Negotiating Boundaries in Recovery

 

I used to be afraid of setting boundaries, mainly out of fear, but mostly because I was out of practice, or did I ever practice even? I was fearful of hurting, upsetting, disappointing, worried I would come across as being selfish, you name it the list goes on and on.

I did have boundaries but they were in my head or heart, invisible to others because I didn’t let people know what they were. I found myself doing things I don’t want to do, or not saying what I wanted to say. Then I would get resentful and angry at the other person when in all fairness it was my fault, I was allowing myself to be used and hurt, eventually keeping everyone out.

I was essentially just people-pleasing consistently putting other people’s needs before my own, which only contributed to damaging my self-esteem and recovery in the longer run. 

I am fortunate that boundaries are not required in a lot of my relationships nowadays, I am respected and my needs are met, the word boundaries goes unspoken, I don’t need to explain my expectations or ask to asked how I want to be treated. But I have still have relationships where my boundaries are currently to the limit

For me, there are four key boundaries, that I keep in check 

Time – Making time for me and having it

People  – I am clear about the kinda people I want in my life and the ones I don’t

Emotional – having strategies in place that protect my feelings 

Drama – I decided what drama I will engage in and what I won’t 

I know life would be so much easier if people could assume and know what our boundaries were, but people are not mind readers, I know It feels shit and that some boundaries are harder to implement and stick to more than others, but if you are searching for some peace and want to nourish your self-esteem, YOUR recovery you will have to.

So how do you identify your boundaries?

I always advise someone who needs to establish some boundaries, to first negotiate with themselves, asking 5 simple questions, 

  1. What do I want? 
  2. What I can do
  3. What I can’t I do
  4. What I will do
  5. What I won’t do

Answer these questions and will have a clearer idea of what boundaries you will need to set if you are clear about the above answers. 

The next step is communicating it – now this can be the hard part, but you need to remember that our lives are a series of negotiations and we were given a voice for a reason, but to enforce our boundaries we have to voice them.

The truth is that some people won’t like your boundaries (especially if you’ve let them walk all over you in the past). However, many people in your life will adjust to your new boundaries. Some may initially be confused by your new-found assertiveness. Or they may not take it seriously and assume you’ll back down and go back to your old ways if they resit.  Remember this understandable, especially if you haven’t enforced your boundaries in the past. 

Some times I can feel like things get worse before they get better. But most people will adjust to your boundaries and learn to respect them. Some, of course, will continue to resist. It is at this point you have to decide whether or not you will continue to have that person in your life and say GOODBYE 

On a final note 

The boundaries you need to set are unique to you, sadly there are no rule books, so you will need to identify your specific boundaries, (talk to a trusted friend) practice asserting yourself, learn to continuously refine and update your boundaries as your needs and relationships change.

 

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

 

How do you protect your kids from their dad?

I left my partner over 25 years ago, but he is still there, I am still tethered by him through my kids. After years of manipulation, possessiveness, emotional blackmail, it took me years to heal from the emotionally abusive relationship, to psychologically heal. Whilst I have healed and moved on years later, I find I am going through it all again, but this time through my adult children and I simply do not know what to do.

I had tried to leave him a couple of times before, but I wasn’t psychologically strong enough, the manipulation, the emotional blackmail, financial abuse, using my kids as pawns a bargaining tool, the brainwashing “I wouldn’t be nothing without him” just reinforced the self-doubt that had weaved and gripped me. It was like being gagged, I couldn’t see or feel the ropes, but they were there all the time, getting tighter and tighter, suffocating all my self worth, so I would go back to him, like a scorned puppy with my tail between my legs, just reinforcing his ego that he was right all along.

He was a great showman, a master of manipulation, to the outside world he played the role as a perfect stay at home father, he didn’t go out with the lads he was an all-rounded family man. What people didn’t see was his self-obsession, sense of entitlement, he showed no concern for others ( if he did it was for show) deep down all he ever cared about was his feelings and opinions.

He was perfect he never did anything wrong, he would always find a way to justify his behaviour and actions. He would compare his childhood or lack of it, to mine, justifying his insecurities, I would feel sorry for him and try and overcompensate for the life he felt he should have had, again the sense of entitlement was always overwhelming, he could never relate or put himself in anyone else’s shoes because he would be more worried about what their shoes looked like.

