When I’m Not Chasing Demons…

Kenny Chesney’s song “Demons” is one of the best, underrated addiction recovery songs ever written.  The words “when I’m not chasing demons, there’s demons chasing me” could potentially sum up the whole song.  

In active recovery, sometimes it feels like demons of addiction and heartache are always behind a door waiting to be opened by a slight lapse or relapse in judgement.  “Skeletons is closets, ghosts underneath the bed, they hang out in pictures and words better left unsaid” are lyrics from the song that ring true to me.  I relate those ‘skeletons’, ‘ghosts’ and ‘words left unsaid’ to points in my life where I was trying to hide my addiction from others and more importantly, myself.  I used to always wonder if I was “afraid of being free” and how I could live without what is known now as the demons of alcohol in my life.  Almost 4 years sober / in recovery and some may ask “has my recovery been easier than week 1”  and my response is “yes”, “Do I still have an addiction that is life threatening if not treated properly”? “Yes I do and always will”. I do not believe there is a cure for addiction and after a person has been identified as an alcoholic or addict they can start successfully using again and maintain a productive life for an extended amount of time.  

I started drinking again after over a year of sobriety and then I relapsed in 2005, I thought I was doing fine at the time and my rationalizations were in full force.  I wasn’t drinking nearly like I used to and life seemed to be great.  Bottom line was my tolerance had decreased so much that it didn’t take much for me to feel the burn / buzz from it.  It didn’t take long before I could feel the liquid poison spread through my veins and I could physically and mentally feel the numbness.  As months and years passed, I continued to spiral out of control.  At the time, I didn’t realize that because of one drink, I let those demons fully back into my life.  I knew I wanted to drink again and I was bound and determined to control it, but I was wrong.

The quote “one is one too many and one more is never enough” rings true to my experience with addiction. I feel like and know there are demons of addiction lurking in the shadows, waiting to actively reenter my life.  Although a person is in active recovery, those demons of addiction, (doesn’t matter what kind of addiction), are always there waiting to be set free in a person’s mind and actions.

Today, I live with addiction, but in a state of active recovery.  I do not believe that I will ever be set “free” from the mental aspect of addiction, but I continue to live free from the poison of alcohol.  Living in active recovery makes me feel at times like I am set free.  I’m living free from the trembles, shakes, withdrawals, mental and spiritual devastation of actively consuming alcohol, but recovery is more than that.  Recovery has to be rooted in a persons values, beliefs (Higher Power if you so choose), morals and will-power to succeed followed by actions.  

Today I am thankful to be in active recovery and for all of those people in the world that are also living in active recovery.  I pray for those who have not seen the light of recovery and hope that they will join the brotherhood and sisterhood of the recovery community, one day at a time.

What kind of Demons do you have in your life that may be lurking in the shadows and what are you doing to keep them at bay?

Please share any strategies and coping skills you use for those of us in recovery or for those seeking recovery.  Learning at least one concept a day could change the life of 1, 100, 1,000, 100,000, etc…

Have a Blessed Day 🙂 

“Demons” – Kenny Chesney

LYRICS:
Sometimes they’re in a bottle,
Sometimes a pair of high-heel shoes,
Some come rolled in paper
Some have six strings and only play the blues
Once you’ve met the devil
There ain’t no way he’ll let you be
When I’m not chasing demons,
There’s demons chasing me

Skeletons in closets
Ghosts underneath the bed
They hide out in pictures
And words better left unsaid
They hang around like perfume
And haunt me like an ancient melody
When I’m not chasing demons,
There’s demons chasing me

There’s things that I can’t leave alone
‘Cause they won’t leave me alone
What I want ain’t what I need
Still I reach for the things I crave
Then try to run away
Am I afraid of being free
‘Cause when I’m not chasing demons
There’s demons chasing me

So roll one up and light it
Pick up my old guitar
I’m playing crossroads
Drinking whiskey from a mason jar
Heartache at my front door
Says she needs my company
When I’m not chasing demons
There’s demons chasing me

There’s things that I can’t leave alone
‘Cause they won’t leave me alone
What I want ain’t what I need
Still I reach for the things I crave
Then try to run away
Am I afraid of being free
‘Cause when I’m not chasing demons
There’s demons chasing me

When I’m not chasing demons
There’s demons chasing me

Demons chasing me [repeats]

5 thoughts on “When I’m Not Chasing Demons…

  1. Boy, you really hit so many nails on the head! I appreciated your recital of the bad side of alcohol addiction, hangovers, shaking, etc. Twenty two years sober and I still remember those — and towards the end, having to drink in the morning just to resemble “normal”. A terrible ride, and one I don’t want to take again. I’ve been in the program long enough to know that the accumulation of years doesn’t mean that relapse isn’t possible. I don’t dwell on the stupid, ridiculous things I did when I was drinking, but I do remember them, and never want to be in the terrible place again. I like the demons allusion because I think being at the bottom of my drinking downward spiral was like meeting the devil. And I like the song, though I’ve never heard it before. Good luck in your recovery, and keep coming back. The steps help you not only life sober, but live better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thought I would share. I hate how an addiction status is always given no matter how long u are clean. Like hell u have your own demons to deal with yet when I speak to ex addicts they always say they have a label when ppl are nasty they always bring up the past. Society needs to change because truth is we all addicted to some thing weather it be a substance or social media and addiction lives in us all.

    Like

    • Addict’s and alcoholics do have labels and that is unfortunate. As a recovering alcoholic, I know the label exists and isn’t going anywhere. Does it have to be announced to everyone… Only the people I tell or share my life story with. Do I like it? No, of course not. The stigma, generalizations and stereotypes of what an addict / alcoholic is or isn’t, is what needs to change. A person can’t judge a book by it’s cover and that goes for people in and outside of recovery. I agree that everyone has their demons in life no matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be an addiction, as it can be a variety of things. I think it is great that you pointed this out.

      Like

    • Thank you, Mumtazsm. I agree with you. I have a problem carrying the addict label. I belong to a SAA group. I use the “Addict” label to help other members in the group. 50 years of conditioning from my addiction makes aware that I always have to remain on guard to the things I once was addicted to. I can easily go back into my old ways. Dale

      Liked by 2 people

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