Every alcoholic or addict leaves a string of victims in their wake.
Although it feels lonely and dark for the alcoholic or addict, the people in their life that love and care for them, are left devastated. A spouse, the children, parents and grandparents. You lifelong friends and trusted acquaintances, bosses and leaders you admire, work colleagues, religious guides and mentors. All scarred by the period of abuse. With no malice in their intentions, their only wish is for you to be well again.
Sadly, the damage caused to relationships through alcohol and drug abuse is often irreparable.
Having people who love you and whom you love, waiting for you outside the gates, greatly increases your chances of survival. These people are your Guardian Angels. They have suffered through your bullshit, and they’re still here now. You will never be able to repay them, but you should never stop trying.
Where can you start?
It turns out I was pensive leaving the clinic for a reason. I relapsed for the second time after being sober and clean for 3 years. When I left the clinic as an inpatient, I continued going back to AA and NA group sessions in the evenings. I carried on going for another year after I started to feel like I had a firm enough grip on my sobriety to slowly stop going. By the time I had stopped going, many of the areas of my life that were broken before, had begun to heal.
I became complacent with my sobriety and considered myself ‘healed.’ I foolishly thought I was cured as an alcoholic. It is said all forms of addiction can be traced to a trigger.’ Rehabilitation helps to discover what that ‘trigger’ is, to effectively deal with it. The process can be traumatic; it is hard to confront what is causing the drive to self-destruct.
Part of your healing is accepting and acknowledging the trigger and its key role in your alcoholism or addiction. You spend time on it because you should know it will be with you forever, and you will need to protect against it. Forever.
The decline was sudden, swift and devastating.
The journey back to finding my homing beacon was short and traumatically dark. Again, I won’t take you through the torrid details, but I was again fortunate to be able to receive professional treatment. The rehabilitation center I attended had provided a strong foundation. The clinic used it to further build and strengthen my resolve. After a week I was back home, sober and wiser.
I have been dry and clean since. My saying over the years is:
“You’ll have to get me drunk, to get me to take a drink!”
Over the years, I have assisted 8 other patients to attend that same rehab. Each had been living their own hell, desperately wanting to escape the clutches of alcoholism and addiction. They were all willing, intelligent adults that knew they had a disease. They knew they need help and couldn’t do it alone. They understood the process and the sacrifices to get better. They all went through the same program.
Not one is clean and sober today.
I mentioned I don’t agree with the reasons given why some schools might not want an ex-addict to talk to students about their journey to recovery.
Here’s why I disagree. Rehabilitation, at any level and for however long, is a victory. We must offer a message of hope. Hope is most easily lost when the success rates are as low as for alcoholics and addicts. Without the hope of ever getting better, life soon becomes meaningless.
Across South Africa, there is a generation of young adults and adolescents trapped in the cycle of addition. We can’t stand by while there are so many people suffering. I say, let’s offer hope through celebrating even the smallest of victories over the disease.
Live well and God bless.
Have an awesome weekend! 😄
Thanks for reading, I appreciate it tremendously 🙏
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 19, 2020.