He would always be well presented, his hair was never overgrown or out of place, he insisted on wearing the best clothes, even when we couldn’t afford them, his clothes were a form of armor a way of deflecting his imperfections from the outside world.

If I ever got close to exposing him, or if he was feeling vulnerable he would smooch me with lines such as “you are all I have got” or even turn on the tears for double effect, managing to turn the sense of blame and shame on me! I simply cannot count the number of times he was able to do that? He’s was a great actor, he still is

I would have given him a Grammy award or hit him with the fucker! – for playing the role of victim, he was that good.

But in the eyes of everyone else, the law, he hadn’t harmed his kids, well not physically, it would have made things so much easier if I had cut all ties with him, including him seeing the kids, but in the eyes of the law, etc… he still had rights. Even when he was arrested and sentenced for dealing drugs he would still use the kids as a weapon a pawn in his attempt to win me back or feel like he still had a stake or say in my life.

In the early days, I would take the kids on visits, not for him, but for them, after all, they missed their dad. But he was never really interested in the kids the questions or enquires would always be about me, in the end, I had to cut off the visits and get someone else to take them. I couldn’t do it, I had moved on from his control and I simply couldn’t sit opposite a man that had emotionally abuse and used me for his self-gratification, not even for the sake of the kids.

Upon release, he would demand access to see the kids, but if he ever thought that I would be benefiting, let us say going out or doing something that I couldn’t have done without him minding the kids, he would come up with some excuse and let them down, he could never see that they only person he was hurting was the kids, it wasn’t me.

He never contributed financially awards he kids upbringing thinking or using the excuse that the money would be spent selfishly on me and not the kids. He could never see that after being the only breadwinner in the relationship, that I had learned how to be financially resourceful and that I had never needed him for his money.

I have always known deep down that he would hurt the kids emotionally, that he would play the same manipulation game through them and I couldn’t do a fucking anything about it! and now it’s happening, I feel powerless. As a parent, it is our instinct to protect our kids, but in this case, it is their own fucking dad!

I can get mad at myself knowing I allowed him to have contact with the kids when we separated, but I also know had I refused contact, all this would have done is give him the platform he needed to play the victim role, his favorite position. And he would never have let that happen, those kids were his birthright, his entitlement and deep down he knew there wasn’t a fucking dam thing I could do about it. It is my duty as a parent to protect my kids, I feel the guilt from knowing that It was me that has put them in this position, I couldn’t live with his manipulative behaviour, but my children now carry the burden that I was once able to escape.

People saw the signs, warned me about him, but I had to work him out for myself. I can now see him for what and who he truly is, he has a fragile ego, and brittle self-esteem, the person who portrays himself as having a strong psychological constitution is a very weak man.

I no longer feel or carry the blame for who he is. I used to think I could help him escape or see the light, get him to see sense, but I was never able to achieve that, and neither have the string of women he has latched onto over the years managed to achieve it neither.

His sense of reality is so distorted and ingrained that I know deep down he will never change, all the attempts made by many of the years, haven’t worked. I know my kids think that, well should I say hope that he will change, I see them try and I also see them fail and it is heartbreaking.

All I can do is be there for my kids, even though it never feels enough, all I can do is

  • Help them understand that they are not to blame for his behaviour or who he is
  • That they are not responsible for a 51-year-old man’s feelings
  • They are not responsible or to blame for his failed relationship
  • They are not responsible for his failed health
  • That they have nothing to be sorry for
  • That they have nothing to feel guilty about
  • That they have a right to live their own lives
  • That I am very proud of the women that they have become
  • That they are entitled to make their own mistakes and learn from them
  • Remind them that they are stronger than they think, they take after their mom
    That I will always be there to listen
  • I will always support them and help them work out what’s best for them
  • I will remind them that I don’t want anything in return except for their happiness
  • But most of all, remind them that it is ok to say NO

All I can do is say sorry and be there for them

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

 

Recovery Wobble

Recovery Wobble

Fuck it! I hear you say

Every reason to use

None to stay clean

“What’s the point” I hear you say

Stuck in between

Torn between right and wrong

I get it…

“The temptation to use is strong!

But before you use

Do ya sen a favour…

Just take five

Step back from the madness

Take a look inside…

Ask yourself this

“What’s causing you pain?”

“If you use what will you gain?”

