(2020 Poll) You: 51 | Addiction: 49

Some people are feeling like there is no way to “win” the 2020 Presidential Election because neither candidate aligns with their views. When options are limited, it’s not surprising for people to feel like there is no “good” choice. Of course, this feeling transcends politics and infiltrates all areas of life. One of these areas is those struggling with addiction. They face two options: continue engaging in their addictive behavior or getting clean.

At the beginning of the relationship with addiction, the choice usually doesn’t seem so difficult. Addiction wins hands down. This is because addiction works much like an emotionally abusive partner. At the start, everything is perfect. You finally feel happy. Maybe your anxiety levels are lower than they ever have been. You can’t believe it took you this long to find the magic bullet that makes life bearable, or maybe even… enjoyable?! But the second they know they have you clutched around your finger, the facade disappears. Now, you’re stuck. All you want is to get back to the “before” times when everything actually felt okay. You’ll use more drugs to get the same effect as before or you’ll take out a loan to try and get back the mortgage you gambled away…by gambling more, and before you know it you’re deeper and deeper in the clutches of addiction.

Once you get to the point that continuing down the path of addiction no longer seems like an alluring choice, you’re then dichotomously left with sobriety as an option. This didn’t seem like a good choice before, and it very well may not now – even if you’ve hit a “rock bottom”. Sobriety means putting an end to so many aspects of the life you lead while in active addiction, not merely ceasing the addictive behavior. As such, choosing sobriety doesn’t always feel good in the moment. In fact, it can feel like you’re mourning the death of your old life.

Much to the surprise of our younger selves, winning doesn’t always automatically feel good. It can make us feel like we didn’t win anything at all; if we aren’t happy about it, we must have lost in actuality, right? Wrong. Making the best choices with the options we are given is a win in and of itself. We may not have faith in that sentiment as soon as the election results come in, or the second the initial paperwork is signed for a rehabilitation program. But, regardless of where you are in your recovery process, or who is Commander in Chief in January, don’t forget we can lose battles yet still win the war.

-Courtney Judd