The Pain Olympics – Breaking the Cycle of Drug Addiction

This article was written by Aaron Lebold, a guest blogger for the Kill The Heroin Epidemic Nationwide family and network of websites.  Below, Aaron discusses breaking the cycle of addiction and what he calls the “Pain Olympics”.  More information about where to find more of Aaron’s writings can be found at the bottom of the article.

We all have our own reasons for getting involved with substance use.  Most of us have some sort of life event that we can identify as a sort of catalyst. Over time as our addiction consumes us (and it always does), our reasons for using become our permission. Sometimes men and women suffering from drug or heroin addiction are able to do some sort of therapy and even become comfortable talking about their pasts.  However, many are not yet willing to let go of it.

Competing for the “Worst” Drug Addiction Story

Aaron LeBold Addiction BlogsCompetition can be a healthy way for people to challenge themselves and grow, it can also be something that causes people frustration. Have you ever seen someone talk about a horrible event in their lives, and someone else seems to feel the need to respond by sharing their own story in a way that makes it sound like their experience was more tragic?

What would motivate someone to try and give the impression that their life has been more difficult than someone else’s? I feel like this is more common in the world of drug addiction then you may think. Maybe you’ve seen it first hand, or maybe even done it yourself at some point in your life.

The way I see it, when we are in active addiction we need a daily reminder of why we use drugs. Like most things, it is a lot easier to keep doing something self-destructive if you feel that you are justified to do so. Often times I feel people allow themselves to be defined by their tragedies, and are afraid of who they may become if they let go.

Often times when people try to get clean and fail, you will hear a lot of the same rationale. Things like “Nobody can possibly understand how hard things have been for me” or “This doesn’t work for me because my issues are too big to conquer.” This is your addiction manipulating you.

No Addiction Treatment Solution is Good Enough

These are typically the same people that will always find fault in any offered solution. You could give them the best advice you have, and without trying it they will give you five different reasons why it won’t work for their circumstances. This is not because they are ignorant, its because they are afraid.

Some of us cling to our baggage so desperately, and over time we can’t stand the idea of parting with it. We build it up so much in our minds that we become defensive over it. That is where I make the reference to the “Pain Olympics”. Holding on to the idea that your past is your identity, and that nobody understands you can often lead to you feeling the need to defend it.

The Fear of Letting Go

The fear of letting go can become so great, that even the idea of someone trying to tell you that they have a similar story can cause you to advocate your own misfortunes. This is when you may end up going to great lengths to convince yourself, and others that your issues are the most heartbreaking, and that you have been left with no choice but to use drugs to cope.

The longer someone uses drugs, the more chaotic their lives get. As their reality deteriorates, their minds need to amplify the victim role in order to justify the fact that they are still using. Often times the circumstances an addict is facing is blamed on others, which helps to solidify that no one else could understand how hard their life has become.

Ultimately this eventually comes to an end. Sometimes people keep this cycle going until they die as a result, some end up in the prison system and are forced to get clean for the duration of their sentence. Others make the best decision of their lives, and commit to recovery.

Breaking the Bonds of Addiction – What is Recovery?

Getting off drugs is not the same as recovery. It is an essential step, but the real work happens when you can take an honest look at yourself and make some real changes in your life, and in your mind. Part of that entails letting go of those past events that you are convinced define you. Something that happened to you, is not who you are.

If you still find yourself advocating for your demons, or trying to compete with someone else over who has had a worse life, maybe it is something to think about. If you have been given sound advice, and immediately knew it wouldn’t work for you before you even tried it, again this may be something you need to consider.

Need Addiction Help?

Our online community helps men and women suffering from drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves to addiction get the help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.


Written by Aaron Lebold, Guest Blogger For Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Edited and Published by William Charles, Founder, Owner, Publisher of this Community

If you have found this helpful, please support Aaron’s writing by sharing it.  He has several recovery blogs on his Facebook page  Please don’t forget to “Like” his page, which he appreciates.

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