You have got nothing to lose

But before you choose

Look how far you have come

Remember the challenges

You have overcome

Remember the pride

You glowed from inside

Remember the shame

It nearly drove you insane

You were once stuck in a rut

But then you found a way out

Are you going to throw it all away?

Because of a little doubt?

You’re having a wobble

It’s part of the journey

Go pick up a phone

You are not alone

Share your burden

Offload you’re thoughts

Give yourself a break

Trust me when I say

“You got this mate”

 

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

 

My name is Tracey and I was an enabler

Enabling is therapeutic jargon or tough love which is often heard in support groups is a way of describing some forms of helping as being destructive, for example, some might say that any act that helps an alcoholic continue to drink prevents the alcoholic from suffering the true consequences of their actions, or make it easier for an alcoholic to continue drinking.

I was advised that I shouldn’t enable, because by enabling dad I wasn’t allowing him to face the full-blown consequence of his actions.

Yeh, I could have said, “I love you dad, but you are on your own?” Or “When you are ready to see the errors of your ways, I’ll be there”

But Surely there are varying differing degrees of enabling?

Trust me dad suffered many consequences as a result of drinking and there were some consequences I simply couldn’t ignore or walk away from, for example

Relationships – Loss of relationships and friendships, because of dads drinking, he had lost many – had we walked away he would have had no-one, well, anyone who genuinely cared about his own best interest.

Physical health – Dad had many injures resulting from a fall where he fractured his shoulder, it was a very nasty condition he didn’t have the capacity and the pain gave him more reason to drink.

Advocating  – Now one else would! I understood him, he was unable to articulate what he wanted, well not without offending or swearing at someone – a blind, deaf person is entitled to have assistance in communicating, how was dad different

I have often questions if we prolonged the inevitable? He could have died sooner, had we not intervened? I guess I will never know?

As humans it is our instinct to want to help others, we don’t do well-seeing anyone in pain, that is of course if you are a psychopath. We are all players in a game of relational transactions – hundreds of them a day. Either initiating or engaging in transactions for which there is always a payoff or loss. There were many times I questioned myself, christ I didn’t need someone else questioning me I needed someone to hear me

Advising someone to walk away is counter-intuitive and not always helpful. I do get it, it is vital that the person caring gets support for themselves, but sometimes advising them to walk away is impossible, so surely there is a compromise to be had?

I can look back on my addiction and god forbid if my mother, loved ones had turned their back on me. Even when I was acting like the devil incarnate one minute and walking around thinking I was John the Baptist the next. They didn’t walk, they didn’t know what they were doing, whether or not it was for the best, but thank goodness they never gave up hope and never gave up trying.

I would often wonder, had dad had cancer would the words of advice had been the same? Addiction in the eye of so many is seen as something self-inflicted, a selfish condition that cares about the one person, the user. But when I reflect on my addiction I didn’t set out to become addicted – no addict does!

I was fortunate to recognise that my recovery had to come from me and me alone, so with this personal knowledge and understand reasoned that I needed to afford dad the same. I knew no amount of coercion, manipulation, shame or blame would help dad, it would’ve been all wasted energy… and my words would have fallen on deaf ears.

Now I am not denying that there were many times that I felt like walking away, there were limits to what I would, could do in terms of support, but I always lived with a glimmer of hope, that maybe, just maybe that combined they might have some sort of impact.

Some would have said, my helping/enabling was filling a void within myself, to make myself feel better – I would argue, so what?

In my case enabler or not, I was able to negotiate some boundaries that helped us both. It wasn’t easy, it never is, watching someone you love commit slow suicide is heartbreaking, its frustrating, cancer, addiction there is no difference everyone has a right to decide what not just what’s best for the addict, but what’s best for themselves.

In the end, the biggest consequence as a result of his addiction was death. But I can live with myself knowing that I did what was right for ME

If you are affected by a loved one’s addiction, regardless of the substance or relationship, please know this.

You are not alone

There is no right or wrong

Caring for someone addicted is all trial and error

Negotiate boundaries that work for you and your family

Make time for you

And remember there are 1000’s just like you questioning themselves

You are not alone

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

 

Yeah I’m clean but my poetry’s not!

 

Emj is a talented artist and has come a long way from the very first time I met her at one of our recovery months, ride for recovery events, she was halfway through her detox and staying at Phoenix House.

