This post was supposed to be the start of my story but life has overtaken this plan today. Instead I want to write briefly about bravery. I started this blog yesterday and have comments here and on Facebook regarding it. Two comments, one on Facebook from my dear friend Billy and on here from someone I don’t know, have told me that this is a brave thing to do. I would hate to call this blog brave. I would hate to call my recovery brave. When talking about my recovery I recoil from the word. I admit that this a public and open forum but for me it is not about bravery. For me, and I have heard it repeatedly in group sessions, addiction is completely tied up in secrecy and things hidden: hiding your addiction, hiding your substance and also trying to mask your behaviour which is inevitably a futile game. If you live with or share your life with someone, they know you are an addict, or they will find out soon. It is virtually impossible to hide. In recovery I have left behind (currently) the shackles of lies and secrecy and my life has become so simple as a result. It is not that I want to have a Julie Andrews moment and shout it from the mountain top but I do not care who knows. I want people to know. I am enjoying having nothing to hide. To seek recovery, an addict is usually so desperate to stop that they will try anything to achieve it. Many have lost relationships and family due to their addiction, many their jobs and many put their lives at risk and are told to stop in hospital by a doctor. My recovery is not brave. If had not stopped drinking I would have lost everything I care about.
Recovery is definitely possible for everyone but you have to truly want it. There is support out there but step one is to talk: to your family and your GP. Eleven days after consulting my doctor I was talking to a Recovery Worker at Cambridge’s Drug and Alcohol Service: Inclusion. The people at Inclusion are wonderful, not just the Recovery Workers but also the Recovery Champions and the other service users you meet in group. When I was first referred I was not enthusiastic about attending group sessions. I had tried Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous previously and whether it was due to where I was with my addiction/recovery or not, I did not like them. When I was eventually pushed into the group sessions at Inclusion, I found that I loved it. It is a place where you can talk openly with people with the same issues without a trace of the religious overtones or the step program used by AA and NA. I am not criticising AA, NA or the step program. It works. It has a proven track record. It was just not right for me. This is true of other addicts I have spoken to in group. It’s about fifty-fifty. Some love it, some hate it but in recovery you use what works for you.
So back to bravery. I do not believe this blog or my recovery is brave of me. My beautiful wife and daughter are the brave ones for suffering my addiction for so long. To them I owe everything. It is four months today since I last had a drink. It is nearly thirteen years since I last smoked heroin. However, every day is day one for me.