They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab… (and I said well, ok, if you insist)

And now I have returned. The same but different. Five weeks spent in a drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility will do that to you.

I have returned (god damn it) with more addictions than I went in with. Turns out I am a Poly-Addicted Person as opposed to ‘just’ an alcoholic. I know. Go me. I have also (you’ll be pleased to hear) acquired lots of new skills and ideas, a twenty a day Marlborough Red habit (what, WHAT? It’s better than drinking) – and some brand new jokes. Ahem. Wait for it…

Q: How many old gits doped up to the eyeballs on Librium does it take to insert one bloody seat belt?

A: Quite a bloody few.

Hmm. I think perhaps you had to be there. I laughed like a drain, which wasn’t very kind really, but what can I say? You had to take your kicks where you could get ‘em in that place.

But seriously. Now I am home, having changed on a fairly fundamental level I think, only to discover that everything else has remained the same. I don’t know what I expected. But deep internal shifts notwithstanding there is still the washing to do and the post to be opened and the weather to be discussed. And suddenly I am lost at sea. I can’t seem to adjust back to normal conversations. I mean non addicts discussing the weather? Why do they do that?

I am full of self pity, I know. Because I never asked to be an addict. And of course in an ideal world I wouldn’t be one. Oh poor me, poor me, (pour me another). Such a mountain I have to climb. Sometimes I just want to talk about the weather you know? Like normal people…

“Oooh yes, looks like rain this afternoon doesn’t it? No, no wine for me thank you, I’ve an early start tomorrow. As for any mainlining, snorting, or random sex with strangers, no I couldn’t possibly. But thanks all the same! Ta-ta for now – and don’t forget your umberella!”.

You see the thing is, this isn’t about drink or drugs or sex or gambling or anything else external. It’s about the illness that is addiction. And unfortunately addiction is an internal condition of which the substance of ones choice is merely a symptom.

I say unfortunately because if recovery was as simple as merely putting the substance down, us addicts would all be laughing. Because the majority of us can stop, for a time at least. I know I’ve stopped a million times. A trillion times. But we cannot stay stopped – even when it has become imperative that we do so – and it is this that separates the addicted from the so called ‘normal’ population.

The story goes something like this: The addict begins to use his or her substance of choice to cope with life because they find life – for whatever reason – to be intolerable. The substance makes things bearable until the consequences of indulging become intolerable in themselves. The addict is then stuck between a rock and a hard place. Continuing in active addiction has become too painful and obviously unsustainable, however life without the substance is still just as intolerable as it ever was (perhaps even more so due to the consequences of active addiction) and so to just give up and face things sober is unbearable also. There appears to be no acceptable solution.

So what is to be done you may well ask?

Well, what I now believe is that in order to survive and achieve any sort of long term meaningful and contented recovery, we have to learn how to think, feel, and therefore behave differently. We addicts literally need to re-learn how to live. In other words we need a new programme for life. Our old ways of being and thinking have failed us and led us repeatedly to disaster. We have shown ourselves unable to handle life on lifes terms. And so we must change on a fundamental level. We must question everything we once thought we knew. We must accept our powerlessness over our addiction and *most importantly become willing to believe that there is then a power greater than ourselves that can guide us and restore us to sanity*.

Now when I first heard that solution I said what any self respecting newbie recovering addict might. I said:

“FUCK THAT, NO WAY, YOU BIG BUNCH OF CRAZYS!”

I’ve since calmed down a smidgeon, but still… that’s a tall fucking order man, to change completely. And the truth is that most of us don’t make it. We die. We are killed by the poisons we put into our body. We are killed in accidents resulting from our intoxication (which almost happened to me). We commit suicide because we cannot live with or without the substances to which we are addicted.

But. And it’s a BIG BUT. Recovery is there for anyone who wishes to grab it with both hands and take the action necessary to achieve it. Any of us can choose to take that leap of faith at any point.

And you know what? I’m taking it. I’m leaping.

Because I want to live.

 

 

P.S. Here are some links anyone affected by this post may find helpful:

 

 

 

Alcoholics Anonymous

   Narcotics Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous

Spiritual River To Recovery

Find a Rehab Online

P.P.S. Fuck, maybe now I’m sober I’ll even be able to construct proper sentences that don’t start with ‘Because’ and ‘And’. Here’s hoping eh.

*For those people reading this who wish to recover from their alcoholism and/or addiction, but who are put off by the religious undertones of the twelve steps – I hear you. That was me too. I have always identified as an atheist and I initially found that element of the programme really difficult. But coming to believe in a power greater than yourself doesn’t have to have anything to do with religion, I promise. It’s a spiritual concept and open to personal interpretation. Trust me, if I can work a twelve step programme, anyone can!* 

 

 

 

 

 

About Gappy

Blogger and single mother of three. Likes cake. Hates Jeremy Clarkson. These are my principles - if you don't like them, I have others.
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22 Responses to They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab… (and I said well, ok, if you insist)

  1. Sally says:

    You’re doing a good thing. Wishing you bucket loads of strength. And I start sentences with ‘and’ all the time. So it must be alright, right?

