Emmanuel Anderson is proof positive that drug addiction can happen to anyone. It’s not a reflection on your education or social status, as sometimes it just takes one simple mistake to head down the wrong path. Sadly, addiction is not only a dangerous life but often deadly. Fortunately, people can reclaim their lives by learning from their mistakes, embracing positive thinking, and making healthy new habits. This story reveals one journalist’s triumph over drugs.
Anderson’s story began in his hometown in Ghana. By the time he was a sophomore in high school, Anderson was what most people would call a “good boy.” He had never tasted alcohol or even smoked a cigarette by this point. He thought of himself as someone “green” or inexperienced.
He hung out with a group of “cool kids” at his high school–the hip-hop guys. In fact, he enjoyed this association, as they were the guys who got all the pretty girls. The real problem was that Anderson’s parents kept him very sheltered from the world around him. When he got his first taste of freedom during his sophomore year of high school, everything changed.
One Bad Choice Was All It Took
Freedom comes with a cost, but Anderson maintained his good-boy status for a few years. It wasn’t until he met a new friend that his entire world began to change. His friend had a boyfriend who used drugs heavily, and he seemed to be always hanging out with Anderson.
Naturally, everyone assumed that he also smoked weed because of the company he kept. One afternoon Anderson was hanging out with these two friends. The girl asked him if he smoked, and he was afraid he would sound uncool if he told the truth.
So, he told her he did smoke marijuana. Before he knew it, she had a joint out of her pocket and lit it, offering him a hit. This was his first encounter with any drug, and it didn’t take long for the drug addiction to snowball.
Plan B in Life Came with Serious Consequences
His senior year was supposed to be the highlight of his life, but he failed his final exams. He could not go to college, and his plan B was to travel the world and gain a new perspective. Anderson felt that if he left the area, no one would think anything different of him.
Many people travel and put off college for a few years. He didn’t want to be known as someone who failed, but the drug addiction to marijuana was already affecting his life. His parents didn’t have the funds to help him travel, so he became a stowaway to get to Europe. Anderson grew up in the Ghana port city of Takoradi, so it was easy for him to stow away and emigrate to another country.
The only problem is that this is a hazardous way to travel. It was at this point that his drug addiction took a turn for the worse. Being a stowaway sounds innocent enough. But it’s very tough, and you can quickly lose your life.
Anderson tried to make it the best he could, but the only way he could keep his morale was to use both drugs and alcohol. At night, he had to use a small canoe in the sea, and if the canoe capsized, you must swim to shore. You will perish in the cold waters if you’re not strong enough to make it.
Alcohol and drugs gave him the confidence to keep up with this process, but the addiction only grew. There was nothing he could do about it, as he had made the wrong decision, and now his drug addiction and choices were ruining his life.
Enough Was Enough, Anderson Said of Drug Addiction!
Seven long years passed, and Anderson still hadn’t done anything with his life. He never made it to the local university, and at this point, depression set in. If you know anything about drug addiction and depression, you will see that they often run together.
According to a National Library of Medicine study, about 46 percent of people with addiction also have depression issues. Some centers treat both as this dual diagnosis is hard to manage. For Anderson, things became unbearable.
So many people find that the drug isn’t working anymore and need more of the same thing to cope with the pain. It was at this point that he made a life-altering declaration. He was done!
Anderson felt like he was losing himself as the dream to travel never happened, and he didn’t find pleasure in doing drugs anymore. He called these atomic habits, and he was determined to conquer them. He finally got the opportunity to go through the Sahara Desert and eventually make it to Europe.
Sadly, even on this journey, he faced significant risks, but he knew he had to try at least because he was losing himself to substance abuse. During this long journey, he gave up his drug addiction once and for all.
Three Steps to Form New Habits to Combat Drug Addiction
Anderson was delighted when he finally made it to the United Kingdom. He knew that it was time to make some much-needed changes. Like so many folks find themselves, Anderson was stuck between pain and pleasure and couldn’t escape.
The problem was that he didn’t feel pleasure or satisfaction anymore. He wasn’t making his life better because his drug addiction was making things worse.
Anderson knew that if he wanted to start the journey towards sobriety, he must break free from the addiction. He used the pain caused by the addiction to motivate himself. These are the steps he took.
1. Change the Atmosphere
Anderson realized he couldn’t stop his addiction if he didn’t remove himself from the situation. It wasn’t until he got to Europe that he felt sobriety was possible because his environment was different. He began his journey towards positive thinking, and he could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Focus on the Future
By this time, Anderson had wasted most of his life. He needed to become focused on his future. He knew he would never become anything with this monkey on his back, so he had to free himself from the entanglement. Positive thinking and declaring where he was going helped him to realize his mind was a powerful tool in beating the drug addiction.
3. Staying the Course
Conquering drug addiction is one of the most challenging things you can do in this life. However, you must stick to the course. When you try to break free from such a powerful hold, there will be many chains trying to hold you back.
Positive thinking and a made-up mind will keep you from backsliding. You can only be free if you commit to your new habits, no matter how tempting your old life might seem.
Why Does the Pain/Pleasure Analysis Mean So Much?
For Anderson, it was the pain/pleasure analysis that he used to rationalize his way free from addiction. He knew that his habit was causing him way more pain than pleasure. It wasn’t until he reached that point that he could obtain sobriety.
So many times, family members and friends try to push people to get help and fight their addiction, but the person isn’t ready. Until they get to the point where they realize that the drug is ruining their life, they won’t get help. No therapy, screaming sessions from his parents, or endless begging from his friends made any difference to Anderson.
It wasn’t until he could see the damage the drugs did to him that things changed. He had to use positive thinking to combat all the negativity that comes with addiction, but it worked.
Anderson’s journey had some unique aspects, but it was a challenging journey, just like so many others face. He learned that it takes a ton of work and dedication to break a bad habit, as it’s much easier to create good ones.
He also learned that the crowd you hang around means everything. You can’t get sober amidst other drug users, as you must remove yourself from the atmosphere to stop the temptation. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 8.5 million American adults with addiction also have a mental illness. Treating this mental health issue is imperative for the journey towards sobriety.
Final Thoughts on Using Positive Thinking to Make Healthy New Habits and Beat Drug Addiction
If you struggle with drug addiction, you can overcome this battle, Anderson says. You must first decide that you need help and then take the first step towards getting it. You know you’ve had enough when you see that the drug is ruining your life and not helping anymore.
Anderson offers this advice:
“Whatever life you’re living reflects what’s going on in you. To have a great life means having your internal world under control. You do that by ensuring you engage in things that bring you peace. And if trying to do it demands you get come people out of your life because of their ways, you do it.”
It’s not until a person gets to this point that they can receive the help they need. For example, Emmanuel Anderson needed to experience the worst time of his life before he could move in the right direction. Today, he’s a journalist with a successful career–and an exciting new life in Spain. But his life could have been very different if he hadn’t decided that he was done with the lifestyle and formed new habits to break through drug addiction.