What it was Like on the Wrong Side of Addiction

Overcoming addiction is the easiest hardest thing. There’s a way that works every time.

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Whether it’s dependence or addiction, for me, is a moot point. When taking a substance or engaging in a practice becomes something you can’t stop, that’s a problem.

For me, I cast my mind back to September 2003 and beyond, especially the previous two years when I was focused that much on my career, I used alcohol and at times cannabis and tobacco mainly at weekends but occasionally during the week to manage the stress of many work pressures. It was a cosmic irony that at the time I coordinated an alcohol and drug program for the oil company I worked for!

These are some of the costs I bore in those times:

  • I compromised as a father and always felt guilty that I drank more than I should much more often than I should have
  • I let down a marriage partner who held out year after year that I’d reform my ways and not continually spend hard-earned dollars on the drink
  • the cycle of guilt that would ravage me as I drove into work in the company four-wheel-drive knowing, that though I would have registered zero BAC, I was feeling the effects of drinking the night before
  • I’d be seriously concerned that co-workers could smell the alcohol on me, through my pores, and this meant that subconsciously I felt like a hypocrite
  • ironically, it was mostly when I was inebriated that I dreamt of being in control of my life, and I knew as long as alcohol was a part of my life those dreams were just that—dreams, that may never have been realized
  • I constantly planned the next ‘escape’, never realizing I wasn’t escaping work or finding my way to peace, but I was escaping the pain that needed to be faced


The worst thing that happened to me proved to be the best thing. The moment my first marriage dissolved in an instant (that’s a whole other story) was the very moment the GOD got my attention. I’d been faking it for nearly 13 years. Suddenly I was in a position where—having lost everything basically—I set a 180-degree course correction. I’d toyed with the idea of doing AA for years, always rationalizing that I could stop drinking on my own (I never did).

Upon submitting to the complete AA way of doing things, I learned the value of community (I desperately needed to be around others who knew what it was like to be broken!), my need of boots ‘n’ all recovery, and the heart that resides behind service. Once I’d engaged wholeheartedly in the Steps, I soon realized that was on the most ardent spiritual journey. I was embraced by the church, then put into leadership where I could be mentored and guided.

I never looked back once I worked out that there was really no way back to that old life. I simply had to move forward. Not that I didn’t hate it. It was the worst grief I’ve ever experienced. BUT I was propelled forward on a journey (at the time I loathed the word ‘journey’!) that insisted on faith. The weirdest thing about that journey was it was a mix of brokenness and victory.

If you have a problem with alcohol, drugs, addictive practices, remember the role of guilt and shame in the cycles of impulsion and compulsion will make it impossible for you to overcome these problems in your own strength.


Overcoming addiction is the easiest hardest thing. There’s a way that works every time.


The more we seek help in humility,

the more we depend on a proven recovery process,

the more truthful we are about our pain,

the more we hold ourselves accountable,

and the more do it one day at a time,

the more we reach out for help when we’re weak,

the more chances we forge for ourselves a brand-new path.


Why do I write this kind of article? It’s for those who now are like I was 18 years ago.

I prospered because people invested time in me by listening to me. They helped by supporting me as I did my work. Like it is for us all, it’s only me-myself-I who can do the work, but we do need support.

When you receive support you when you really need it, you want to sow that support forward



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework

Featured Image by akbaranifsolo from Pixabay

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

Steve Wickham is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. He holds several roles, including husband, father, peacemaker championing peacemaking for children and adults, conflict coach and mediator, church pastor, counselor, funeral celebrant, chaplain, mentor, and Board Secretary. He holds degrees in Science, Divinity (2), and Counselling. Steve is also a Christian minister serving CyberSpace i.e. here.