The other day I caught up with her, she has been living independently now for nearly a year, has returned to college, chairs one of the local NA meetings and has just returned from a holiday of a lifetime in Lapland with her partner.

She has come along way from self-harming, prison and substance abuse and is slowly learning to live life on life’s terms. We talked about our love of swearing, inspired she wrote this

Dirty words. 

Yeah I’m clean but my poetry’s fucking not

I’m still cursing like I’m being chased by a cop

I have the right to remain obscene

Your nightmare was my fucking dream

Smiling on the outside

Inside I scream

I don’t swear for the hell of it

I swear to highlight this shit

I didn’t mess things up

I completely fucked things up

So why pretend

I’m sorry if I offend

But I refuse to minimise

My poems are my way to analyse

All my faults and lies 

My way of counting all the tears I’ve cried

My way of pointing out the fact 

I’ve been to hell and made it back

That’s where the fucking miracle is at

So can I get a fucking amen on that. 

 

 

Copyright2020emjmorris

 

Learning to live with fear

 

Fear it is the instinct that protects us from real dangers, fear activates our fight-or-flight responses but a lot of the time our fear can be a response to imaginary dangers too, be fearful of dangers that don’t exist only in our minds.

I wanted to share my recent episode of fear with you…

I came away from a meeting with a writing coach the other day, I was buzzing, on cloud nine I even went and booked myself on a weekend writing retreat, this was it I thought, “I am finally going in the right direction, I WILL finish this book”. The feeling of contentment, reassured of my self-worth, was undeniable, I felt great about life, life was good. 

2 days late following a meeting at work, fear kicked in, It was just a few exchanged words but that was it, that was all it took! Time spent rolling over the words and implications sent me spiraling into self-doubt, questioning myself, my job, my worthiness, trust me it doesn’t take much! Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of talking about shit but never delivering on it! It wasn’t long before the imposter syndrome soon took hold. 

When the deep-rooted fear of failure takes over, its invisible to others, no one knows the self-doubt that I carry around, the only indication that something is wrong is my attitude. In one fail swoop it changes from being positive to pessimistic, I struggle to apply myself with basic tasks, just responding to emails feels like a chore. I see the negative in everything any optimism I had previously has disappeared.

I constantly go through cycles of fear – I can be like a fucking Cathryn wheel on steroids, fear can take me from feeling content one minute to worthless in a fucking nanosecond.  

The self-doubt, self-worth, kicks in, I can feel paralysed, feeling fearful, unsure about myself and who I am, my passion has gone, I can’t think straight, I feel like I have lost my purpose, its a shitty dark place. I hate being in this dark place, I don’t like the thoughts, the lack of energy, feeling flat, purposeless, sometimes it feels like it won’t ever pass.

But I know it will, you see this isn’t the first time, and it won’t certainly be the last.

Working through FEAR

I will allow myself time to wallow for so long, but I know that at some point I’m going to have to #Haveawordwimesen sort the facts from imaginary fiction, reassure myself that the fear of the unknown is normal and that whatever happens “I’ll be ok”. I always am!  Re-affirming who I am, what I have achieved but more importantly acknowledge remind myself that fear isn’t always a negative.

Judy Lief points out that fear restricts our lives, can imprison us, or be used as a tool of oppression. But unlike our fellow creatures, humans can reflect on our fear, and this gives us the capacity to counter the overwhelming sense of anxiety and the dread that infiltrates modern life. 

“The essential cause of our suffering and anxiety is ignorance of the nature of reality.” The movement toward fearlessness is in accepting whatever is happening at the moment and looking deeply into what is feared. In this way, we can begin to develop self-awareness of the patterns that inflame our fear and self-acceptance of the nature of who we are. 

So rather than see fear as a negative, I study it, dive into it, try and work out where it is coming from, become familiar with it and understand it better. Diving into fear can feel counter-intuitive as our habitual reaction is to push away or deny what frightens us, but getting to know our fears can help us to soften or even eradicate them. 

I have learned that if nothing changes then nothing will ever change, and when I am in this dark place sufficed by fear, I know there is one thing or person that can give me a hand back out and that’s me! 

And so what if I fail? I’m not even sure what failure will look like? But I know for sure that if I don’t take a risk and break through my fear, I will never know… 

Fear is an instinct it is within us whether we like it or not! It how we manage the fear within us that counts.

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

 

Looking back on your life ask yourself If you didn’t know any different, how are you supposed to know?

