Finding my light…

When I was in my twenties I did find a way to not drink for some time. I was introduced to AA by a friend who saw my drinking as a problem.
I got involved with all aspects of its active service and so on. I loved the community aspect of it that it felt like having a family. I do not remember ever having a real connection to my body at that time. In a lot of ways, it felt like someone else’s life, to be honest, and that I was going through the motions. I wanted to fit in, to be a better Mum, person, friend and so on. It was very little to do with myself.
I’m not sure how long I lasted I think it was maybe 18 months. It is 20 years ago now! I can’t recall exactly what happened but I can say for certain that I picked up the first drink.

That one drink led to drinking on and off for another 20 years. When I write that down it amazes me because I see how very little control I had over it.
All of my drinking after that was in the full knowledge that I had a problem and yet I couldn’t seem to stop or I didn’t have enough willpower too. So I tried different ways to control it. Only drinking at weekends, drinking stout, drinking beer or wine or cider. Only drinking from a certain time in the evening. Which drink can I feel less sick with sore with function better on? Which drink can I present myself to the world on… I believe its called a functioning alcoholic.


It did not get any better the more time went on. I had many rock bottoms and continued to drink. I drove on drink, tried to shoplift alcohol and was caught. I lost many jobs because of my inability to keep good time. One job I drank the night before I started a brand new job. I went to the pub for two pints to unwind the nerves(the stories we tell ourselves!) and be home early. Of course, I could not stop after two. I was way too hungover and sick to go to the job and so I lost it. I remember I attended a funeral where whiskey was served. I mostly managed to stay away from spirits but not that evening. I drank some and then some more. Eventually, I blacked out. I woke up on my sofa half-naked and with a black eye not remembering what had happened. Nobody had hurt me only myself that time.


I need to remember these times. This is what one drink led to and this is only what I’m comfortable sharing here. . Alcohol enabled me to function but never live. I was only living for the next drink and that’s the sad truth. With the drink came nicotine and marijuana when I could get it. I loved being comfortably numb…I was consumed. And it allowed me to shut off from any trauma I was still feeling or not wanting to feel in my body. I did not know that at the time but I have learned and now understand it better. For the last couple of years of my drinking Id had enough.

My body had had enough. I had turned 40. No matter what I drank it almost always refused to stay in my body. Such a waste of alcohol I thought then.My liver hurt. Everything hurt. I would be out of breath waking up my stairs to bed. I had a persistent cough and even took an asthmatic inhaler at times to help me breath. As much as I tried to ignore my body as it was screaming out I was sick of feeling sick. Things got in the way for a while…A wedding, a birthday party a Christmas! How could I ever get sober before any of these occasions?


I began to notice certain people. The sober people I hadn’t noticed before. I saw them even on social media and I saw their light and I wanted that. They shone and they didn’t hide the fact that they didn’t drink. For so long I thought there was shame in the not drinking that it had to keep a secret. The shame was all caught up in the drinking, not in the stopping drinking!!
Christmas 2018 I tried to drink a little as possible. I failed. I drank at some stage and it carried over for a few days.

But on January 5th 2019 something happened. The easiest way to describe it is this.
Step One: Admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable. When I did this step I believed in it so I also included nicotine and the green stuff. Why would I want to hold onto either addiction? So I admitted I was powerless of all of it.
Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step Three: Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him
.
I always believed in the existence of a God so step two and three from the 12 steps were workable for me. Whatever it is about turning my life over to the care of a higher power it has worked for me as I have not picked up a drink since that day. Recently I have started praying again more. For different people mainly and myself. Sometimes well often it is the only thing I can do. And I find solace in the that. A lot has been taken away during this pandemic but prayer remains and I find it hopeful. I also find it hopeful that it feels like I got another chance. The chance I didn’t fully take that I was not ready for in my twenties came around again. In between I managed to not die,not kill anyone or end up in prison and so on. Sure I have amends to make I made mistakes that cost. I wish I’d done better and so on. But I was suffering and only able to do what I could at that time.

Forgiveness is a big part of recovery going forward. Feeling into that not being consumed by guilt and forgiving myself. Recognising Allow Investigate and Nurture is a great resource I’ve been using by Tara Brach an amazing author and meditation teacher.
I’m greatly encouraged still by people I’ve grown closer to in recovery those who continue to shine there light and live there best lives too.
I like the idea of shining my light out now that I’m finding it.
Hoping as you read this your light is glowing.
Shine on

Shine On

One day at a time..

The light is shining

…its now been 10 months or 304 days since i gave up alcohol,marijuana and nicotine.I make a conscious decision everyday that i wont drink or get high today. Some days its really difficult and i have to draw on all the things i know to be true.Which goes something like this:

By myself i am powerless over my addiction.Many times i tried by my own will to stop and each time i failed.Admitting that to myself was the first step and it is the first step every single day 10 months on.

Other peoples opinions on my addiction do not matter to me.Those who consider this a lifestyle choice and a whatever makes you happy choice do not understand.And thats ok with me. I will continue to share my journey how i chose too,privately publicly or other. There is no shame in sharing my story and by sharing it maybe someone else will admit to themselves they have a problem and are powerless to control it.

10 months ago i had 4 jobs. All part time and none of which i truly loved.One of them was cleaning a pub on a Monday morning. I emptied ashtrays and mopped beer stained floors.I did this because it paid me 30euro and one month after getting sober i started therapy and it paid for some of it. Today i have one job.Its work but i do love it. Im proud to be a chef,to send out soft poached eggs every single time. To know that the cheese is proper melted on the sandwich.!!!To serve food that i would happily pay for!!!

Everything is real now that im not escaping/numbing.Sure sometimes that is overwhelming but sometimes the overwhelm is because of the most wonderful laughter with another person.Or looking across a lake when the rain clears and a beautiful rainbow fills the sky. Feeling that joy is new to me. Before i was so caught up in getting home to have a glass a wine or a joint. I was consumed with consuming and not being present in the moment. Now i get to be present and its wonderful more times than not.

Therapy has saved me from relapsing and i recommend it to everyone.A month into my sobriety i found myself a somatic therapist. This kind of therapy differs from talk therapy in that it focuses on releasing any trauma we may have held onto from the body. Its been life changing in so many ways. No its not easy. Yes sometimes i want to leave and go drink to numb what has come up to numb the ugly feeling in myself. But so far i have not.This way of life is for me and i do not ever want to go back.

What i have found in people and in this way of life far outweighs anything i have lost. When i drank i always told myself tomorrow i will stop and tomorrow was always another excuse.When i go to AA meeting i hear other peoples stories and its exactly the same.When i went to a meeting 10 months ago all i could do was cry because i heard myself in everyone and i was glad to be there. Yes it was so hard to walk through the doors alone but once i went inside i was not alone anymore.And thats how it is now to this day.Sure friendships have changed and some have gone away because alcohol was the only thing we had in common!! But thats ok. Ive realsied that my sobriety has to be the most important thing in my life..not the 2nd or 3rd the 1st.Everyday.

“To thine own self be true”

I have my own higher power that is personal to me. And everyday i ask for help to stay sober to stay true and kind. I say the serenity prayer daily because its simple and stays with me. …To Accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can…

So i hope reading this, whatever journey your own you own it and claim it as yours..and if its not for you than change it..its only one day and that’s today. That’s all we have so make it count!!

Let the light in and shine it back out!