Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Been a while since I have posted in here. So easy to write when things aren’t too good, not so easy when life isn’t too bad, but here we go.
ONE YEAR DRY.
Yep. I have gone a full 12 months without a drop of alcohol passing my lips. After more years than I care to remember at various levels of dependency to “the demon drink” I feel I have really kicked it into touch. In this year several milestones had to be, and have been passed. From my first evening spent with a couple of friends or family with no alcohol present I’ve managed to build my confidence, slowly but surely and start rebuilding some sort of social life. You don`t realise just how much alcohol figures in every day life till you start living without it. The first big family event, going out for something to eat, meeting friends in a pub all filled me with dread. Well, to be quite honest with you, pretty much everything filled me with dread. As an addict your mind tends to associate more or less everything with your substance or behaviour of choice.
Feeling happy? Let’s get pissed to celebrate.
Feeling down? I know just the thing for that.
It’s my birthday
Its someone else’s birthday
There’s a y in the day….
You get the idea.
All these associations have to be broken, or at least ignored in some way. Recovery itself takes constant maintenance. The urges to use may become less frequent but they can and do still hit you like a sledgehammer. If you have nothing in place to help you ride them out then you are in trouble. The major tool in my armoury has been my SMART recovery group. The group is an amazing way to remind yourself to never get complacent, recovery is a full-time job. I won’t bother you with too many details about SMART, suffice to say it gives you an assortment of “tools” to use to deal with the challenges faced by being in recovery. The SMART group I attend has been so useful and effective that I`ve trained to facilitate my own meetings to help others starting out on the rocky road to recovery.
The best bits about being dry? Besides the obvious mental and physical health benefits? No more lies. Feeding an addiction of any sort will involve lies. Lots of lies. Lies to yourself, and those near and dear to you. Of course, they’re not real lies at the time, they don’t really count, all that matters is feeding that addiction. The freedom from the shackles of addiction is a wonderful thing. Almost a rebirth. After so many selfish years its wonderful to be truthful and put the needs and feelings of others ahead of that of your addiction. To be back in control of your life, to be able to make decisions not based around the need to feed is at first terrifying but ultimately incredibly satisfying. Suffice to say there isn’t a single thing in my life and the lives of those around me that hasn’t been improved by quitting.
Am I “cured” now?
Don`t think there ever will be a “cure”. Best I can do is carry on treating the symptoms of my addiction, know the triggers and how to deal with them, know the danger areas and avoid them when possible, know how to handle them when not. Most of all though, carry on enjoying and appreciating the new life I have and being thankful for the strength and encouragement from those close to me.