Today marks the end of National Alcohol awareness Week, I’ve done my bit (I hope) shared some snippets of my personal experience of being at the harsh end of alcoholism. It’s been years since I was in the thick of my own addiction and drowning in my attempts to rescue dad from his.
We can have the annual awareness events we want, spending time an energy raising awareness about the impact of addiction. for those in the know, the individuals, the families the reality is that their lives are affected 365 days a year.
But there is so much more to addiction than the obsessive use of substances or behaviour that people engage in. Addiction for many is a poor solution to a much deeper issue, which will be different for everyone. Addiction is a form of escapism. An attempt to forget, to block out emotions that we don’t like or feel uncomfortable with or to block out memories that we might want to forget.
For me the temporary relief from being away in a mental health ward after a period of numbing my feelings and emotions with drugs provided me with some uninterrupted thinking and reflection time. As a kid, I remember I questioned EVERYTHING around me. But I RARELY questioned myself, or my thinking, that was until I started my recovery journey.
I left that place knowing that in order for my recover to stand any chance of happiness and I mean REAL happiness, I had to start by accepting myself and truth be told, I have to work on this still EVERY DAY.
When dad came back into my life I could have never foreseen or predicted the journey I was about to take, I thought my addiction took me to dark places within myself, but dads addiction opened a new door to new stratosphere of sadness and pain, but this time the option to turn to substance to help self-medicate wasn’t there.
Caring for Dad during the end stages of his Alcoholism has to be one of the most traumatic experiences I had ever done through, even my brush with addiction couldn’t have prepared me or my sister for this journey we were about to embark on. Over time I started to come to terms and to accept that whilst all the opportunities to get clean might have been there for dad. That if he didn’t have the will there was nothing, I could do to force him into recovery. Accepting he was on his own journey was hard, I had a choice whether I walked his journey with him or walked away. In my case I stayed
When dad died, I could have quite easily walked away and closed all the very many chapters in my past. But I can’t, and I won’t.
Because whilst I might have changed the narrative around addiction hasn’t.
My story is just one amongst a million others. It took me years to fully open up, to be fully transparent about my personal experience with addiction without shame or embarrassment or out of fear of being misunderstood or even worse rejected. As a society, we need to start being more compassionate and kinder to each other. We need to be more forgiving of peoples perceived mistakes.
Putting your head above the parapet, being open about your personal journey isn’t easy. You can be met with sympathy and admiration. Some people what to hear all the gory ins and outs of addiction then there are others, who would prefer to pretend that it doesn’t exist or that addiction always happens to someone else. Even worse there also some people who will see your openness as being attention seeking or even accuse you of blaming others for your own acts of self-sabotage. Implying that you are somehow weaker than average person – which is BULLSHIT by the way…
I got to see the light at the end of the tunnel, sadly not everyone does and if we stop sharing our stories, then how can others learn from them? I will forever be challenging the stigmas, myths the misconceptions about Addiction and I will always advocate and champion the rights of anyone affected by addiction.
But it’s not just my job to tell their story, its theirs.
I would always encourage anyone and everyone to continue talking, to never stop sharing, be proud of your highs and proud of the lows that you managed to crawl back out of. In fact, especially the lows, because that’s where the real nuggets of learning are found.
So today, in addition to sharing some of my blogs on Twitter, I wanted to share some other positive recovery stories, like
EMJ whose taken and turned her lived experience into spoken word, she recently set up a new You Tube Channel
Mick, who has 6 years of sobriety and who is this week celebrating 5 years since setting up a charity called Kickback Recovery
Danny, an ex-soldier and a recovering alcoholic who now works with veterans, Danny shares his story HERE
Richard Grundy – who was an intrenched drug user, but for the past 20+ years has been working and giving back to the recovery community you can check him out HERE talking about his transition from user to worker
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Remember I don’t write for financial reward or gain, I just want to help share my lived experience with others in the hope that it helps. And I just love to write, so if ya fancy getting the occasional email with the most up to date blogs from yours truly, please feel free to subscribe at the bottom of the main page.