BRAVERY?

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.

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Author: addict2016

Addiction/recovery blogger

25 thoughts on “BRAVERY?”

  1. Love you, Mun and Rubi – beautiful beings. Thank you for sharing your journey And, looking forward to more. I have missed your writings since Entheos days WELCOME BACK :-)xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you can still be persuaded to have a Julie Andrews moment. Thanks for inviting me to your blog, and see you and the family next week. By the way, is there a way to subscribe for updates, or am I already subscribed? x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Every day is day one, but every day is a step in the right direction. Proud of you (and of your beautiful women) and, for what it’s worth, I think you should embrace your inner Julie 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this catapulted me back to a place I didn’t want to revisit. Having lived with an alcoholic and drug addict for many years I finally had enough and divorced him. It’s a totally selfish way of life. He didn’t give a monkeys about me or his children. He used up money we didn’t have,he did reckless things that terrified us all. I went to an AA group for the family of the alcoholic and I listened to the stories of lives torn apart, the begging and pleading the enabling!! Yes enabling,that’s what I was doing. I ran the house, provided income etc etc. I was in total control of everything…I felt I had to be. But that made me a Co_dependant. A subtle dance of the addict and the enabler that helped no one.
    You are brave Andy because you have admitted you have a problem. But now the work begins. Your wife will probably need to work hard too as she will have created ways to cope that may not be applicable any more.
    Good luck on your journey. Xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Living with an addict is soul destroying. I totally agree with your point about co-dependance. Usually divorce is the only realistic answer. By trying to help, through love, you end up feeding the addicts ‘dance’ and enabling. I don’t deserve my family but am jumping at the chance to attempt to rebuild all the broken trust. My advice to the partner of an addict would, 90% of the time, be to get out while you can take your sanity with you.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hey Andy. Here’s the conversation we’ve just been having on Face Book. I was shy. Protecting you, and others, even though you’ve set up a blog to talk about it! I have been trained to be a co dependant/enabler and it’s very hard to give up. Maybe that is one of my addictions.

    The Conversation went like this:

    G: Surely we should be asleep? How are you doing?

    A: Just back from playing some music

    G: Nice.

    A: Doing a gig in April. Opening at a benefit gig for Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign.
    First proper for ages

    G: And sober!
    I haven’t had alcohol for a year and a half. I now do stand up comedy. It’s an interesting non combination!
    You bored of people bringing that up yet/
    ?

    A: Would you say you are an alcoholic?

    G: Now then. I have self medicated for decades. I don’t use alcohol well. I come from a long line of “drinkers”. I think it’s likely, but I jumped ship before I got labelled. I drank within middle class acceptable standards.

    A: No hence he blog
    Conversation of sync
    What did you self medicate with

    G: Dope and booze.
    Had to give up dope after a particularly nasty whitey in Goa.
    Alcohol, has been an on off affair.
    I’m seeing a therapist now who looks at addiction as self medication. Doesn’t label me anything.

    A: I was on a bottle of whisky a day (at least)

    G: I’m glad for you and your family that you’ve stopped.
    2 and a half years ago, my brother died, because he fell down the stairs and wouldn’t go to hospital because he wouldn’t be able to drink.

    A: Labels are shit –
    G: Agree.

    A: Sorry I didn’t know
    Alcohol is the worst drug. And the legal one
    + fags

    G: You wouldn’t know love. I hadn’t spoken to him for years, he’d never met my children, he was chaotic and scared me. Yeah, booze and fags are EVERYWHERE!

    A: Having a go at tobacco at the end of he month. I think giving up booze has shown me how.
    G: My nephew George calls booze the “family demon”. His brother had a drug induced psychotic breakdown at 19. My neice is a recovering crystal meth addict. My love of cava and tequila looks very vanilla!

    A: Don’t to give up spliff but I have done it every day since I was 16 so maybe it is at the root of it all
    Shame we’re not doing this on the blog
    I was shy of that – don’t know why, I know you’ve put it out there – I like to check first. Want to cross over?

    ……. and now here I am.

    You’ve pointed out your friends comment about divorce.

    You saying you’ve been giving a last chance?

    Grab it.

    I was married to an angry man. I gave him way too many last chances. He begged, he did the anger management courses, he had epiphanies about how he’d fucked up his “perfect life”, he always reverted to bad behaviour, and it got steadily worse.

    In the end, it was a small incident that made me know it was over. Ending our marriage was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I had to, for my children and for me.

    I gave up alcohol, because I was going through a really bad depression and I knew I had to stop for a while. I told myself 6 months. Then it was a year. Then I drank a bottle of wine, and it didn’t work. It didn’t do what I wanted.

