A Personal Story: Addiction and Over-Achieving
When an addict faces the realization that he/she is an addict, the addiction has already spiraled out of control. One does not choose to be addicted, they just wake up one day and see it for themselves... if ever. Well, with several magazine publications under my belt, a sky-rocketing and promising career and a beautiful life ahead of me, I never thought I'd be a victim of addiction. They weren't hard drugs as one would suspect which makes the entrance of addiction even scarier, but they were daily pick-me-ups that were easily abused.
I was abusing weight loss pills, to stay in shape. I was taking three caffeine pills a day to keep me working three jobs as well as my freelancing gigs and continued to abuse caffeine stimulant pills to pursue my art and photography career during my leisure time. I was taking Nootropics to enhance my cognitive functions and focus better. I took Adderall a few times a week to hit the gym and 1000 mg of Tylenol to ease the pain of my dating life and rejection.
I became mentally dependent on marijuana to ease me of the stresses of work, school and general life. In a span of one week, I must have ingested 8 varieties of pills a day. If so, 8 pills x 7 days=56 pills a week. I slept less than 40 hours a week. The desperation for validation and ambition drove me off the cliff. I became irritable, anxious and ultimately a zombie on auto-pilot. It was not until I woke up to an empty bottle and panicked, yelled, cried and screamed when I realized I was dependent on a substance. That day was impossible for me to get through, I crashed. I was an over-achiever...and still am.
A common trait for over-achievers is anxiety. It is a constant toil of yelling at yourself and meeting deadlines after deadlines. The things I were ingesting were not lethal and most could be found over-the-counter at any local market, which made it that much easier to abuse. I thought I was doing the right thing for myself. I was the Queen of the world until my whole world came crashing down. I started having mental episodes where time elapsed from morning to night, I started forgetting a lot of things and the scariest (and funniest) experience through this was that one time, during a conversation, I started blurring my words.
My mind was off. I had not been sober for months and didn't realize it because I was on a peak thrill, a rushing high of completed projects, checks after checks, lots of tasks were being done and life was moving fast. I was jittery and deprived of sleep and every aspect of my personal, professional, romantic and creative life were dramatically affected by it. I was so preoccupied on what I had wanted for myself, my career and my life without realizing what was happening to the world around me and I ultimately lost myself. I'm still suffering through that now.
For those that are struggling with addiction, all I can say is that the short-term benefits are not worth the long-term consequences. I still have issues dealing with stress and emotions and I won't say it isn't hell, because it is. For those who are over-achievers, you will get your shine in due time. Let's make sure you're alive to see the pinnacles of successes. I'm glad I am.
What are your stories on addiction?