IF ONLY I COULD JUST NOT DRINK OR DRUG, my life would become bountiful, unicorns and rainbows in deep abundance.
Not exactly like that, but the wishful thinking I was left with when my drinking and drugging careers ended wasn't far afield from this illusion. Illusions were my carryovers from the decades which preceded my abstinence. My self-denial and restraint left me with an emptiness which drugs and alcohol once filled.
"Where to? What next?"
Left with nothing, in absence of my drinks and drugs, I still felt shackled. My mere abstinence felt like an incarceration in emptiness. Decades before I stopped (I had to stop. Addiction was killing me.), chronic use had given me occasional small pleasures and a shitload of unhealthy consequences.
After nearly two decades in recovery, the snapping sound of a pop-top beverage still is the sound of a beer can opening in my ears (and I was never a beer drinker - except to drink to sober up with, strange as that may now sound). Sometimes, the smell of a cigarette can ignite a cue. Even small exposures to the drinking, drugging life I once led can jumpstart thoughts of a relapse.
But I don't act on them. I will not incubate a relapse. I have learned to let go of thoughts which could return me to disorder, chaos and drug dependence.
The underlying traumas of my teenage years were salved by drug use, a 30-year drug career-in-the-making with disastrous results and no traumas dealt with on the road ahead.
Indulge. Self-indulge. Youth lost or stolen in a world of out-of-control, destructive behaviors and dire consequences.
ABSTINENCE is Not RECOVERY.
Addiction left an empty hole in my life, wider than a 3-day blackout stretched to infinity. I would have to do more than recuperate from years of drug abuse. Addiction-free, to remain so, I would have to choose all options leading to a healthy, happy, fulfilling and purposeful life.
My recovery would be a journey with no clearly defined endpoint. I would grow as my recovery developed. Self-empowerment, social inclusion and the development of coping skills were in the mix. My attitudes, values, feelings and goals would replace the empty bottles and endless search for that ever-elusive MORE that addiction most definitely became.
Recovery is satisfaction.
Hope, meaning and purpose would not be found behind the door called Abstinence. The door called Recovery opened for me ever-so-slowly. Abstinence gave me a Shot. Recovery is my Chaser.
That is funny because it's not.
WE DO RECOVER.
Share your Courage. It's contagious, if not downright addictive.
We do recover.
Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal
(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): https://lnkd.in/esP83n-c
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