Old Habits Die Hard

There were times during my addiction when life felt like it was unravelling all too quickly, my go-to response was always the same – bury my head in the sand. I would find a victim to blame or even worse find a victim to take boozing. If I had someone with me whilst I was ‘on it’ it meant I had someone to consign my bullshit to, i.e blaming everyone else and questioning why they were always on my back. I used to think “no wonder I drink like this” all because people were nagging me to stop.

When I was ‘performing’ in my alcoholism, I would always try and justify what I was doing but there was never once a valid argument. I would create blazing rows out of thin air so I could go drinking and if the argument didn’t work then there was always plan B – threaten suicide. For me that’s difficult to look back on, knowing I could threaten such a thing to my wife when I had put her through several failed attempts already. I was like a tornado on a loop, constantly ripping through my family’s life. Every time I attempted suicide I would re-emerge form hospital and quickly return to my old ways. Each time dragging my family back down with me to the darkest of places.

In my endless search for justification of my ways, I would compare myself to other alcoholics – one of the worst things an addict can ever do. I was comparing myself to guys in their 70s who had worked hard all their days and now drank that little bit heavier. On one particular occasion I was standing at the bar drinking with a catheter attached to my leg – yes you read that right. Not only that, but even in that state I would look at others and think “when I get as bad as him, I’ll stop”. I was 36 years old and peeing into a bag! How bad did it need to get?

I would constantly try to convince myself I was ok. On another occasion I was at a pub in the city centre that opened early in the morning, around 8am. I would often walk past this pub and peer in with a look of disdain. Fast forward 6 months and I was stood in that pub at 8am looking outwards, thinking “what are they looking at?” I used to spout all sorts of nonsense in that pub about running businesses all over the place and how Friday was my drinking day after flying home every Thursday night. Utterly delusional.

I was also a snob of an alcoholic – who’d have guessed it. I would look down on people begging in the streets. Nowadays though it’s a little more difficult to ignore them. I’ve met so many people who were on the streets because of alcohol. Begging and stealing was the only way to fund their habit and having met some of them in recovery, they’ve turned out to be some of the nicest people I’ve ever known. I was no different to any of these people in the street, the only difference was I stole from my family and they stole from the public.

I sometimes have to sit back and reflect on lucky I am to have such an amazing family. As I write this I’m on a flight home from an incredible (sober) holiday with my amazing wife. She smiled a lot on this holiday and I can’t tell you how amazing that is to see. No drink, pill or powder could give me the same high as seeing genuine happiness on the faces of my family – it quite literally gives me goosebumps.

At my worst, I lost the ability to feel any kind of emotion towards them. Getting sober made everything come back – the good and the bad. This time, however, I savour the good and refuse to succumb to the bad emotions that made me drink.

The struggle is real, but the struggle is worth it. That look on my wife’s face – it’s all I’ll ever need.

By God am I glad to be sober

G

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