  2. Emily O says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed you can do it. Life is full of mountains as it is without addiction complicating things. And I often start sentences with ‘and’ and ‘because’. Rules are there to be broken (breaking grammar rules is about as rebellious as I get).

    • Gappy says:

      Thank you Emily! I feel very positive and as though I have been given all the tools necessary to recover. It’s just up to me to apply them now. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself – a day at a time and all that – but I’m feeling good. Your support is hugely appreciated. x

  3. Paula says:

    You always were a brilliant writer. You still are. Now I hope you’re a brilliant writer with a future beyond addiction. Much, much love x

    • Gappy says:

      And love to you too Paula! Like I said to Emily – I’m feeling tentatively positive. I’m two months sober now and haven’t experienced any cravings since being out of rehab. I’m not complacent, but things do feel different this time. Watch this space. x

  4. notsupermum says:

    Good grief, I want to say so much – like I’m glad you’re back; you’re a fantastic writer; YOU CAN DO THIS; plus lots of other things but it’s the middle of the night and I’m not fully awake (but awake enough to not be able to sleep).
    And what’s wrong with starting sentences with and?
    love to you xx

    • Gappy says:

      And love to you too mrs (see what I did there?)

      I believe I can do this too. I had some wonderful teachers at the treatment centre – people who had once been hopeless alcoholics and addicts who were now long term clean and sober and living successful lives. The best thing is that I’ve been given a specific set of instructions regarding what to do, rather than just being sent home on a good luck and a prayer. So it’s a question of applying the tools I’ve been given. I have so far and it has worked for me – I’ve experienced no cravings at all. So I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, keep putting the action in, and taking it a day at a time from there. x

  5. One day at a time, you can do this. Life is worth changing for. Go for it

  6. Heather Davis says:

    I just want you to know that I’ve read this Gappy and have been really moved by the honesty and insight of your words. Lots and lots of positive vibes coming at you.

  7. Gappy says:

    Thank you Heather – for reading and for taking the time to comment. I certainly appreciate all the positive vibes I can get. x

  8. Get your systems in place so you know you have failsafe options and use them! I find I need mine more than I’d like to admit fro my depression but I get through time after time and I am still here which has to amount for soemthing esp. when there are times when I get that overwhelming feeling to put a stop to everything – that’s when the failsafes cut in and although it isn’t pretty I get out the otherside with help – and life in general is amazing and I’d hate to miss out on it! Good to know you want to stay with us all it’s barking out there and it is one heck of an adventure! :)

  9. Gappy says:

    Barking indeed! You’re absolutely right about having a plan for tough times – I do have a really amazing support network in place and I know what to do if the monkey gets on my back now. Thank you for commenting Tattie – it’s lovely to ‘see’ you. x

  10. Ellie says:

    GAH! I love your writing! I absolutely adored your poem (post below) too. You are so very talented. I’m glad you have writing – so glad – because creativity is a life saver (at least it is for me) not just in early recovery but over and over.

    You described the obsessive addicted cycle better than almost anything I’ve ever read.

    Sending you so much love and support, my friend. I hope you keep writing as I adore your insights, your honesty and your humor. These things will help you SO much.

    -xoxo

    -Ellie

    • Gappy says:

      Hey Ellie! So excited to see your comment – thank you. You know what? Today is a good day. I’m sober, and I’m grateful, and that’ll do me. It definitely feels good to get back to writing. You know yourself how important it can be to have that creative outlet. So glad to have you in my corner! x

  11. Steve says:

    Funny, I suddenly started thinking about all those people who feel their lives are intolerable but who just carry on and never question it. I actually think that is worse. Better to realize change is necessary and move towards it even if it is scary as fuck.

    Lovely to see you back. x

    • Gappy says:

      That’s an interesting way of looking at it Steve – yes, I suppose there are lots of people who just soldier on through the intolerability with nothing. Poor buggers. I’m so grateful to have found recovery. x

  12. Peri says:

    Gappy, your post has made me want to cry and cry and cry, because I know you read mine, and you kindly sent me a link to your update, and I hold my breath and wish upon a star that my friend finds the courage you’ve found. I hope against hope he finds a reason to live. Good luck to you – what you’ve achieved is amazing and inspirational. Truly. Sending you much love and good wishes. Thank you, Peri xx

  13. That’s one of the most brilliant accounts of addiction I’ve ever read. It sounds terrifying, horrific – but what shines through your writing is strength, courage and, most remarkably, humour. Hopefully those rare qualities will help you on your long, hard journey.

  14. Ray says:

    Great to see you back Gappy. You’re a wonderful writer. We all have demons and its great that you have had the courage to face yours – the hardest part I think- and now feel able to overcome them. Good luck on the journey and keep posting x

  15. Sandy Calico says:

    Oh Gappy, I’m sorry I got here so late. I have got an excuse, I’ve been rather ill. It was a wake up call for me to re-evaluate my life and to chose to look after myself in the future so I can be there for my children.
    How are you getting on? I do think about you and, when I do, send you random positive vibes. I miss your writing. You know we are all here for you if you want to write about your recovery, or anything else that takes your fancy.
    Take care x

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