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Crossing the Line

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Once across the line into addiction, we can never go back >>

Something in our bodies changes.  Some switch is flipped.

Probably something about our biochemistry.

Nobody knows.

But we can't go back.

Cameron's Class on The line that separates using from addiction 

“Good morning,” said Cameron, our counselor.  “Today, we're going to talk about crossing the line.  Anyone know what that is?”


Mike raised his hand.  “The invisible line that separates the men from the boys.”

“Uh, no,” said Cameron, laughing.  “I’m talking about the line that separates using from addiction.  Just using a lot of drugs or booze doesn’t make me an addict.  What’s the difference?”


“Someone who uses a lot of drugs can still quit when they want,” I said.  “But guys like me and Mike have lost that ability.  Once we pick up the first drink or the first drug, we don’t stop until we pass out or run out of stuff.”


“But it’s more than that,” said Cameron.  “What about this line?”


“The Old Timers says it’s like turning a grape into a raisin,” said Mike.  “A raisin can never go back to being a grape again.”


“Or a cucumber into a pickle,” said a voice form the back of the room.

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Using is a choice.

Addiction is a disease.

You've Used Up a Lifetime Supply of Drugs and Alcohol

“We didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to become alcoholics,”

said Robert.  “It didn’t happen like that.   For years I sucked down tons of drugs and booze.   Then one day, something happened.   My body changed.   I crossed the line.”


“What’s that?” I asked.

My descent into the bottle seemed slow and gradual

“The line that separates using from abusing,” said Robert.   “Once across that line I’ve lost all control over my using.   Where once I could take it or leave it, now I can only take it.   Once across this line I can never go back to just using again.   I’ll never be able to drink like normal people.   “My descent into the bottle seemed slow and gradual. 


“Or an addict?” I asked.


Addiction is like diabetes

“Ah,” I said.   “You mean like diabetes.   A person can have a tendency towards diabetes but never actually develop the disease.   But once he crosses the line from pre-diabetes to the full blown disease, he can never go back.   No matter how well he controls his diet he can never go back to eating sugar.   His disease will always be there, waiting.   Every morning for the rest of his life, when he wakes up, he’ll be a diabetic.


Vera filled her cup and joined us.


“So, for the rest of my life,

every morning when I wake up, I’ll be an alcoholic?"

she said


“Yup,” said Mike.   “You’ve used up a lifetime supply of drugs and alcohol,”


“The cupboard is bare,” I said.

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I slipped imperceptably into my addiction 

My drinking just slid slowly, imperceptibly downhill. 

From one glass of wine after dinner, to two glasses, to a bottle,

then two bottles every night.

Once across the line, we are full blown addicts 

We are powerless over our drug of choice.  No amount of will power, self-knowledge, or abstinence will help us.  Only a true and overwhelming spiritual awakening that completely changes the core of our beings will work.