Rehab

My Sober Diary: How I Overcame Alcohol Addiction

Hi, it’s me, Venus. I sort of have a drinking problem. I hear in Youtube that it’s called “Gray Area Drinking” now. Snort.

 

I have always been a drinker. My mum drinks, so does my brother. Ever one drinks right? I never really believed alcohol was an addiction. Well, until that date with Johnson.

This is my diary and I’m going to say what I want to say. I’m not going to be ashamed of what I’m thinking.

 

I met him at a restaurant. Johnson is about my age (I think? I didn’t ask.) He’s cute and charming, he’s an engineer in a posh office. We had a nice dinner, and then some wine. All the time we were together, I felt shabby, outdated and fat. I kept on staring at the Merlot. I was annoyed but I didn’t know why.

 

I kept on staring at the glass of wine.

Talk to me, my friend. Tell me what to say to this beautiful man.

 

I realized then I wasn’t with Johnson. I was dating the Merlot.

Me, Venus, having a date with wine.

Me, Venus, almost thirty, failed the A-level Maths Venus, stuck in a dead end job answering calls from people stuck in the lift. That’s me. Oi, how pathetic.

 

What a joke. I used to dream once. I’m like those people I help at work. I need to get un-stuck, I need to fix my life. I’m not thirty yet!

 

I’ve never really hit rock bottom, you see. That date was my turning point. Boys used to notice me. I wanted Johnson to notice me. What did he see happn, I wonder? Will he call me again?

I hope he didn’t regret dating me. I want to see him again. But this time, I don’t want the wine distracting me.

 

I have a horrid aunt, her name is Beth. She’s an alcoholic, she’s been to alcohol rehab, but I know she still drinks. I don’t want to talk to her, I don’t even like to think about her. But when I was with Johnson, I saw my reflection in the glass of wine, and I saw how I’m going to be her if I don’t stop. Soon.

 

I’ve been hearing the word “Soberista” going around recently. I finally got curious enough to Google it.

Is alcohol a drug? Do I really have to give it up? I don’t have a drinking problem. I am not an alcoholic. I’m not like my out of sorts aunt.

 

But apparently, I sort of kind of, am.

A gray area drinker, that’s what they call it.

 

So here I am, where do I start? I need a friend. I can’t do this by myself.

I Googled around until I found an online forum and drinkchat.

 

Excellent. I can just chat. I don’t need to tell anyone.

Let’s give this Sober thing a go.

 

Week 1

It’s been seven days since my last drink. My hands are shaking. I want out of this. I can’t do this. It’s stupid. I can always go back to my old life.

But I don’t want my old life.

I hit chat.

If it doesn’t work, I’m going to call mum soon.

woman drinking coffee

 

Also in week 1…

I’ve been sleeping a lot. I haven’t slept so much in years.

Last night, I dreamt something and it disturbed me enough to make me open this and type.

I dreamt I was flying. Not, flying in the air, flying. I mean being a part of the cabin crew, flying. I have always wanted to be a flight attendant. The uniform has sex appeal, and I’ve wanted to wear it since I was a little girl.

So last night, I dreamt I was flying, I was on the plane giving safety instructions like they do professionally, and I was in that sexy uniform, all grown-up and classy. At the back of my head, I didn’t know what I was doing. (I guess it was the part who knew I was dreaming). But for a big part of that dream, I felt like a rockstar.

I want to be that rockstar.

But to be that person, I need three GCSEs, Science, English and Maths, at C grade. Oh no. Maths.

 

Week 2

I’m avoiding hanging out with my friends at work. This is no good.

Yesterday was Friday so I decided, enough is enough. No commitments here. I will just test the waters to see if I can do it or not.

And you know what I discovered? Alcohol free beer. Yay!

 

Week 3

I still want to be a flight attendant. Goodness knows how long I’ve been trying not to think about that since I had the dream. My greatest frustration in life so far. Failing my Maths and not being able to apply for the job I really want. That’s the effect of dreaming and sleeping more I guess.

It’s time to call my mum and talk about it.

I’ll also Google up something and see if I can still do something about it.