    I’ve apologised to my children many times. Drunk Mum is fun but gets very tired and loses her temper.

    And to them, that was normal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Normality is what happens every day. Even the most extreme of behaviours become normal. No partner should suffer abuse, whether it be physical or verbal/mental. When you live with an addict you are mentally abused. Their addiction controls everything. Everyone lives in hell. If the addict does not truly want to recover, nothing will ever change. It will just get worse every day because every day the pain, betrayal and guilt builds.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve done group therapy with both my sons and their Dad wouldn’t go. They both accept that their Dad will never change, that’s him and they can choose to not be around him. Accepting that someone won’t change is really really hard.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. And there is more.
    When you put it out there that you were starting this blog, it totally surprised me. And I liked it. I liked it, because, well – there are two reasons we lost touch:

    1: I got married and allowed my self to be absorbed into that relationship, an unhealthy relationship.

    2: And secondly: the drugs.

    We met through music. I used to love singing with you and M. And I smoked a lot of dope. A lot. I found myself in a group of people that I loved, really funny, creative, intelligent people and the drugs were too much.

    I feared what I would do. I don’t want to be around heavy drug use. Or drinking.

    My Dad called himself an alcoholic. My Grandfather died of cirrhosis of the liver when my Dad was ten. I once asked him what he remembered of his own Father and he said he only remembered one thing, and that was the police being called because his dad was drunk and trying to break down the door to the room his Mother had locked them into.
    I adored my Dad. He didn’t get angry, he shut down. He drank watered down wine all day and then switched to beer after 6pm when he was unlikely to be asked to drive anyone anywhere. I loved him and I knew he loved me very much but he was unavailable. My Mother had depression and eating disorders. Text book.

    I went to a reunion / 50th birthday bash recently. I heard myself telling someone that I’d been nervous to walk in and I’d done some breathing exercises to help me get through the door to the venue.
    “But you always seem so confident”.
    “I used to use alcohol, but now I don’t drink, I’ve got to deal with the anxiety.” I didn’t know that until I said it.

    I am anxious and I’ve been trying to avoid/cover it up, all my life.

    Like I’ve said before, I’m not on any side of this, it’s my village, my tribe, co dependant, user, enabler, all knitted together. All my relationships are affected by my family and my own issues.

    One conclusion I’ve come to is that children of parents with drug, alcohol and/or depression, feel an over responsibility for the emotional well being of others. Being the one good thing in someones life is too much responsibility.

    Good luck Andy – sorry, that’s the name I knew you as! –

    You are not your addiction, but when you’re drinking, that’s what everyone is dealing with.
    I’m rambling now.

    Good luck on your journey friend X

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Brave?I don’t know.At the end of my addiction I was trying to kill myself.Tired,so very tired.My life flashed before my eyes.I saw clearly the suffering my addiction was causing.A moment of clarity.My death would just cause more.I lived.I’m not brave.I have much to atone for.My guilt and shame help guide me to do that.I am grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with you that recovery is not about bravery but about survival. When the penny dropped for me that to carry on as I was would end in death and that there was no way I was ever going to get away with it, I gave up fighting and recovery followed. Good luck with your blog, I will be following you (that sounds a bit creepy but you know what I mean. I write about my own addictions and recovery at http://www.diveforyourmemory.com . Take care.

    Like

  9. Hi, you’ve recently got in touch via twitter and Facebook, my name is Adam, Sober Companion. I applaud you’re honesty. I am a recovering alcoholic, sober 5 years, 10 months and 19 days. I was brave, scared, courageous, frightened, unloved and loved. I slipped, relapsed and recovered many times. I was homeless and had beautiful homes. I have experienced beauty and horror, happiness and sadness and I accept it all and own it all. My recovery began in rehab, counselling. I tried AA with no success, it just wasn’t for me! I learned that to overcome my addiction I had to overcome the trauma that caused the addiction, I strongly believe that if we face our trauma we can overcome and win!

    I believe you have been brave, and continue to be brave as I know how hard it is to fight this problem, without bravery and courage there can be no recovery. I served in the Royal Air Force and was told repeatedly that courage isn’t the absence of fear, its being frightened and doing it anyway; in my eyes you have clearly exhibited courage by creating your blog, and courage is easily translated into bravery. Accept your bravery as its the same as accepting moments in your life that you’re not proud of. As an addict I more often than not accepted my weakness or my misgivings, it took me a long time to accept my qualities.

    Now I accept ‘me’ completely, the good, the bad and the great, my name is Adam, I’m an alcoholic but more than that I’m a good man.

    Take care, best wishes and respect for what you have achieved.

    Adam

    Liked by 1 person

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