Over recent weeks I have met a number of people who are still suffering from issues, things in their past (particularly from childhood) that still affects them in the present day…

  • Angry with themselves for choices they made in the past
  • Carrying blame and shame from the choices they made in the past 
  • Angry at choices other people made that impacted on them from the past
  • Angry at how they were treated in the past

The list goes on

If I was to allow myself to  be scrutinised by some parts of society some might say that I have made a lot of mistakes in the past, many bad life choices, and I would totally agree. But I would always argue that many of my decision I made in life, (Informed or ill-informed)  had been based on what I knew, at that time, based my environment, my understanding of the environment.

We can only make informed decisions with the knowledge, understanding that we have at any given time! 

I witnessed the fall out from complex relationships seen love and abuse used at the same time, it didn’t make sense. As a kid I would act up, lash out, hurting those close to me, it was never my intention to hurt anyone if I did it was because I was hurting and confused myself. 

But I can look back now and see it for what it was, I was just a kid, confused, unsure, I saw life through many lenses, I saw injustice, experienced stigma, even imposed shame based on others moral code, There was a time where I blamed almost all the adults and everyone around me for my unhappiness, I never once questioned theirs, or what circumstances, information, choices or options that they had at that time. 

How long do you hold onto sad memories, resentments? What purpose does it serve you now, where you are today? I reasoned if I am going to afford myself some slack, why shouldn’t I afford them the same? 

There have been times as a parent, I have often questioned how my life choices may have impacted on my children, after all, I made some ill-informed life choices, and It can sometimes hurt if I dwell on it too much to know that my choices had an impact on them further in life, but I cannot change the decisions/life choices I made at that time, because at that time, I didn’t know any different, I did what I thought was best, at that time. 

In our society sensitivity is frequently seen as a detriment rather than a strength, BULLSHIT, we are all complex beings and Its ok to be passionate, upset or angry, hurt, that’s the sensitive side of us, its normal to experience these emotions. The key is what we do with them that counts.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we can look back and see things for what they were, but we do have a choices, we can either repeat the same mistakes drag our resentments around with us for a lifetime or we can try to make sense of our past, learn from them, now that’s where the magic of discovery in recovery takes place.

For years I would carry these resentments around like a dark cloud, I had the biggest chip on my shoulder, I didn’t realise that I could actually let go of a lot of them? 

One of the saddest parts was when I came to realise that the very same people I held resentment or hatred towards, were mostly oblivious  about my resentments towards them, it didn’t affect them as they did me, I wasn’t hurting them, the only person I was hurting was myself. 

Holding onto the past isn’t healthy for your future, I found that by holding on and blaming others kept me paralysed and any decision I made was stained with resentments. 

If there is one thing I am certain of, is that we are all always learning, 

I realise that the older I get, the less I know. I am always learning, learning about myself, learning and understanding my past, learning from others. 

My recovery has been an insightful discovery being able to untangle unresolved issues from the past. Understanding my own learning about my own past, also played a big part in affording those I held resentments against the same understanding? Now I am not suggesting that we forgive everything or everyone but being able to understand, acknowledge and accept – The best part is you have a choice to let it go… 

Be mindful of what you are thinking, how we talk to ourselves and our thoughts can have a  big impact on how we see a situation. Not every thought you think is a fact, and you have a choice to challenge or understand what, why and how you think. – more often than not if you rationally work through your thinking you will undoubtedly find a limiting belief formed from an unresolved past experience, that has probably been lying dormant in your unconscious for years. 

My advice to anyone who is still hurting from issues from the past, carrying resentments or carrying guilt is to try and understand your past, look at it from other angles perhaps, see it for what it was and LET GO after all the only person that you are hurting is you, and potentially others around you. 

Ask yourself is it time to break the cycle, is it time to stop blaming others for who you are and start working on you because after all, that’s the only person who does count.

I say #FUCKTHEPAST it’s gone, you can’t bring it back, you cannot go back and change it, but you can look forward, forgive yourself and those ill-informed decisions you made in the past and leave them there where they belong.

Make peace with your past and live for the future, after all, you only get one shot at this thing we call life – go fucking live it

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

 

Its not just the addict that needs help and support

Unless you have ever had a loved one entrenched in addiction, with no desire or will to pull themselves out of their misery, you can simply never understand the conflicting guilt, physical and anger that a loved one of the addict goes through. Living with emotions, like a pendulum swinging from one extreme to another, rarely settling in the middle.

