I hear this question a lot. I hear it from my therapist, in support groups and from fellow addicts.
I can only give you my answer to this question and that is ‘whatever it takes.’
If you’d asked me that same question 5 years ago, I would have told you I didn’t need recovery as I didn’t have a problem. In reality the problem wasn’t just alcohol, it was any substance or behaviour that would alter how I felt.
Recovery to me encircles my entire existence now. Without recovery, I have no existence, it’s that simple.
So how did I find it, you’re probably wondering?
I’ve been an addict (in denial) for over a decade. Alcohol was my drug of choice and I began drinking alcoholically around the age of 21. In the beginning I liked a drink and of course it was totally acceptable to drink an entire bottle (or three), to take alcohol to work in soft drink containers and to drink until I passed out. That is acceptable, right?
This wasn’t something that crept slowly into my life, although it was progressive. What I mean by that is I quickly began to display the behaviours of a person with a drink problem, the drinking in secret, the lies and so on but this didn’t occur to me to be something that was inappropriate. It was almost part of my DNA. I took a drink and suddenly the world made sense. I hadn’t been brought up around excessive alcohol, nor had I witnessed behaviour of a similar type. You’ll understand therefore why (now I am educated about my illness) I believe I was born this way. When I say it was progressive, I began to consume greater amounts of alcohol to get the same effect and the results of my drinking sprees were increasingly more frightening and disastrous.
Over the last decade I have had numerous trips to the doctor, been counselled both on a private basis and through the NHS. I have been medicated for depression and anxiety and treated through local alcohol support services, eating disorder clinics and more recently joined a self supporting fellowship for people with addiction problems. I tried to control my drinking, stop completely and when all else failed, would go back to drinking a litre of vodka in less than a 12 hour period. You may think that’s a lot, or perhaps based on your own experiences, not much at all. Whatever your thoughts are, the quantity of alcohol consumed really isn’t relevant. What matters (to me anyway) is the mental obsession and craving, the inability to take just one drink and the consequences of my actions whilst under the influence. I rolled through a decade of binges, causing chaos as I went.
Earlier this year my addiction progressed, I became a daily drinker. I didn’t want to drink but couldn’t stop. I had well and truly had enough. I called a friend. I was drunk. I have no memory of the call.
Apparently…I asked to go to rehab.
That same night I signed myself into a 28 day in-patient addiction treatment programme.
I was utterly broken and absolutely terrified.
Looking back it was the most important and valuable 28 days of my life. I gave it everything I had as I simply couldn’t go back to the life I was leading. Please don’t think that I’m saying rehab is the only way to find recovery, that certainly isn’t true. My belief, through what I have been shown, is that if you want recovery badly enough, you will be shown that it exists and you too can grab it with both hands. But, grab it with both hands you must. It’s not a part time way of existing, it’s a full time, hands on the wheel, honest way of leading life and I still haven’t experienced a single day where it was preferable to go back to drinking or using.
I listen closely now to what I hear in therapy and from other addicts who have many more years sobriety than me and not once have I found someone that went back to drinking or drugging and said it was worth it.
The road leading up to the point of recovery was utter hell for me and it is important that I remind myself of that each day. I also take each day to pray to a power greater than myself for help, guidance and the strength to not pick up a drink. I’ve had people look at me rather oddly when I say I have a faith that helps me stay sober. Honestly, that’s what works for me and I don’t feel I have to explain why or how. I just know that left to my own devices, I was a tornado, spinning through life, destroying everything in my path. Today there is still a breeze in my hair, but it’s the comforting kind that pushes me forward. Given the choice, I know which life I want to lead.
For the first time in my 33 years I also have friends. Not just those types of people we place a label on and send birthday wishes to on Facebook, but the real types that care about how you truly feel and take the time to listen when you speak. I never knew friends like that existed but because they do, I feel less like I’m damaged beyond repair.
Recovery means everything to me and I will do everything I can to keep it.
I hope those of you who are yet to find it welcome it with an open heart and to those of you who already have it, let’s hold on together.
Sending love until next time,
My name is Georgie and for the last 11 years I have been in active addiction. You name it and I have been addicted to it (apart from sex..much to my boyfriend's disappointment!)
Here is my story and my journey through recovery.
Who am i? How did this happen? Why am I telling you this?
My name is Georgie, I am an addict and this is my truth. I'd love to hear from you so please feel free to get in touch via the email below.