The Highway to Hell Has No Exits

On a holiday weekend, New Jersey is the home of traffic jams, long lines, and people with short tempers. As the temperature increases, so do these traits. If you were stuck in traffic, particularly accident traffic, you could be there for a while. It feels like you are in hell.
However there is a different form of hell known quite intimately by people with addictions. It is the “highway to hell”.

Living easy, living free
Season ticket on a one-way ride
Asking nothing, leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Don’t need reason, don’t need rhyme
Ain’t nothing I would rather do
Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too
I’m on the highway to hell
No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody’s gonna mess me round
Hey Satan, payed my dues
Playing in a rocking band
Hey Momma, look at me
I’m on my way to the promised land
I’m on the highway to hell
(Don’t stop me)
And I’m going down, all the way down
I’m on the highway to hell

On the highway to hell, the addicted person is driving on a path of self destruction, they are going to continue to use, going to continue to have problems and consequences, and continue to do it again and again. There is no escape, there are no exits, there is only pain, and more pain. This highway is littered with the ultimate consequences of addiction “jails, institutions and death”.

While driving on the highway to hell without exits, occasionally there is a sign which reads “turnaround ahead”. Depending on the speed that I am driving, I may or may not see it. If I don’t see it through may addicted haze, I’ll continue to drive with the same reckless abandon that I have been driving with. There may be many signs: “disaster ahead”, “cops approaching” “brick wall .5 miles ahead” “lightpost beyond the turn”, “wife leaving”–I may not be reading them, I may however be feeling them shortly.

These “signs” may lead to that “moment of clarity” an opportunity to examine my addiction. This clarity may lead me to examine my addiction privately or even publically–at a 12 step meeting, with a counselor, at a treatment facility, or even in a jail or hospital. Optimistically speaking, after my examination, I decide to make major lifestyle changes, and get off the highway to hell.

However, many people don’t make an examination, and some people who do, are not ready to keep this change. For reasons known to them, and for reasons not known to them, they get back on the highway to hell and drive even faster and more recklessly than before. They know that they will crash(particularly the ones that did any type of self-examination) and they know it will not be pretty. Sometimes however, it is that pain which starts the process of recovery to occur.
The process of recovery is a strange and beautiful thing. It occurs in my greatest pain, but changes my life so dramatically. It is in fact “amazing” that it happens at all and we’ll discuss how it happens next time.

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