Betty Ford and The Big Lie

Several years ago, Betty Ford came out with a brilliant phrase that described addiction in three words — “The Big Lie.”

Through my own experience as a alcoholic and a drug addict, I can tell you she is right on the money, I remember at the time when the commercials ran, I did not get it, actually I was just starting my own hard bumpy road of lies and warped perceptions. My friends and myself made fun of that phrase for years.

When I took those first drinks and began smoking marijuana, honestly I could not remember what my head was saying. But what I can tell you is that years later I began experimenting with cocaine,heroin, quaaludes, ecstasy, methamphetamines, mushrooms, and many other drugs. I would occasionally try and stop or moderate. That is when I learned first hand exactly what Mrs. Ford was talking about. I will never forget that morning.

I had managed to get myself in quite a bit of legal trouble and agreed to go to treatment. There was a doctor there that did a lecture on the disease concept of addiction. I remember him talking about the pleasure receptors in an addicts brain… these will eventually quit “firing.”

And I could certainly relate to that. Before I went to treatment, I could not get high anymore and I could not get sober either. It was horrific!

So I was sitting in my condo dwelling on all the trouble I had gotten myself into. I had no defense against drug use and was not working any type of recovery program. I finally talked myself into going and buying some crack cocaine. All the way there I was telling myself how it would not change anything. Though I told myself I would just use once. I got the stuff and got back to my place and did it. I took that first hit and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever experienced. That is why I loved this stuff so much. I did not know at the time what was going on. See, I had given my brain a chance to heal. When I took that first hit, my pleasure receptors said “Bingo! This is marvelous! Everything is going to be ok!” This is the BIG LIE.

When I came down from my drug high, all my problems were right there again and the only way I could feel better was to get more. The problem was that my pleasure receptors grew dull and non responsive. So there I went again – chasing my tail until I got in even more trouble. I was trying to be rid of the fear.

Finally, Surrender

After over twenty years of experimenting and trying to control the situation and prove that I was different. I finally surrendered. My way did not work and never would.

I began taking suggestions, I was able to do step one immediately. Steps 2,3,4, and 5 took me years to fully understand and do. That is right, they took me years. This is one of the reasons I do not understand a lot of treatment programs that want these steps done in 30,60,or 90 days.

Had anyone forced me to do these steps, I probably would not be here today. At my own pace with the help of a couple of different sponsors I was able to complete the steps and finally experience for myself, that everything these 12 step programs are talking about is true.

Slowly but surely, I have developed a relationship with a power greater then myself that is better then any drug I have ever done at anytime.

I was able to change mentally, morally, and emotionally through a series of actions. I have had a psychic change, and when I lose touch with that higher power I have other ways to connect and be rid of fear. There are many times during the week I feel just as euphoric. Sometimes I can feel ten times more euphoric than I ever did while using drugs.

Today, I am not scared or fearful nearly as much. Sometimes I get scared for other people when I hear them say things like “I can do it on my own.” Thought I know that as long as they keep coming back, they will have a chance at the same awakening experience that I have had.

Its like being “rocketed into the fourth dimension” – I could never had dreamed it would be so good.

Thanks to my higher power – some call it God. For many that stands for

– Alumni Blogger