This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive account of my alcoholism recovery, but just a starter – an overview to help those starting out.
In it’s simplest explanation:
(ii) therapy & CBT
(iii) working with my triggers
The treatment piece I did in a rehab clinic. I just couldn’t do it alone, I wasn’t in that place, and I wasn’t privileged enough to be a functioning alcoholic.
I did get some financial help from family to get my journey started – something I’m grateful for to this day.
My main input was, that I was there, surviving, at that time.
Part of that was my willingness to trust, and, if I’m honest, more than anything else, my total lack of insight into what to do next.
I had tried everything already myself. Why wasn’t this working for me? I mean, I’m intelligent, I know my way around my life’s issues. There’s millions in recovery, so why wasn’t it working for me?
What I didn’t realise at the time was that what felt like utter despair, emptiness, feeling bereft, and defeated, was exactly what I needed, so that I could hand the reins over to someone else for a while.
I got intensive therapy whilst in the clinic, and continued it on my own outside with many (many!) more CBT and later, counselling sessions, except this time I knew a lot more about me, and my triggers, by the time I got to this stage.
It’s taken a lot of work and a huge amount of help from, basically everyone around me.
Even today I’m still constantly aware of my triggers.
I’m just so used to dealing with them in a different way now, that it just phases me a lot less than it used to.
Substances generally, have a lot less hold over me, not because I was obsessed with control in recovery, and not because I’ve regained my power.
But because I’ve increased my awareness.
When a trigger crops up, that the old me would have instantly turned to the bottle in response to, I immediately recognise it for what it is, and look at it differently, or reach out for support if needed.
Going into recovery, no-one ever tells you of how self-aware you need to be.
All this time I’ve been focussed on being the model recovery citizen. For all these years I’ve been so focussed on “doing it right”, and the process, that I never realised the journey was making me a better person.
It takes a lot for an alcoholic to say that, as you know.
But with the blinkers off, I can see that recovery HAS given me life back, but with a different perspective.
In addiction we’re focussed on how we’re feeling, and not so much on developing.
In recovery (long term recovery) I can finally see who I’ve become along the way, and feel, ever so slightly, a little proud of that.
One day, I stopped drinking.
And soon, I celebrate my third year recovery birthday and it’s been one hell of a ride.
It’s about time I gave back a little tho, and shared some of the wisdom I’ve learned from my teachers, with you.
It’s funny, the booze is such a personal journey, yet universal at the same time.
We all got into it for reasons. Reasons, which we told ourselves were *perfectly* valid, perfectly formed, and not excuses at all.
Because, anyone in my position would have. Right?
My real reasons would be different from yours, but we were both escaing the pain, to different degrees, and in different contexts.
One of the biggest insights I ever had was understanding what I got out of it. I wasn’t ready when I was in treatment (sometimes it just takes time), but the wisdom of age taught me to wait, and revisit it.
My sponsor means the world, and she brought me gently, to a place of realisation, of my life’s themes, and the repeating patterns I’d gone after, all these years.
I’ll share some of them here, in the hopes that you’ll recognise a few, and continue on your journey from a positive and more informed place.