 

 

Week 4

I made myself a little bargain. If I make it to the end of this week (a month alcohol-free!), then I will direct message Johnson. As a personal rule, I don’t message them blokes, they message me.
Meanwhile, I’m heading out to my first meet-and-greet with some Soberistas.

 

Should be a piece of cake. And speaking of cake. I do notice that I am craving eating a lot of those Double Deckers lately. Too many, if you ask me. Am I replacing wine with candy? This bothers me.

 

Later, at the end of the week

Congratulate me! I made it through the weekend! Thanks to my Soberista friends. Some realizations:
1. The party goes on even without the beer.
2. I haven’t heard music, real music for ages
3. There are far cuter boys in chat than Johnson. I can let him go now…maybe it’s not meant to be.

 

I don’t know where this is going, this online chat/Drinkchat thing. But I am sure about one thing. I don’t want my old life. I don’t want to be addicted to alcohol. I don’t want to stare at my drink instead of my date. I am fed up being lonely. I am fed up having alcohol for company. I am fed up with this life where all I do is take calls from people on the lift. I want to be out there and live.
Somebody in the party said that the opposite of addiction is not abstinence it’s connection. Well said.

 

The next few days, I don’t promise to be perfect. I never was, I never am, and never will be. But I will try my damn best. I want a change, don’t I? How bad do I want it? It’s not just the boys and the dating, I want to fly. I can see myself, seeing the world, going places.

I don’t want to be perfect, I want to be the best version of me.

 

Could you imagine, me, Venus, 30-something-year-old Venus, in a smart suit, heading to Thailand? What a day that will be. I fancy calling mum like that, from Heathrow, and asking what she wants me to bring home.

For now, I’m going to find out about re-taking the A-levels…No shame in that.

 

Rehab

My Experience in Alcohol Rehab

I want to share about my struggle with alcohol. Oh, where do I begin? I’m Linda, 38 years old. I’m a mum of two kids. One is a ten-year old boy, the other is a six-year old girl. At the peak of my career, I got pregnant, quit my job and decided to be a stay-at-home mum.

 

At the time that I made that decision, I was so sure I was doing it for “the greater good”. My biggest purpose was to raise my kids right. Now, I am not so sure about that. I am not so sure about myself.

 

Honestly, I am sick and tired of pretending to be who I am not. I am not a really good mother. I am not a really bad one either. The problem is, I am an alcoholic. I have been keeping it from other people for a very long time.

 

I think nobody really knows, except my husband and my immediate family. I’ve been keeping it mostly to myself.

 

My decision to go to rehab was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Ever, ever done. But it had to be done. I am not going to lie to you. I did not do it for myself (at first). I did it for the kids and for my marriage.

There is a horrendous wound on my daughter’s forehead.

 

It was caused by a motorcycle rider. He hit her while she was crossing the street. But I do not blame the man. I blame me. I was with when it happened. I was distracted and I was looking forward to my drink when it happened.

 

I was not watching out for her, I was not careful. I was selfish and I was at fault. I have come to grips with that. Now, I need atonement. I need to repair the damage I have done.

 

My daughter’s accident brought me to the doors of addiction treatment programs. There’s nothing more sobering than hurting your own child.

 

Or in my case, it was complicated by my husband’s outrage. (He blamed me a lot.) After bringing my child home from the hospital, and after everything calmed down and normalized, my husband took me aside and said,

“Look, we have a problem with your drinking.  It has gotten out of hand. You really need to change. Stop with the denial.”

 

One of my biggest fears in life is being unloved, being disapproved of and being judged. So, there I was, at my rock bottom. I had nowhere else to go.

 

Before the accident happened, I periodically checked their website, so I was quite familiar with what they offered.  But it still took me several sleepless nights before I decided I had to go. I read the reviews of Abbeycare on-line and they sound ok.

 

Maybe it won’t be as bad as I think. Anyway, I don’t have anything to lose. At least I’ll go and meet some interesting people. I needed to get out of the house, to leave the sadness and blame behind. At least for a while.

 

There is some thing, though, that I had to get off my back, particularly when it came to the twelve steps in alcohol rehab.

 

First of all, I am a non-believer, and I don’t feel comfortable when people mention God. Is it possible for me to do the 12 steps and not say “Higher Power this” and “Higher Power that?” I snooped around the internet and found this video.

