Addiction and Being a Chameleon

Walking toward sunlight
Photo by zxvisual/

Growing up, I morphed myself into what I thought others would accept, hoping I would eventually accept myself. I started drinking and using drugs in order to cope with the immense pressure of keeping up with all the personalities I had created. I wanted to write this to hopefully help those who struggle with self love and identity.

When you spend your entire life feeling a lack of overall acceptance, you begin to crave it to the extent you can create a person you feel will be accepted by others. In time, you constantly change who you are depending on the group you surround yourself with. This may seem like a solution to your problem, however, you soon struggle to keep up with this new person who you have created. You end up living your life in fear the two different groups will come together, each who know different versions of you. Constantly altering who you are to satisfy the desires of others results in immense pressure which can be dangerous for someone struggling with addiction. I can think of times when I could not handle this pressure, and turned to substances in order to cope.

I found myself in this exact scenario countless times. I was suppressing who I was and had no form of self-expression, and the only outlet I had was drinking and doing drugs. Changing who I was to “fit in” became a habit and became my way to cope. Unfortunately, what I failed to understand is the cause of this desire for outward acceptance was a lack of my own self-acceptance. I saw faults within myself and put that responsibility on others. I subconsciously thought if the world loved and accepted me, then I would gain the ability to love and accept myself. In hindsight, I wasn’t changing in order to be accepted by others but to discover a version of me I could be okay with. It wasn’t until coming to Narconon that I learned what self-love and self-acceptance actually looked like.

At Narconon I had the opportunity to look inward and realize what I was missing all along. I learned to confront many situations and people. I’ve learned to be there comfortably, and accept myself. There were times I would get upset over things I couldn’t control, and I learned not to get upset over it, and even if I cannot change the outcome, I could still control the way I react. There are situations I handled that I have intentionally and unintentionally avoided for years. I no longer feel the need to be anyone other than myself.

This is quite life-changing, since I have battled with this issue the greater majority of my childhood and all of my adult life. Many people did not know this about me since I walked with my head held high to conceal this inner self-loathing with a fake cloak of confidence.

To learn to love myself and accept myself, I had to start with being open and honest with myself. In acknowledging and taking responsibility for all of my actions, good and bad, I gained a sense of relief. Especially understanding I cannot change the past, but I can be accountable for it and take the necessary steps to ensure I don’t make the same mistakes again.

“There was no light until I became the light and learned to use the tools Narconon has given me, not only to survive, but to live!”

Since refusing to change who I am, I am able to walk in my truth every single day. Life once seemed so painful and dark to me. There was no light until I became the light and learned to use the tools Narconon has given me, not only to survive, but to live! I no longer desperately desire acceptance from others because I consciously give that to myself every day; whether they love me or hate me, it doesn’t affect me or my true utter happiness. I am grateful for how far I’ve come and I am excited to see where life takes me with my new outlook.

—F.L., Narconon Graduate



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.