To Thine Own Self Be True
I’ve wanted to want sobriety. I honestly have. But I haven’t honestly wanted it with
everything I have. Until now.
I became increasingly dishonest and self centred throughout my time in rehabilitation as
a result of progressive relapsing. I make no excuses for this. It is the nature of my active
alcoholism. As the power alcohol has over me once I drunk got stronger, so too did my
powers of manipulation to hide it. Sometimes I could and sometimes – most times – I
couldn’t. My self centredness lies in lies themselves. My poison poisons me. Once I’ve
picked up that first drink, I find it almost impossible to stop. I say almost because at
times I have because I have had to. But staying stopped has seemed impossible. It’s
This time – and I believe it to be the last – I didn’t stop, and I have never been so scared
for my own life.
I have left rehabilitation now. I relapsed once again – my worst slip ever, both physically
and emotionally. Christine, the CEO of the treatment centre where I was living, picked
me up and took me to the doctor then back to the facility to detox on medication and
stay safe. A dear friend stayed with me overnight. The centre as I’ve known it is
expanding – a mark of its success – so currently wasn’t offering its usual detox. When I
was well enough, I was given the opportunity to do a refresher of my Primary Care
programme once again, or leave.
I chose to leave because my beloved treatment centre has given me all of the tools I
need to stay sober. It is now up to me to use them with the vital honesty, openness and
willingness that’s required in order for my programme to be successful. It has a 100%
success rate if you work it consistently and, finally, I’m 100% ready.
As my own Auckland apartment is an investment and constantly has guests coming
through, I found a room in another apartment with a few others who I believed to be non
drinkers but are in fact “normies” – what recovering alcoholics kindly refer to as people
who drink with impunity. One flatmate has the occasional lager with his dinner and the
other only goes out on a Saturday. I went out and blacked out.
I then tried to maintenance drink – to taper down to a place where it is safe to stop or
get a medical detox. I wound up in hospital and I can’t remember how I got there. Nor
very much at all after I was sent home about 24 hours later to recommence
maintenance drinking. The hospital didn’t have the resources to detox me. Maintenance
drinking simply doesn’t work for this alcoholic, and I would waver any. It’s like sending
me to my death bed. I bumped into an old alcoholic friend at a bar, who I met in
recovery and who had also clearly returned to active. So we drank together. A lot. I now
believe this was more than a coincidence. My phone got stolen and I asked him to
contact Christine. Unbeknown to me, she phoned another private rehabilitation centre
and organised a seven day medical detox there, for which I am forever grateful. It was
life changing if not life saving. I owe Christine – and myself, as only I can do it – my
recovery, and thus a life worth living and others being a part of.
Throughout the week, I was taken the very best care of. I spent a lot of the time in a
state of regret and shame and guilt that is indescribably painful. Paralysing. It stopped
me from moving forward.
My disease loves to see me suffer physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. It
wants me to feel restless so I can never relax. It wants to worsen my clinically
diagnosed anxiety until it’s crippling. It wants to make me agitated and irritable so
everything and everyone makes me uncomfortable.
It wants me to think unclearly and negatively. It wants me to hate myself. It wants me to
feel remorseful for the things that I’ve done in the past that I’d have never done sober. It
wants to make me hate the whole world for the way it is and the way I am.
I wants me to ‘poor me, poor me, pour me another drink’ and blame everything but that
drink for the way things are. It wants me to be deceitful and manipulative.
It wants to make me feel fearful and paranoid for no reason at all. It wants me
exhausted but to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. It is even in my dreams.
It wants me to be the first thing I wake up to and last thing I love before I black out.
It would rather kill me but will settle for hospital, rehab or jail. But it will still be waiting for
me when I get out. It loves to watch me go slowly insane.
It loves to damage my body. It sneered and chuckled when I had a seizure, couldn’t
walk, poisoned my blood, suffered several falls, used it to settle my shaking, and froze
and sweated at the same time, waking up with my sheets and blankets soaking wet and
sometimes covered in blood.
It loved giving me a liver count of over 2000 when it’s meant to be around 35. It hates
that it’s now miraculously normal and hasn’t made my brain as wet as my bedding. It
basked in the glory of appearing to help me through soul sucking relationships and jobs,
because it filled that hole – and it was huge.
It is more than grateful that it hurt and worried the most important people in the world to
me. It loathes that they still love me and I now love me and them more than it. It
absolutely abhors that I am now completely devoted to my spiritual programme and my
Higher Power(s) – because that’s the only thing that has more power than it.
My lifelong disease would love to see me dead. It loves that it took my Mum’s life – the
most important person in mine, and my best friend.
As Christine often says, “You can have one thing and lose everything, or give up one
thing and have everything.”
So, I surrender. I know it. Now I have to show it. Sorry is just a word and one I’ve said
so many times before, followed by, “It won’t happen again.” But it has. Time and time
and time again. The best I can do is stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.
So, que sera sera. I am walking the walk with both feet grounded in today.