Surrender – or why does it take what it takes?

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I’ve been ruminating on why some of us relapse and others don’t.

What is it that makes us go back to drinking time and time again even after we swore that this time is the last time? Why do some of us go back to it even after we know we are addicted? Why does it take some of us a million day one’s before we really get it?

I open my eyes, I can’t swallow… my throat is raw. I’m still in last night’s clothes and my one boot is still on. I get a text message through… I’m trying to focus with my one eye but I’m still drunk. “Are you ok lovely?” “You had a couple of fall’s by the school gate”

I’m terrified. I can’t remember anything, last night’s events is a black hole…again. I hobble to the bathroom to assess the damage. There is blood in my hair and my head feels swollen on one side. I have deep bruises on my legs and arms. I try to swallow but I still can’t manage it. I start to cry, gin soaked tears are rolling down my cheeks and the sound I’m making doesn’t sound human. I fall to my knees and start to howl, I am shaking uncontrollably. I can’t fucking do this anymore! I can’t fucking do this anymore! There is nothing left of me. I don’t recognise myself in the mirror, the woman staring back at me has been in a fight, she has been in this fight for years. My face is sweaty red and swollen and my eyes are dead. The woman staring back at me wants to die. I want this fucking pain to end. The kids! …They’ll be better off without you; you’re a fucking disaster. What kind of mother are you? You are a waste of space, a disgusting fucking drunk!

That was the moment.

While I was looking at my reflection and those hateful words were shouting in a furious thunderous voice, somewhere else inside of me there was another voice whispering quietly “This isn’t you…you are SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS”

That was grace.

I’ve had many of those types of moments throughout my drinking career but this one was different. I was finished. I had been fighting with alcohol for decades and I was battle weary, tired to the bone. My soul was screaming out to me…SURRENDER. You don’t have to fight anymore. You don’t have to pretend anymore. Accept! Accept! Accept defeat! Accept that you cannot drink like a normal person.

My story is not a straightforward one, there wasn’t just one singular rock bottom resulting in a trip to recovery land with me riding off into the sunset on my sober horse. I got sober for the first time after I was arrested for public drunkenness, I was 19 . I was a student and I drank the same way my friends did but a bit more greedily. There was neediness to my drinking that my friends didn’t seem to have. I attended one AA meeting at the behest of my mother but there weren’t any young people in there, they were all at the NA meeting next door. The meeting was full of 50 years old men who all looked at me as if I were crazy. They kept on talking about being a ‘true alcoholic’ and they made me feel as if I was too young to be one and as if my antics were expected behaviour from a student. I didn’t go back.

I stayed sober for 5 years, white knuckling it as best as I could. I developed an eating disorder & the bulimia took the place of booze.

I met a man and moved to England where no one knew me and there I started drinking again. I had hoped that I ‘outgrew’ the binge drinking issues and that being older would magically help me to drink moderately. It went ok for a while but the drinking soon got out of hand again.

We started a family, I was sober for the pregnancies but as soon as the stress of motherhood hit, I used it to self medicate. The last 7 years I have been on lengthy sober stretches then relapses. 6 months sober 3 months drinking, 9 months sober…6 months drinking an on and on and on…. until last year when I had my moment of grace.

The reason some of us take longer to get there or go back out there is very simple. It’s a combination of lack of self-love and poor coping skills.

Who in their right mind would allow someone to beat them up over and over? Alcohol is like an abusive partner and the only reason we stay is because we think we are worth nothing. People who respect and honor themselves won’t allow someone to abuse them.

For this first time in my life I am really learning to love myself. Not just the ‘self love’ meme type of thing you see on Instagram (selfie time:)… I mean REALLY love myself. To be able to sit and look at myself with compassion and understanding is the only way I can stay sober.

The link between self-loathing and active addiction is obvious I suppose but I never understood it fully. Its only now with the clarity that sobriety brings that I can truly see that love is the only way.

To love and honor yourself every day. You are a divine being worthy of love. We are all divine beings worthy of love no matter how low this addiction takes us. The light inside of you cannot be touched by anything you ever did under the influence. That light…that is the real you and that is pure love!

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Surrender – or why does it take what it takes?

  1. This was hard to read because I relate to so much of it…and it still hurts to think of how badly I treated myself. I used to have to squint when I looked in the mirror because the only way I could look at myself was if my reflection was blurry (or I could take off my glasses). These days, I can look at myself. I’m more comfortable in my own skin; the self-loathing is gone. I have a long way to go, but I’m making progress. Thanks for sharing your words.

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  2. I sure like myself a lot more now! One of the hardest things to do is to treat yourself with the same compassion you would show a good friend.
    Even though it’s hard seeing my wrinkles and stuff, I know I am loved and I am loving when I look in the mirror.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Its funny. I used to feel so alone in the self hate. I used to see people on the tube and wonder how they were able to love themselves while I barely was able to like myself. Our stories have some similarities and also some differences, but the linking thread that ties us and so many addicts is the underlying lack of love and respect we showed ourselves. Somewhere we lost it, but it seems you have learned, and I am now learning to find it. Self-love and liking myself is so so so difficult, but the feeling of knowing that I am worth sobriety is what is keeping me going everyday. Coffee again soon? xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for such a powerful post and sharing your experience. That self hatred is such a crippler! Why do we do that to ourselves? Love ourselves last if at all? And, while you did have and “Aha” moment-and thank goodness you did! so many people just keep on going. Going until they can’t. Xxxx

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  5. Sounds like a hellish battle bravely fought. As well, it’s unfortunate there wasn’t more supportive recognition for the seriousness of your illness early on. Now that we have more biological evidence that addiction is an illness (eating disorders do qualify despite the fact that the DSM still fails to recognize it due to partnerships with the FDA and insurance companies) we are getting better at treating it. Of all the hoopla out there I still find love and meditation to be the best medicine. As you said there was a ‘neediness’ attached to your drinking that your friends didn’t demonstrate. I think we go back to our fixes because we’ve yet to learn anything that can make us feel even temporarily as good as our fix. Each success we have helps rebuild those neural pathways to a new good. One that beats us up less. I’m so glad you’re finding it. We are loved and good.

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