I want to share an excert from the book with you a snippet into my time as an addict, I also wanted to share some of my thoughts on what I think recovery is….
It’s been 25+ years since I got sectioned, after weeks of denial and insistence that there was nothing wrong with me I accepted defeat. Drug-induced psychosis was my prognosis, I walked from the reception down the hospital corridor thinking “How the fuck have I ended up here?”. I was led to my bed which was set in the middle of a ward full of strangers, I knew that I wasn’t alone because I could hear noises, some snoring, some groaning, But then I think my arrival had woken one of the other patients and as I climbed under the crisp hospital sheets I could hear her shouting. Afraid to look up, I pretended to be asleep, I must have disturbed her because she was pacing back and forth past the bottom of my hospital bed, demanding to be able to sleep “just like her” referring to me. Little did she know that was all I wanted too, after two days of no sleep, feeling broken, alone, hurt, confused I just wanted to go to sleep and hope that this was just one big fucking BAD dream.
Those first few days are a blur, as I withdrew from the illicit substances, which had become my comfort blanket, my crutch, the buzz I once got was quickly replaced by a cloud of shame, confusion, but most of all fear. I had lost my ability to think, I was numb, detached, a shell of who I used to be. The realisation hit me, the humiliation that as a mother to two children “I should have known better” I had to face the harsh reality that I had not just failed and let down my family and my kids, I had let myself down.
But who was I? I had lost my identity; but then did I ever know who I really was? I questioned “what’s the point? Why am I here?” the only thing that I did feel was my maternal instinct, an ache in my gut that reminded me that I two kids who needed their mom and there was NO FUCKING WAY they would end up care, just because of their mother’s stupid mistakes. But deep down I was scared, shit scared because I didn’t have clue where to start? Accepting I had monumentally fucked up big time was the hardest part, I had been brought up to be tough, not to show weakness and now I was open, exposed and vulnerable. “Was this my rock bottom?”
Blood is Thicker than Alcohol By Tracey Ford
My time and memories from Middlewood Hospital will stay with me until my dying days, the staff at the hospital were great, and the patients even better, they didn’t push or enquire, only after my health or if I wanted a drink? They gave me the space to think, away from the external noise the pressure and pain, they gave me a space to reflect hidden from societies expectations that had just gotten too much. I learned that the patients were, in fact, a lot like me different scenarios or circumstances but the bottom line was they were there because life had become too much. Like them, I had been pushed to my limits and I knew deep down it was time to push back. But I simply didn’t have the emotional or physical strength within me. So I welcomed the sense of nothingness, none of the demands from the outside and embraced the feeling that I was safe (for now) and used the time in the hospital to rest.
When it was my time to leave, I wasn’t ready, I could have quite happily stayed in that place which had become my new comfort blanket. My head was still fucked, I still felt vulnerable and frightened about what lay ahead of me and the prospect of going back to some of the things that had contributed to my breakdown scared the shit out of me. Dealing with expectations from loved ones that everything will somehow go back to normal “whatever the fuck that means!” as in their eyes, it was the drugs that created the fucked up, crazy person I had become, they didn’t have the capacity or insight to even start to comprehend that my recovery journey was only just starting. They didn’t understand that whilst I may have been physically clean, it was going to take a lot longer to become emotionally clean, but then again at the time, I didn’t understand that neither so how could they?
Recovery is about making mistakes, but more importantly, learning from them too, but this doesn’t just mean lapsing by taking substances, the emotional part of recovery is often overlooked but it is essential. I had my complacent moment, a relapse, I recall the day well, I was offered and took what was once my usual dosage and I thought my head would explode, I immediately
A large part of our recovery hinges on what we are comfortable doing & what fits with or own personal beliefs and values. The problem I found was I didn’t know what my beliefs and values were anymore; I felt like I was being reborn, and was going back to basics. I started to question everything, if it didn’t feel right, then it probably wasn’t, so much so after two months being back in the family home, I left with the kids to go it alone, I left with no material possessions but reasoned that material possessions could always be replaced and my sanity was worth more.
My personal challenge going forward is to learning to accept and embrace the good with the bad and to be fair it’s not all bad, a lot has changed in the past 25 years and a lot of it is positive, I have a degree, I am employed in a job that I love, I am in a relationship with a guy who accepts me for me and best of all, those two kids of mine have turned out ok, under the circumstances and I am very very proud of them both.
But the point I want to make and share is that I may be 25+ years into recovery from illicit drug use, but I am still learning to come to terms with unwanted & uncomfortable feelings, emotions or the limiting beliefs that can and do come back to haunt me when I least expect it. Only this time I don’t turn to drugs to mask them.
The harsh reality is without a shadow of a doubt some people do drink or take drugs to mask and deal with emotions they would much rather ignore, others don’t! I was one of those who did and despite all of this; I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a single thing because had I not gone through that very painful experience I wouldn’t be who I am today.
I have learned and am still learning just how powerful our thoughts and feelings can influence who we are, I know myself better, I know my default position will always be “I’m not good enough or feeling misunderstood” and that’s ok, I can live with that, because I now understand where they come from, which is the past. I have a lifetime of memories that haunt or even taunt me from time to time, but by knowing myself better than I ever did and I’m realising and coming to accept that I shall be forever learning about myself until I take my last breath.
So what have I learned over the past 25+ years in recovery
Recovery is about being brave, Even when you feel afraid Recovery is about learning to trust yourself When you doubt everyone else Recovery is about finding good friends People you trust, who will defend you until the end Recovery is about recognising our weaknesses are in fact our strengths And reminding ourselves “That nobody is perfect, they just pretend" Recovery is about recognising our past’s act as our guide We have a choice, we can either stand up or hide Recovery is about recognising we are all creatures of habit But that habits can be changed Recovery is exploring the old beliefs and values And breaking those chains But most of all Recovery is About being true to you Be kind to you Because that's all you can do
Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up OR leave me your email. If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x