You worry about them constantly — you can’t sleep, you can’t focus, and your heart stops every time the phone rings. The fear of losing them consumes you, and your focus becomes doing anything and everything you can to help them get better. 

Now I am not suggesting that dealing with a loved one’s addiction is easy but keeping the following things in mind can help you better address your loved one’s alcohol and drug abuse.

Letting go of control 

While you may be tempted to make it your mission to save your loved one from themselves, this will only leave you exhausted, hurt, and maybe even resentful. You may feel as if you are not doing enough to help your loved one, but you need to understand that no matter how hard you try, you cannot control their addiction. No amount of begging, pleading, threatening, or ultimatums will make your loved one stop drinking or using. 

Whether you realize it or not, your loved one’s addiction is taking a toll on your life. And you need to start making yourself a priority. Working on letting go of trying to control their addiction, you must come to accept that you are only in control of your life, you also have a life, away from the addict and embark on your journey of healing and recovery.

Letting go of blame

You probably never imagined that addiction would become a part of your life, but it has you may be wondering if you were responsible for your loved ones use. Did you not love them enough? Too much? Was it something you said? Did? Didn’t do? The questions are endless, and they can drive you mad, but the truth is that you didn’t cause your loved one to drink or use — even if they blame you for it.

The underlying cause for their addiction may not be clear to you. They may be dealing with trauma that you’re unaware of or having difficulty managing their emotions. Regardless of what’s behind their addiction, remember that you are not responsible, and allowing unwarranted guilt to consume you will only end up hurting you and your loved one.

But remember you are not alone, research estimates that in the UK YouGov that almost 1 in 3 adults in the UK have been negatively affected by the substance use of someone they know.

Don’t let their addiction become your addiction

It is normal for your loved one’s addiction to have an impact on your life. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to allow it to consume your every moment. As challenging as it may be, you will need to set boundaries. Whether it’s not giving them any more money, refusing to engage with them when they’re under the influence, or establishing a curfew or boundaries can help you and your loved one know what is and isn’t acceptable.

Remember though, it may take a few tries, there is no right or wrong, just try to find a balance between helping your loved one and taking care of yourself. Remind yourself that you should never feel guilty for doing what is right for you, even if it upsets your loved one. Just be sure that your decisions come from a place of love rather than anger or fear.

Don’t lose hope

Watching your loved one tackle addiction day after day is incredibly taxing. It can be a particularly hard pill to swallow if your loved one has tried to get clean before but continues to relapse. I know, I get it! it is like you are on the roller coaster with them. But it’s important to hold on to hope no matter how many setbacks you’re loved one experiences.

It may seem counter-intuitive to put yourself first, make time for you, but trust me, focusing on you, your needs, making time for your own maintenance or recovery is essential.

Here are some of the things that families often find helpful:

  • Carving out a small slot in the week to do something just ‘for you’. Re-read a favourite book, take a walk in the park, curl up with a magazine, take a bath, paint your nails, re-discover a long lost hobby.
  • Mindfulness. There are now many apps and local classes to help us practice mindfulness which is scientifically proven to improve wellbeing and reduce stress.
  • Re-connect with old friends. Families affected by drugs and alcohol often become isolated from previous social networks.
  • Get some exercise. A brisk walk, a cycle or a favourite class has many health and wellbeing benefits, not least that it will release endorphins that improve your mood.
  • Buy a diary, offload your thoughts, clear your mind
  • Take a break. Many family members of those who use drugs or alcohol feel unable to get away because of the unpredictability of their loved one’s behaviour. But a change of scene, even for a weekend, can make a huge difference to the rest of the family.
  • Find a local support group or an online forum where you can speak openly and offload how YOU are feeling

A word from the author

My dad died with as much dignity as an addict could, he wasn’t found on a street, out in the cold, he was at home surrounded by his daughters, he died knowing he was loved. I learned that dad was more than his addiction and in a bizarre kinda way we had a unique relationship, one that I will cherish If I am guilty of cooking meals, doing laundry, running errands then sue me? 

My dad’s addiction and ultimate death took my on a journey at the time I wasn’t ready or prepared for, but as I look back, I am no longer left with regrets or sadness, I am left with memories that will stay with me for a lifetime. Learning to let go of the guilt, the anger has helped me see beyond myself and see the past for what it was, a series of events that took place. I am a stronger version of who I once was and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Shithappens whether we like it or not, its how we deal with the shit that counts, so on that note.

