Iâll Fix You, Iâll Hurt Me
Recovering addicts are taught many new terms and quotations during their time in rehab. Stinking thinking and fake it âtil you make it are two slogans that spring to mind. âStinking thinkingâ is a term used to describe an addictâs poor attitude, such as blaming others for his or her drinking. âFake it âtil you makeâ it helps addicts to remain focused during the early stages of recovery, rather than falling back on old ways of thinking. There are dozens of others, as well, but none were more relevant to my life as an addict than this one - I'll fix you, I'll hurt me.
Many addicts are driven by anger. In fact, I'll go out on a limb here and say that the vast majority of addicts suffer from anger and resentment issues, which is why we start drinking or using drugs in the first place. We want to escape reality, even if only for a while. It's far easier for addicts to drown their sorrows than it is to face them.
In my case, a traumatic childhood had left an emotional scar. By the time I left home eighteen years later, my socks and toothbrush werenât the only things I took with me. There was also a deep-rooted sense of hidden rage and frustration, which triggered the urge to drink or get high on a daily basis. And for a while, it worked. Alcohol and drugs helped me to forget all my troubles. I was happy-go-lucky and the life of the party in the eyes of friends and strangers alike. Drinking helped me forget the shy, fearful child within and transformed me into someone far more courageous, adventurous, and carefree. Alcohol was my miracle in a glass and it was my first love.
But something changed over time. Addiction is a progressive disease, meaning it causes the addict to feel progressively cynical, depressed and isolated. Alcohol and drugs eventually lose their pleasure producing effects and leave the addict feeling anxious and empty. We keep using or drinking in an attempt to recapture the same euphoria we felt in the beginning, but it never does return. Instead, thoughts and emotions become increasingly negative, often causing the addict to focus on traumatic events of the past. We can no longer escape feelings of shame, guilt and frustration within ourselves, nor the deeply rooted anger weâve tried so long to escape. Yet, most addicts are either unwilling or unable to express their emotions in a normal, healthy way.
Instead, addicts express their feelings another way â Iâll fix you, Iâll hurt me. Iâll show you, mom and dad. Iâll phone you while drunk at 2 a.m. and remind you of all the pain you caused in my life as a child. Iâll get myself arrested and have my name posted in the newspaper so all your friends and neighbors will read about it. Iâll go on a binge drunk for two weeks straight and cause you to wonder whether your child is dead or in jail.
Iâll show you, wife. I donât like the way you cook bacon, spend money, or complain about my drinking. I need most of that money youâre spending on household bills and groceries for drinking. You want a real reason to complain? Hereâs an idea - rather than discuss it now, Iâm going out drinking and getting high with some friends. We can talk about it when I return home at 3 a.m. When I finally do sober up the next day, donât bother asking to discuss my addiction problem. Iâll be feeling too sick and tired to discuss it with you or anyone else. And donât bring up money issues. If you do try, Iâll only walk out the door and drink myself sick.
Yeah, Iâll fix you, alright.
Itâs not that most addicts or alcoholics want to harm the people in their lives. There are exceptions, of course, but by and large most addicts are not out to hurt anyone but himself or herself. Childhood events or other trauma have taught the addict that people canât be trusted. The longer he drinks or uses, the more he distrusts. The addict withdraws from the outside world, emotionally, attempting to block painful memories of the past through drugs or alcohol. The addict feels misunderstood and isolates himself from friends and loved ones. But old resentments, combined with an inability to properly express emotions, form a volatile combination.
So the addict expresses himself in the only way he knowsâ¦ Iâll fix you, Iâll hurt me.
Dan Farish is a former alcoholic. Today, he works as an Addiction Recovery Coach helping others to beat addiction. Dan is also the author of Three Steps to Recovery â One Manâs Triumph Over Alcohol and Drugs â A Simply Approach Anyone Can Use to Overcome Any Addiction.
Read free book chapters at 3 Steps To Recovery