Facing Up To Reality

“Previously, I had found a kind of peace in alcohol and pills”

The second week of my addiction rehab I began to appreciate the routine dictated by the rehab. After a heavy detox as I had lied to get a higher dose, and with a hundred things swimming around in my head, I was happy to tow the line. I was exhausted and felt beaten. Carrying out simple tasks had become difficult, distracted by all the negative thoughts I was having, I just wanted some peace. Previously I had found a kind of peace in alcohol and pills, but it was a stark realisation that no amount of mind altering chemicals would quieten my mind now. I was left to face myself…. and boy was it painful!

This week I was tasked with writing my Step 1, part one on Powerlessness. I was no stranger to the 12 Steps and had previously attended AA. I even had a sponser and had been taken through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but I had failed to make the necessary changes in my life to achieve long term sobriety. I believed I needed all the medication I was taking; the sleeping pills, the Valium, the anti-psychotics. These were the very things that I felt allowed me to function on a daily basis, no matter how dysfunctional that was, I was terrified of how I would feel without them. Yet somewhere inside of me, I knew I had to try. The truth was that I needed to change, and no amount of medication could achieve that for me. I was reassured that I was in a safe place where this process could begin and that I would be shown the tools to help me live a life completely clean from alcohol and pills. If I was ever granted one wish, it would always have been the same: peace of mind, so simple, yet in my mind impossible to achieve. I had well and truly given up on the methods I had tried to achieve it. “I wanted to be there for them, to see them grow up, to be the best mum I could possibly be”

My Step 1 was like a hard slap in the face. The hopelessness and futility of the way I had been living was apparent. I had lied, cheated, broken the law, manipulated and harmed others and myself. My attempts to control myself and my life had all failed and culminated in me ended up here. The tears started to fall and I felt like they would never stop. I knew in my heart that there was much more to me than this. Yet I was completely overpowered by my addiction. It had become my master and had stamped me into submission. I had become so used to following my addiction that I know longer knew who I was. I felt like such a failure, but seeing others in the rehab who were further down the line, spurred me on. They seemed to be gaining peace of mind, they were laughing and joking and making plans for their future. I wanted to be like them, but there was no short cut. If I wanted to get what they had, I had to do what they did and theses first steps, although painful were part of that process.

At the end of my second week I was allowed a visit from my parents and children. It had been a time since my parents had seen me and the look of shock on their faces could not be disguised. I was thin and drawn, my hair was falling out due to stress and my skin was grey. I looked like an addict. My heart felt like it was broken into a million pieces as my little girl and boy came into see me. My daughter who was one and a half at the time, in the space of a few weeks had learnt new words. My son who was five at the time was showing signs of stress in a flare up of eczema. I hugged them both tightly and didn’t want to let go. My children loved me, no matter what, and they deserved more than I had been able to give them. My parents looked fatigued and frightened. I had caused them so much worry and hurt, yet here they were. It meant so much. My children were now living with their father, but clearly missing me and very unsettled by my absence. Leaving children to go into rehab is one of the hardest things ever, but leaving children to go to an early grave is something they never recover from. I didn’t want to leave that legacy to my children. I wanted to be there for them, to see them grow up, to be the best mum I could possibly be and as hard as it was saying goodbye, I knew in my heart I was doing the right thing.

Next: A Journey Through Rehab – Week Three