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

 

 

Statistics suggest that someone in addiction can have the best chance of recovery when their families are educated and in recovery too, but be warned there are no guarantees. 

 

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 fucking stratosphere of sadness and pain, but this time the option to turn to substance to help self medicate wasn’t there.

Trying to reason with someone who is permanently intoxicated is near on impossible, sometimes there would be a glimmer of hope, he would be hospitalised which gave him some clean time, I would get drawn into a false sense of security and hope, the promises of stopping drinking and sometimes he would stay clean for a time, but he would soon crave, kick-starting the cycle of madness all over again. – again It wasn’t easy.

Loving an addict is like grieving the loss of someone who is still alive, coming to terms with the hurt when you realize that the drug is more important than you. The sadness can be all-consuming and it used to come in waves, often I would push to one side my needs or the needs of others prioritising the needs of my dads. 

I found I had become addicted to dad, every waking moment, one moment I had hope, the next I would be waiting for the dreaded phone call to arrive. I was on a parallel journey with the addicted side of dad whilst he became obsessed with his drug of choice, I become obsessed with him.

My friends and family became sick of my incessant obsession with dad, I would turn down opportunities to socialise, soon the invites stopped coming. 

I knew first hand when I was entrenched in my addition I couldn’t see or acknowledge the damage I was doing to myself, let alone the damage and pain I caused my loved ones around me, that’s not to say I didn’t care, but I was so self-obsessed with myself I didn’t have the capacity to see. So I would try my dammed best to not take dads refusal of help personally, but the rejection and denial still hurt.

It seems counter-intuitive and is often greeted with confusion when someone suggests to a family member of an addict that they should seek help for themselves, after all its the addict who is ill, their rationale is “if the addict gets clean, then everything will go back to normal.” But the thing is, life will never go back to normal “Whatever the fuck normal means” 

I started to come to terms and to accept that whilst the opportunities to get clean might be there for dad if choice nor will isn’t there then I could never force him into recovery. Accepting he was on his own journey was hard, I had a choice whether or not I walked his journey with him, or walked away. In my case, I stayed, but I accepted I needed support.

Accepting help can take you on a journey, a healthier journey, helping you to become a more resilient version of yourself, you become more self-aware, your mind becomes less consumed with the addict. One of the biggest learning curves was accepting that I wasn’t responsible for dad’s addiction, the same as my mother or father wasn’t responsible for mine. 

The anger I felt, at the time was indescribable, resentments which I had bottled up from the past and anger around dad coming back into my life ate me alive inside. Then came the guilt, I would be ashamed of some of the thoughts that consumed my mind. I couldn’t talk to family, they were sick I hearing about my wows, I could see colleagues eyes roll at the very mention of dad. 

I found talking, and being able to offload the hurt and pain with like-minded people acted like a pressure valve slowly being released, it helped me lighten my thoughts, patterns of thinking, it helped me get back in touch with my own emotions, focusing less on the dad, what he said, what he did, or worse didn’t do

Support gave me a new perspective, the ability to see things differently. 

In my case eventually, dad’s alcoholism did kill him, I still live with regrets, I am not the person I was before dad and his addiction, but I am certainly a stronger version of who I was. Nothing in life is easy, but with the right support and willingness to accept support, it can help ease the burden. 

We only have one shot at this thing we call life but what I learned so far is that above everything that I have been through, is that the most important person in this world is ourselves. 

So for those still living on their wit’s end 

Please don’t forget you 

There is no denying you will still feel like crying 

Addiction is a heavy burden to bear

But try not to despair 

Remember“Deep down they know you care”

Make a pledge to yourself 

Be the best version of you

That’s all you can do

Your life is not over

Make time to mourn 

But be the best version you can

And continue to learn

Appreciate what you have got

We are not here long

Live one day at a time

Continue to be strong

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

My Addiction was the best thing that ever happened to me

I knew deep down that my drug use couldn’t go on forever, I just never knew when or what would make it stop, I was praying for someone, something any intervention to make all the pain go away. This period of my life was like being in a real-life nightmare, I knew my drug use was causing me harm, physically, emotionally and spiritually, but still, I felt compelled to use it. 

