When I grow up

What will I be?

Sometimes I dream I am a Parisian fashionista. A total air kissing arsehole. With myriad food neuroses and no interior walls in my apartment. I live expansively in the northern heart of the 6th arrondissement, subsist on nothing but treacly espresso and the odd Virginia Slim, and scowl a lot while saying things like, ‘See you in Milan!’ with no hint of irony whatsoever. I only want to do it if I can have a thick foreign accent though – French obviously, or Italian, although I would settle for Russian at a push.

Or a professor. An earnest and bespectacled academic, sitting hunched amongst piles of dusty books in a small, windowless office somewhere in the prestigious bowels of an ancient university. Trembling students piss in their pants as they knock softly at my door, wide eyed on pro-plus, the terms work in their other hand ready and waiting for the famous red pen. I am brisk of course, but always gracious.

Or maybe I am a foreign war correspondent. With nothing but a dog-eared notebook and a ballistic vest. I fly home and cannot sleep for the smell of death.


People often assume that getting sober means simply putting down the bottle. You just stop drinking, life immediately gets better, and on you go much the same as before. But in fact stopping is just the beginning; the very first step in a forever evolving process. Addicted people are seriously ill – physically, mentally, and spiritually. We also continue to be more or less vulnerable to relapse for the rest of our days. And so of course we must put down the bottle or the substance in order to make any sort of recovery possible, but simply being dry does not equal real recovery, and real recovery does not equal simply being dry.

Because addiction is not merely a pesky add-on to an otherwise normal existence. We become it. All encompassing, it seeps into every corner of our lives and corrodes all it touches. It distorts ones world view and changes our entire perception of reality. In order to continue, we addicts must learn to justify the unjustifiable, rationalize the irrational, and in doing so mould, bend, and force lies into becoming the truth.

And so what real recovery becomes is a truth revealing process – one of learning to see the world as it really is, and ourselves for who we really are. One in which we realise that we were never as ugly and stupid, nor as beautiful and clever as we may have thought. With the help of others we take thorough personal inventory and the truth gets revealed, piece by piece. It is this truth that has the power to really set us free.


I know that I am unlikely ever to be a revered academic or a war correspondent. A Parisian dwelling fashionista seems improbable also. But I can write. In fact all my life I have wanted to be a writer and yet I have never once submitted a thing. My own distorted world view told me I was useless, that I could never stick with anything, that I was feckless and not to be counted on, had no idea what an Oxford comma was, and that anyone I showed my work to would immediately be able to sense all this so there was no point in even trying.

And whilst some of those things may once have been the case, the real truth is slowly being revealed to me, piece by piece. This truth sets me free. I am not my addiction, and no longer defined by my addictive behaviour I can change my perception of reality. I can recover – I am recovering – and through this process I am finally growing up.

I have wasted much time already. Now is the time to try for my dreams.














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.
This entry was posted in Alcoholism and addiction, Work. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to When I grow up

  1. I think we all need the truth revealed piece by piece. Or maybe that’s because having to come to terms witht the fact that I will always have to guard against the Black Dog I am in a similar position.

    PS. I write for a (sort of) living and I have no idea what an Oxford comma is….

    PPS: Think I like the Russian sounding fashionista wierdly it reminds me of the designer in the Pixar cartoon The Incredibles….

  2. don’t try – go for your dreams. they will be yours.

  3. Iota says:

    I like an Oxford comma. I think it’s day has come.

    • Gappy says:

      No doubt I will like it too, once I wrap my head around what it actually is. Something to do with putting a comma before the last and in a list? Is that right?

  4. mistressofboogie says:

    i think the Oxford comma may be my favoritist piece of punctuation, but who cares? that’s what editors are for, right? Submit stuff; you know you want to!

  5. You’re a fantastic writer. Go for it missus xx

    • Gappy says:

      Thank you Jean. I’m going to give it a shot. Nothing happens if you do nothing eh? If it doesn’t work out, at least it won’t be because I never tried.

  6. Ray says:

    inspirational. you are a writer Gappy and a very good one

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