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Spoons are utensils used for eating foods like soup and ice cream. For heroin addicts, spoons are commonly used for a completely different purpose; preparing heroin to inject into their bodies. I was someone that often used a spoon. Unfortunately, even though I’m in recovery now, The Monkey loves to use this utensil to remind me of my use. If someone has a fancy spoon, The Monkey whispers in my ear, “Hey that spoon would have been good to use for shooting up, huh?”
My thought? Yeah, it would have been.
I was out to eat with someone dear to my heart the other night and he had asked me, “What is your relationship like with heroin?”
I was caught by surprise with this question. I’ve been to many sessions of therapy for my addiction and recovery and have been asked almost any question you can imagine, but never that one. He works in the recovery profession so I knew he had a good intention of asking me that question and he always challenges me, but in a compassionate way with a goal in mind.
I had to think about my relationship with heroin. I didn’t have a straight answer. My best answer was that it was a “love-hate” relationship, but even that answer didn’t feel right. I loved the physical high that heroin gave me, but I hated the physical dependency and withdrawal. I loved how it could numb any negative emotion, but I hated how it prevented me from feeling and expressing emotions that I needed to release. There are many more feelings of hate for heroin and The Monkey than love. Any feelings of love were all lies anyways. The Monkey had his way of tricking me into believing that it was love. I started getting angry and upset when I thought about how much I hate heroin for what it’s done to so many innocent people besides myself. It’s taken lives and destroyed families and loved ones. Despite all that hate, The Monkey loves to allow the feelings of “false love” creep into mind to convince me that it’s “real love”.
After describing my relationship with heroin, he then picked up a spoon that was on the table and told me to look at the spoon and tell him what I saw. I saw my reflection, except it was showing me upside-down.
“Heroin turns you and your life upside-down.” He said.
I was fascinated by this. Here was a spoon that I couldn’t help but think of it as a tool for injecting heroin, that told the story of what heroin does to myself and my life. It gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach.
This new way of viewing this spoon didn’t end there. I had gone home and told my mother about this perception. She grabbed a spoon from the kitchen drawer and sat back down at the table with it. She said, “What if you flip the spoon over, as if you were dumping out the heroin, what would your reflection look like then?”
So, we tested it out. I pretended to dump imaginary heroin out of the spoon and I looked at myself in the reflection of the bottom of the spoon.
My reflection was right-side up.
If I use heroin, my life will turn upside-down. If I dump out the heroin and choose not to use it, my life will be right-side up.
Now every time The Monkey tries to use an eating utensil as a reminder of the other purpose I used it for, I will look into the spoon and see myself in a view that I don’t want to make a reality. I will turn that spoon over and remind myself that the way I’m seeing myself is how I want my reality to stay.
And if I ever find myself with a spoon filled with this poison, I’ll remind myself that the only way to prevent myself from turning my life upside-down, is to dump it out and change my reflection to right-side up.
When I live in recovery, I learn that I can’t always change a person, place, or thing. However, I can change my perception to a view that will prevent me from using at that moment. With these new thoughts, I don’t have to feed the fear and desire of using.
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