The message I got from the video was that even if I am a non-believer, there is a place for me in a 12 Step Rehab. The video struck a nerve because the speaker (Beau Mann of Sober Grid) simplified the 12 steps in an approachable secular way that I could relate. Here they are:

12 PRINCIPLES

  1. Honesty
  2. Hope
  3. Faith
  4. Courage
  5. Integrity
  6. Willingness
  7. Humility
  8. Discipline & Action
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Acceptance
  11. Knowledge and Awareness
  12. Service & Gratitude

 

Simple, isn’t it?

 

Another video that helped me immensely was Russel Brand’s Podcast Under the Skin. Here, he invited Dr. Jordan Peterson  as his guest.

Dr. Peterson talked about the spiritual dimension in the 12 Steps and said,

“From a psychological perspective, partly what you do, when you move from an addicted state, is move from a viewpoint of the gratification of immediate desire—and maybe the accumulation of things as a marker of success—to the notion that, no: you actually have a higher purpose, and that higher purpose might involve being of service.

 

That could be of service to yourself—which means you wouldn’t be addicted anymore, because that’s not a good way of being in service to yourself—and to the broader community, however you might define that. That’s a higher-order purpose. It can integrate your motivations at a level that doesn’t leave you at the whim of impulse. That’s the purpose of a higher-order motivation.”

 

So my higher purpose is to be a better mum, a better wife. I will sign up for that. Rehab? I can do that! (As I said, at first, I was only doing it for my family, not myself.)

 

I guess my biggest fear in rehab is being judged. I don’t want others to look at me and think, “Oh, she’s a bad mum. A wankered, bad mum.” But if I don’t correct myself, I won’t change, won’t I? My previous thought process brought me to this dark place. It’s insane to think that my old, broken thoughts would heal me.

 

I need some help. I need other people. I can’t save myself. I need, for the lack of better term, a Higher Power.

 

In rehab, they don’t judge. They don’t. In fact, I felt really safe. As if I could just be myself and say what I want. I did not need to hide that I am an alcoholic (all of us in there are alcoholics). All of us there had faults. We were all broken people, but we were not hopeless.

 

One of my biggest problems is I don’t like letting go of my old habits. I’m the type to stay in my pyjamas until noon, but in rehab, that had to go. Since I was working with the mantra “For a higher purpose… For the greater good…” I decided to give it shot. Actually, what kept me getting up every day despite the headaches was what one of the counselors said,

 

I woke up a little bit less hesitantly every day, ate my breakfast, and focused on myself. For once. In rehab, we have morning meditation classes and therapy sessions. These sessions were painful but eye-opening. I also discovered how much time I gave to drinking. Without the alcohol (the buying, storing, hiding and indulgence of it), my days were pretty much…vacant.

 

The longer I stayed with the program, the more I hoped that change could happen. I once read a book by Paul McKenna, where he said, “Your imagination is more powerful than your discipline.” I think that applies to me now with my recovery.

 

 

What if one day I wake up and I do not have to deal with my demon anymore? What if one day I wake up and I am not a distracted, alcohol-obsessed mum, but a mom with a life to live? I don’t necessarily have to get an office job or go back to my career. I can start over. I can have a new life. Maybe there is something left of this brain to work with yet.

 

 

Being in rehab gave me this dream, this vision, and this vision sustains me. It is priceless and it is mine. I will hold this vision in my mind until one day, it will come true. In the meantime, I am quite thankful I found the right place to go to when I was really, really down. I am no longer purposeless, sad and hopeless.

 

In the end, I did go to rehab for me. Maybe you will too. Start the journey. It’s not that scary.

Hello

Welcome To Pathfinders

Hello and a warm welcome to Pathfinders!

Are you lost on the journey through addiction?

Or haven’t even begun?

Maybe it’s time you got ready to make the biggest journey of your life, beyond drug or alcohol addiction and into treatment and recovery.

We’ve got some good stuff in the works to help you here including our take on treatment centers, what to ask and avoid, commentary from guest contributors, all the chat about AA< meetings and 12 steps, as well as just starting out in recovery.

Need help? Let us know.

Looking forward to kicking this thing into high gear!

Speak soon.

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