I’m in a bad way: I have only just made it to the bathroom before throwing up; sitting there on my cold floor tiles I put my head between my knees just to keep upright. The room is spinning, rotating all around me like some never-ending merry-go-round. I know that this is where I will sleep tonight, not trusting myself to be too far away from the bathroom. Its cold the house is in darkness and has never felt so empty. It’s just me and my drunken stupor, along with my demons, which once again this evening I had attempted to drown. That night had started like any other. Just one drink it will take the edge off . . . two would surely not hurt . . . the third is to convince yourself that you are in control and not the bottle. You can stop at the drop of a hat, but it would be your decision. You did not need or want any advice, did you ask for it? Why can’t they mind their own business? By the time you get to your fifth you know it’s helping, the pain has receded somewhat. You know what you’re doing it was just for tonight, tomorrow will bring a new day you will stop then. By this point if I’m honest the count is immaterial. I sit backwards and lean against the wall, a bad move, once more I retch without any joy. My stomach is now empty, but it seems my system was still trying to rid me of the toxic elements. I then fall into a drink induced sleep, curled into a tight fetal position, hugging the child within me with all my might.
For some of you like me the above is an all too familiar situation, although for me it’s now past tense. For others your crutch may be different. Drugs are also a path that I know has been walked down, through conversations between myself and others. In an effort to block out the pain we visit places of real danger. Is there a difference? Although this was never a route I tried, I personal see none whatsoever. It’s your comfort blanket no more no less. So how do we stop this rendition of Ground-hog Day? The sad fact is that for a time we can’t, the scary part is that we really don’t want to do so. We need the support of our crutch, whichever one we feel supports us the most. It’s not easy to let go of the only thing you feel you have left to take you through the day. You need this to be able to retreat when the world is just too much to take, a place where you are oblivious to all that is going on around you. You’re told that you have to take some control of this off the wall behaviour, the argument is made that if you can go for days without this prop, well then you just don’t need it. I can only speak for myself here, but those words were alien to me for so long. The problem is that it’s not understood that during those days of abstaining; you have been fighting with everything you have, in order to do just as they ask.
So how do we get to a place where we feel we are able to let go of that crutch, where we can once more control our urge to drink or take the pills to survive? I am not going to sit here and lie to you, because the point I am trying to make here will be lost. It’s going to take a lot of hard work on your part; it will mean putting your trust in someone who in some manner or form replaces that misplaced security. Take one day at a time. Don’t run before you can walk; go at your own pace, not the one set for you. You are the one with complete knowledge of the rate you can move forward. Some days it will feel like the world is falling away from under you, but it’s ok to feel that way. It’s all part of the bigger picture where you grow in strength. Allowing yourself those days are going to be part of your recovery, and yes there will be days when you stumble or fall. Beating yourself up about it has no real purpose, remind yourself that while on this road to recovery, there was always going to be an exception. Keep walking forward towards that mountain, by the time you get there it will have already have become a hill. Change your mind-set. Instead of rebuffing yourself for the bad days, praise yourself for the days that went well. It may seem that you are not progressing, but there will come a day when the scales become weighted in the other direction. The good days are outweighing the bad. You will be able to face the world once more, with nothing holding you there but gravity. Stand tall, stand proud, you alone have made this journey in the way and time frame that worked for you. There may still be some doubting Thomas’s out there that are asking can I really do this? You need to believe it was never in question. Deep inside of you your soul was waiting to take flight once more, the only question that ever needed to be asked was regarding the time frame . . .