The last time I had a sip of alcohol was 5 years ago. I was celebrating my birthday with family and friends in Clarke Quay. I had a great night but (no surprise) the worst morning. My recollection of that night was a blur, as with all the drunken nights prior to that one.
If drunk was all I became, I may still be out there drinking but alcohol to me was POISON. Not just physcially but mentally and emotionally. That poisoned trickled into every aspect of my life and almost killed every hope, every dream, every opportunity, every friendship, every relationship till there was nothing left but despair.
The first time I picked up a drink, I was 16, in a family-friendly pub. I remember getting smashed and leaving early with my mother. When we got home, I dropped a birthday cake I’d been carrying, on the floor before we even made it to our doorstep. I remember my mum looking disappointed and upset. But how she felt was not my concern when I was intoxicated. In fact, I blamed my mother for my addiction. I held her responsible for the all the wrong choices I made in my life and the failure I had turned out to be. Was she really the cause of all my destruction? I think not.
My addiction worsened with my first marriage. Let’s just say it was not the kind of marriage any girl would dream of being in. It was the total opposite of that. I had my son and was an absent mother. I mastered the art of dodging. I dodged my responsibilities as a mother, as a colleague, as an adult. I was living my worst nightmare and alcohol was my only “friend”. Or so I thought. I drank myself into oblivion to give myself respite. But the alcohol always wore off and I had to wake up to the mess I made the night, weeks, months, years before. There was so much damage; collateral damage. I was aware of the chaos I repeatedly created in my life but felt powerless to overcome it.
My life was happening to me and I was taking the beating I so ‘rightfully deserved’. The thing about addiction is that you never really know which came first. Was it the addiction that fucked up your life or was it your fucked up life which brought about the addiction? Regardless of which came first, addictions kill the individual if the individual is not strong enough to kill it first.
Today, I am writing this blog post to recognize the miracle that is ME. I should’ve been dead, sick, institutionalised etc. I should NOT be in Seychelles right now, sitting by this picturesque beach, happily married, celebrating a good friend’s wedding SOBER. None of these things were within my reach when I was an alcoholic. When I was drinking, I was taken off invitations lists, written off as a friend, dumped, ditched, bitched about, humiliated, annihilated, banned…you name it, I was on the receiving end of it. Alcohol took all the good life was willing to offer me, away. The most important being, the relationship I had with my son. He loved me but he always felt shortchanged and he had every right to feel that way. My addiction kept me from being a decent mother. I may have been physically present but that was as present as I was.
I saw myself losing everyone and most of all, losing at the game of life. So one day I said to myself, ‘ENOUGH!’ That day, exactly five years ago, has changed everything for me. I opened my eyes to a whole new world. A world I was so blind too previously. A world that was willing to offer me anything and everything I wanted. A world that was just waiting to give, as long as I was ready to receive. I now know how to smell the roses. Sobriety has taught me to create and cherish all that is good. I count my blessings each day. I am extremely grateful for every laugh, every smile, every meal, every cheque, every handshake, every like, every opportunity, every kiss, every hug…every day. Sobriety has kept me right sized. I as humble as I am confident, smart as I am clueless, easy as I am difficult, naughty as I am good, happy as I am realistic.
My message to anyone reading this, whether you’re struggling with an addiction or depression, bipolar, ADHD, a death or an illness, is to take it all in. Take all the good with the bad. Appreciate the lesson you are learning. Seek the light at the end of the tunnel. Search deep for the right answers. Never stop questioning your ability to shine. You’re a miracle like I am, like we all are. You ARE a beautiful message. You HAVE a story to tell, one to inspire. The power to create the journey you want lies in your hands and no one else’s.
Get rid of YOUR ‘poison’ and be AWAKE. Live now.