The Addicted’s Spirit Tank is Always on E
The Using Addict’s Gas Tank
For those who aren’t addicted or have never been maybe this metaphor will help.
Think of your spiritual reserves as a fuel tank. When we start out in life we have a big tank that can take us many miles for days at a time. People who have not been addicted to a chemical have a tank similar in size to the one they were raised with. Spiritually healthy people can travel through very difficult environments and life stressors for long periods without worrying about getting stuck or running out of spirit fuel. Some people actually create more capacity as times goes on, as they mature and learn to cope with life; but not the addict. Their spiritual fuel tank actually reduces in size much like an old rechargeable battery that is never quite same after a few uses.
Think of how it feels when you’re driving down the road and you suddenly notice that your car gas tank is on “E” or when you notice that the little warning light has come on. You know that you’ll be cutting it close but that you THINK you can make it, you always have. The gas station is always in the same place and they have never run out of what you need (as long as you have money).
Now imagine that your car has been getting worse and worse gas mileage so now you are beginning to have greater doubts about making it to your destination. You know that feeling right? (Maybe even like running out of coffee at home, or cigarettes or diapers or milk.) All you need is a gas station and your worries go away. Maybe you’ve even gone to the station on a holiday and found it closed; think of that emotional reaction.
This is the same fear based feeling of the addicted. They experience a sense of dis-ease when they have gone some time or distance without using; when their stash tank is empty. They know they need to fill up soon. They are worried about being on “E” but unlike you they don’t think they’ll make it to the next station so they “cop” their fuel as soon as they can find it; wherever they can find it; even if it’s in grandma’s medicine cabinet.
The addict is always running on empty. The longer they use the more their tank (capacity) shrinks, the more they need; more often. The only thing beyond their chemical that can power their poor running spirit machine is a Power that won’t ever run out and can never be depleted if they maintain their spiritual condition and their connection to it. (Like a fuel line.)
This is why 12 Step Recovery programs like AA and NA work. Once the addicted finds a reliable alternative fuel to the one they’ve been using (running out of all the time) they find stability and security. Once they realize (accept) that they have a little tank they start going to meetings long before they are depleted, even daily. They attain peace of mind because they know that they can make it to the station before they run out. They realize that the free fuel of recovery and staying ahead of the curve of “need” allows them to focus on the more important aspects of real life that includes taking care of their other life problems.
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Need some clarity on the How and Why of addiction? Read the books; Addiction: Why They Use (A handbook for anyone who loves an alcoholic or addict) and Addiction; Am I Powerless (Self assessing, a users guide to the truth)…