Helping a High Functioning Addict
Helping a high functioning addict who can’t go to rehab because drug use is illegal in his country
In this video, I offer facilitation to an individual who made a post on this forum asking for help on what he should do about his high functioning addiction to meth. Below the video, you’ll find a written response that I provided for convenience.
Hi there, I’m Dexter. Congrats on posting and opening up to help. I know that’s not always easy.
I’m a life coach and I help people out on forums when I can. I’m not a doctor or therapist so none of the information I say is meant as medical advice, counseling, or therapy. I have studied a lot of healing modalities and helped people work through addictions and other life issues, the information I have to share comes from my personal perspectives and experiences.
You mention the intense and incomparable pleasure from meth use… one thing I want to say is that it is possible to find a deeper and rewarding sense of fulfillment. Meaning that its important to realize that there are other experiences, maybe not as viscerally pleasurable, that said other experiences that can be even more rewarding and can offer you deep fulfillment and peace. if you feel like you’ll be missing out on that pleasure, it’s going to be hard to stop. that’s why it’s important to remember that there are even more gratifying things that you could experience without the drug.
You say you are a meth addict. It’s useful to shift that perspective a bit. The statement reflects that you identify as a meth addict, meaning that’s how you see yourself. If that’s how you see yourself, if you see it as a part of your identity, it’s going to make it more difficult to stop. essentially, once you identify with something, being without it feels unsafe. to begin dis-identifying from it, instead of thinking of yourself as a meth addict, you can think of yourself as a being with different coping mechanisms, and one of those coping mechanisms is a drug. do you see how much more room for change that perspective creates?
It’s good that you’re functional. It’s good that you still have your job, your relationship, and your health. . Like you’ve described, it can take a lot of determination, energy, and focus to remain healthy and functional in a highly competitive work environment and in a relationship while using. That means that if you put that same energy into transcending this addiction, you have great capacity for success.
As for your practice of perfecting your skills of deception and disguise… those skills are the same skills that you can use to stop using. Those skills of deception require self awareness, emotional management, and discipline. If you choose to start using less and less and eventually not at all, those skills will allow you to become self aware in the moments when you really want to use. In those moments you have a precious opportunities to discover the underlying fears, emotions, and anxieties that trigger the cravings. You’ll be able to consciously intervene, just like you do when you begin to restrain and conceal your emotions, and shift your focus onto something constructive that can allow you to snap out of the craving. Over time, with enough repetition, the craving can go away completely.
As for you deriving intense satisfaction from successfully controlling your behavior, that feeling might be more common than you think. That feeling of being in control can produce euphoric feelings of power and invincibility that, in and of themselves, can be addicting. It’s not a problem, it’s good to realize. You could say that these feelings are the top of the cliff in relation to rock bottom which is when you “lose it”.
You have a lot of things going for you. You must have worked hard to get to where you are. There’s a lot in your life that you can be grateful for. Of course, we could say the same thing to a beggar on the street. Every life is filled with wonder and miracles to be grateful for. The trick is learning how to find and focus on these miracles. When you learn that, you can feel joyful and fulfilled wherever you are no matter who you’re with or what you have. This takes practice, and, anyone can learn it.
You say the problem is that this can’t continue forever and you’ve tried to quit countless times but never successful. That’s not really a problem. It’s not a problem that you’ve done meth or have been dependent on it up until now. Before you is an opportunity. That you’ve tried to quit many times is a great thing. If we zoom out on this timeline you’ll see that anyone who tries to accomplish something tries multiple times usually until they really get it. It’s like looking at a stock by it’s fluctuations in a difficult week versus its fluctuations over 5 years. In that week, the stock might seem bearish. Over the course of 5 years, the trajectory is clearly positive and bullish. Realizing that right now, you are in the process of quitting and that you will be successful is important. It’s important because it’s true and it’s important because recognizing this truth will allow you to succeed.
As for hating yourself for such gross lack of determination. You are definitely not lacking determination. It shows by your regimen and your career and other things you’ve said. Just because you haven’t succeeded in completely transcending this addiction doesn’t mean you lack determination. Sometimes, certain things are more difficult for certain people. That’s not a reflection of weakness, it’s just a reflection of their learning path and their unique relationship to that path. The emptiness you describe you feel is likely very closely tied to your feelings of self judgment and hatred. Often times, when we feel that way about ourselves, it can suck the life out of our capacity to enjoy other things in our lives and we might end up feeling empty, bored, or unfulfilled.
In regards to the zero drug policy in your country and the prospect of jail time. That’s not really an obstacle unless you want it to be. Meaning, there are many ways to get help. If you’re high functioning right now, you can start to ween yourself off, gradually taking less and less. Simultaneously, instead of going to rehab or something that would be publicly visible, you can work over the phone with a life coach, spiritual coach, or a therapist. Nobody needs to know that you’re working on resolving an addiction except you and your facilitator who will likely offer complete confidentiality. Many people in finance and other professions have a life coach anyways. You can say you’re working on leadership or personal development. Having a facilitator during this process is very highly recommended. It’s very difficult to transcend an addiction without one on one guidance from someone that can help you understand your cravings and dependencies, where is comes from, and how to transcend it.
I hope this is helpful to you, and other high functioning addicts and their family and friends who are looking for help.