Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

Feeling “High” – The Never Ending Search

There are countless times I’ve felt “high.”

Yes, we can go to the obvious, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about that state of euphoria that can show up in hundreds of ways, every day of our lives.

These are what some may call “natural” highs, or moments when we’re shifted into a place of feeling really good about something. These aren’t created or pre-meditated, they simply seem to evolve naturally.

Yet on the other hand there those “high” moments which are created.  These I know all too well.

I felt them as soon as that first drink went down my throat and I could feel the alcohol hit my system.  I felt them the moment the number popped up on the scale reading less than it did just a few hours before.

These “high” moments were almost always accompanied by elevated self-confidence and, to a certain extent, relief.  I was relieved because, once again, I was able to create that “high” feeling for myself – no matter at what cost.

But here’s the kicker …  as hard as I tried, that “high” was never as good as the first one.  Never.

And this is how the cycle begins and you’re trapped in a never-ending cycle.

I don’t care what unhealthy coping behavior one engages in, the obsession to relive that initial high is powerful.  More powerful than I think I ever thought it could be.

Yet I did it anyway and I’d stop at nothing to get there again and again and again.

And it wasn’t just to feel it, it was also in the hot pursuit of it.  I be filled with excitement and breathless with anticipation.  My heart would race and I could barely contain myself as I’d pour the wine or pull the clothes off to step on the scale.

It was hell.

It was a living nightmare each and every single solitary day for decades of my life.

By the amazing grace of God, I somehow found my way out of that world of limitless obsession.  I’ve recovered from that place in my head and will do whatever it takes to never, ever have to go back there again.

However … as I’ve been living a far more healthy life, I’ve come to notice I do indeed still have this insatiable desire to feel something really great over and over and over again.  I suppose you could call it a “high” but certainly not via the life-threatening manner as before.

I’m referring to things like,

– receiving a compliment and desiring to hear another one, hoping it will be equally as impressive within my heart

– finishing a project and rushing to start another one just like it in order to feel, yet again, the self-satisfaction for a job well done

– using the last of something and quickly looking to open a brand new container, hoping to feel elevated by the “newness” and freshness of it

– smelling something really good and immediately wanting to recreate the steps leading me to have it wander into my nose

And while these are no doubt powerful they are also the every day reminders of how wonderful it is to be alive.

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