link to sign up for my recovery journey newsletter, learn about my weekend recovery events for male survivors and my online recovery coaching services for male survivors. If you have questions, concerns or comments or would like to be on the show, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journey is on social media. Tweet us at JorneyonPod. Find us on Instagram and Facebook at Journey On Podcast.
Thank you for joining me for this very first episode of Journey On (Listen Here). Journey On is inspired by my own experience with sexual abuse and assault. Each week, I'm going to bring to you stories of hope and recovery.
This week in our very first episode, you will hear my own story. The material you hear today may be hard to listen to. I advise discretion and the use of self-care tools as needed. Take what you like and leave the rest.
I grew up in Marietta, Georgia. I lived in a home with my mother, her husband at the time (my stepfather), my younger sister, and my younger brother. I was oldest, and I was responsible for taking care of what seemed like everyone in the house. I used to get my sister and brother ready for school, I would take care of them when they got home from school. I would cook dinner, I would do homework. My mom wasn't home very often, because she was often out doing work. She had a full-time job, she had a part time job. And she was the primary breadwinner in our family.
My step dad who is an alcoholic, he in my opinion didn't do much to take care of the family. He wasn't really a parent. The only time that he tried to discipline us kids was when, you know, we were interfering with something that he wanted to be doing. It wasn't because we had done something bad, or said something bad. Or because we brought home bad grades. It was just because maybe we were in the way. We are interfering with his drinking and hanging out on the front porch with this friends. And I fought a lot.
He would often scream and yell at me, and I would scream and yell at him. It was just not a healthy dynamic. I didn't respect him as a person or as a parent. And that caused a rift between my mother and I. She and I fought too. You know, she didn't like the fact that my stepfather and I fought, and I didn't like the fact that they fought. They fought like cats and dogs, and I would interject.
When they were fighting, you know, part of me believes that was because I thought it was my responsibility to take care of her and my siblings. Whenever I would interject, it seemed like my mom would get mad at me because I was interjecting into adult problems, and so she and I would have conflict. And so, it didn't feel safe in my house, I didn't feel safe. I didn't feel loved in my house. You know, I felt the door. I felt ashamed, I felt guilt, felt fear. It was challenging. You know, I would go off to school and come home with good grades and accolades from my teachers. And whenever I would share that with my mom, it was almost like it was expected of me, so there really wasn't any additional, like praise or support. It was somewhat like an okay, good, move on. It was shitty.
You know, I grew up in this neighborhood where there were a lot of low income families. I would say all of them were low income. But for some reason, it seemed like we were on the top of the food chain because my mom had a good job. She made good money, but we just didn't make enough. And as a kid, not really understanding how you don't make enough. But you’re perceived to make more than anyone else, it didn't make a lot of sense to me.
But you know, looking back I can see that, you know, just because my mom had a couple extra hundred bucks a month doesn't mean that we were living in a life of luxury. You know we did suffer, we did struggle to put food on our table at times. We did struggle with paying rent. We were on food stamps, we got other government assistance. There were occasions when on Christmas we would get donations from churches, and other organizations to help give us kids something to look forward to on Christmas Day. And I think my mom did the best that she could. You know, she had an alcoholic husband, they fought. So, there was a lot of domestic violence. And I don't think that she recognized at the time how damaging that environment was to us kids, and particularly to me as the oldest. He wasn't my father, he didn't act like a father. I think he was supposed to be a stepfather, but that didn't really work out well for us. I hated him. And there were times when I would admit that I hated my mom. And those were times when she and I would fight, probably the worse. I don't think that was easy for her to hear, and it wasn't very easy for me to say.
I grew up expecting to be hurt and not protected. And I think that's what left me vulnerable. It left me vulnerable, and left me at the mercy of abusers. You know, I grew up in a household with an abuser (my stepfather), and at times my mother was abusive. And so, I didn't respect adults. I didn't trust adults, not even with some of the most important information in my life. You know, I knew I was gay as a young kid, and I didn't have anyone I could tell that to without fear of judgment or harm coming to me.
This whole website is about me. I think you know just about everything you could ever possibly want to know. If not, here goes: