“You only live once”,
“Make the most of everyday”,
“Live each day like it’s your last.”
I would hear these statements all to often, and they were always from people who were in a good place in their lives. Fair play, these people always wanted to share that life was worth living, but they could have given me a million pounds, a mansion and all the trimmings, it would not have made me any happier.
These inspirational quotes were a great excuse to drink,
“You only live once.”
How true this is, I was not going to waste my time walking around parks looking at tress and bloody squirrels, I was going to be in my ‘happy’ place for as long as possible, every day. If you only live once you may as well,
“Live fast, die young.”
“Make the most of every day.”
It was far to easy to change the message here."
“Go hard or go home.”
“Live each day like it’s your last.”
Well, whoever came up with this one may as well have just put the drink in my hand. When you get to a point that your last thought of the day is, ‘maybe I won’t wake up tomorrow, and it will all be over’. The comfort in knowing the more you drink the sooner that not waking up will come.
I had planned my last day, it involved playing with the kids, eating nice food, making sure my wife was rested and relaxed. Well, she would need her energy, she was going to have a lot of stuff to sort out. The main aim of the day though was to get as much booze down my throat as possible, whilst using my last ounces of energy to make sure I did not come across too drunk.
I was annoyed when I woke up in hospital, my overdose had failed and would have to deal with my mess of a life. I knew what was coming, and it was not pretty reading. My wife and kids moved out, I lost my job, COVID hit and inevitably the police turned up to deal with a few issues that had been brought to their attention.
I did go out for a couple of things, one being Turning Point, to try and prove I could fight my addiction. I did not think I could, but I had enough brain cells left to tell them what they needed to hear. I would keep my head down on the journey, I did not want anyone to notice me, I had convinced myself that the world was a bad place, and everyone was out to get me. The other place I went was ASDA, no points for guessing that this was for my daily alcohol fix.
The curtains were closed, God forbid that someone would knock on the door, that would destroy my whole week. The house was a mess and full of empty beer cans, I had moved all my family pictures out of the front room and was just waiting for death to come and set me free.
Then the call came, the call that should have given me hope,
“Hi Neil, you have a place in Detox and then at Acorn Recovery.”
I should have jumped for joy and started planning, I did not, I went and made sure I had enough beer to last 4 or 5 days and locked myself in the house. I did not tell anyone I was going to rehab because honestly, I did not want to go. I had reached one of my many ‘low points’, daily online searches on how to kill yourself, and as always I just had to find out what was wrong with Acorn Recovery and how they would let me down. I had evaluated the whole service before I had arrived and of course the place needed shutting down, it was not fit for purpose.
My detox was as hard as anyone else’s but by no means the hardest anyone has ever been though. I was getting my head round why I was in a room with drug addicts, I was clearly better than these people. I had achieved things in my life, I had been places and seen things. I had no idea at this point that everything I thought I had was just a sham. It was masking what I had not found in life, my demons were hiding behind nice holidays and fancy Christmas’.
It was my ego that arrived at Acorn, I again had the right answers, and would soon be fixed and back to ‘normal’, on my way out into the real world.
When we were told we were going for a walk and it would involve a trip out on the minibus, the realisation that maybe I did have issues hit me like a brick wall. I spent the week before our ‘nice’ trip out planning how I would get out of it. Why should I leave the safety I had found in treatment? I certainly did not want to go for a walk and end up right back where I started. What a complete waste of energy. I did not enjoy that day out, everyone else did, and for the first time rather than thinking the whole world was wrong I started to look at myself.
Shortly after I was told by a peer that my sarcasm came across as arrogance and people did not know when I was being serious and when it was a joke. What a shock to the system. Had people always thought this about me and just never mentioned in case it created a confrontation. What a revelation, the way you think people perceive you isn’t always a true reflection of reality.
Since then, I have looked at every aspect of my life, my past, my behaviours and how these affect other people. I have tried to keep my humour but have tried to be aware of how it makes people feel. I still take it too far sometimes, but I am getting better… and that’s the point I’ve learnt, if I can look back at the end of the week and I’ve dealt with a situation better or pushed myself to go out more and see the beauty of a walk in the park, then I’m doing OK.
The main thing I have got out of this whole process is that everyone has something to offer, however much you think their views, beliefs and practises are pointless and moronic. I felt a fool the first time I laid down for mediation, I wanted the floor to open up when I got a yoga mat out, and don’t get me going again on going for a walk in the park.
The most bizarre part of it all was me and my corrupted views on the world and life. I wanted ‘life on my terms’, what I hadn’t realised that life was influenced purely by money and greed. I wanted money and others wanted in turn to take that money from me. No one can take away the things I have found in treatment, and in my new life. No one except myself. And ‘just for today’ I have no plans of doing that.