I can still vividly recall the many time’s I would look at my gear before ingesting it, knowing deep down it wasn’t good for me, I could stare at it for a while but could see no other alternatives so just went into “Fuck it” mode and would down the lot.

My thinking became so distorted I truly believed that the drugs were giving me some relief from life at that time, I had developed a warped sense of reality, I no longer trusted anyone, apart from one person, my dealer. 

We would spend hours talking shit, I felt like he was the only person who knew me, got me, understood me, turns out this was just a part of my delusions, psychosis brought on by my dependency on the drugs. 

I loved my job, It was my only place of sanctuary away from home, I love the customers the camaraderie but I could also sense that, that was also spiraling out of control, people started to treat me differently (or so I thought, I never considered it might be me) I was becoming less reliable and then one day I was given pay packet and asked to not come back. 

I was a walking paradox, I was a fake, everything about me was a lie, to the outside world all was good, life was good, but on the inside, I was screaming and crying to be helped, but the words would never come. 

I tried to hide my raging habit from friends and especially family fearing what might happen if people did find out, Oh god the shame I would bring on the family I couldn’t tell people that my parters job was dealing drugs and I was his joey, but they knew something wasn’t right.

Family and friends questioned my ever decreasing weight loss, I would shrug it off and blame work or being forever busy and always on the go, or worse I would interpret their questioning as being envious for not being able to lose weight themselves.

I became a master manipulator, I could twist people’s concerns and make them about them and not me. My mom had tried to seek help and had me assessed by professionals, on one occasion she even called the police, but would always deny that I had a problem and of course the offers of support.

All this did was isolate me even more which was more soul-destroying. I couldn’t go on like this forever, I knew something had to give and it eventually did, I snapped. 

https://www.shithappens.me.uk/2019/08/09/understanding-my-own-recovery-journey/ 

I gave up, I didn’t care anymore, I had no more fight left me, I realised I didn’t care what my partner said anymore, his words just bounced off me, they no longer perpetrated me as they had done before, I no longer gave a fuck about anything including myself! 

I can look back now and say hand on my heart that my addiction was the best thing that ever happened to me and I wouldn’t change a thing, the lessons learned have been life-changing, and any old or new ambitions I ever had have been realised in my recovery.

My drug addiction took me to dark places within myself I never knew existed, in early recovery I was still in that dark place, but I was brave enough to switch a light on when i did I started to see myself differently. My recovery was and has been slow, painful and many a time has been extremely hard, the struggle was real, but then when I compare it to how I was when using, there is no comparison.

In my early recovery whilst I still felt isolated, physically and mentally, I knew I had to step away from old associates and take a risk on trying to find out who I was. Ironically I started to feel more comfortable with being alone, not depending on or someone being dependant on me offered some light relief, it was a different kind of isolation.

I had always ways been incredibly resourceful, so a large part of my recovery was about honing these skills to better use. This meant focusing on me, putting myself first instead of everyone else, even when at the time this felt selfish and self-indulgent, I knew deep down it was the right thing to do. 

I started to learn and assess the healthy and unhealthy ways that I was using my energy and learned to identify my positive and negative behaviour patterns.

The relationships that count have been restored and the new friendships that I used to desperately seek out are now present and a constant in my life. 

I am now longer afraid of my feelings, including the negative ones, I now realise that this is part of who we all are, we all will experience pain, whether self-inflicted or by another, it one part of being human. 

Before I felt constantly suffocated by my thoughts too afraid to say what I thought, now I will tell you what I think, no longer afraid to share my views out of fear of being laughed at or brushed off.

I am better able to accept that change is inevitable, I come to accept that time and other peoples actions are out of my control, the only thing I have control over is how I respond to change. I am willing to take a risk and have learned to trust that success always out weights the failures.

Life feels less frightening I am less afraid of failure I welcome failure, we all need failure, it helps us learn, failure isn’t a bad thing it is healthy, its character building and improves our sense of resilience.

Rather than bottling up what’s happening for me, I will now confide with people who I trust, people who are able and willing to accept me for who I am and who will tell me the things I might not like to hear.

Hand on my heart I truly believe that had it not been for my brush with addiction, I wouldn’t be who I am today, if you are in dark place, I encourage you to never give up on yourself, you are more than you think or feel you are, find the courage to switch the light on within yourself to find your way out

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, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x