I love waking up in the morning. It is a special time of the day for me because I wake up in a comfy bed and I feel safe. I am grateful for it every day.
I love that the house is quiet, I read a book or watch an interesting video and I have my favourite breakfast which is coffee and chocolate chip brioche. That morning routine always makes me happy and I can waste time in the morning just staring out the window and thinking.
When I was in active addiction morning was hell. I’d wake up feeling terrible and have a hit in bed even before I’d got a cup of tea. Then I could face the day but it was never a good feeling waking up because I knew it’d be another day I didn’t want to do, a day of getting money, getting drugs and going through the same miserable struggle as the day before.
Mornings were hell in early recovery because I’d wake up and the first thing I’d think was, ‘God not another day’. Life was a process of getting through each day; I was tired of living but I didn’t want to die either.
The hardest part of recovery isn’t getting off drugs as long as you are able to get yourself into a detox ward or have somewhere comfortable to detox with medication. The hardest thing is living in the mess you’ve made of your life without anything to cushion it. Your brain contains none of the natural opiates the brain produces in healthy people which give feelings of happiness and contentment. Everything feels dirty, cold, dark and hollow. There is nowhere to hide.
To compound it, you probably don’t have a decent place to live or the basic essentials for living and by this point most people have no friends or support because you have to separate yourself from drug users. Your life feels like a train wreck and it is.
For me, getting through this period meant creating a recovery toolkit, which contained instead of drugs, things I do when I got really desperate. As time goes on you build a life with things make life living, but in this early stage you have to find small things to hold onto when you’re in the darkest places. Before I was able to develop this I would end up running my old pattern and I would relapse .
I found there must also be hope for a better future and to do that I had to be able to visualise myself in the life I really wanted. This meant putting aside limiting ideas which we are all deeply conditioned into believing, about what we think is ‘possible’. Believe me, even though I imagined the life I wanted, 3 years ago I never would have thought I would’ve got so far in this space of time – don’t limit yourself. Just when you think you can’t go on anymore, life can change in totally unexpected ways.
I really believe that drug addicts are some of the toughest, most resilient and most resourceful people in society. The strength it takes to keep living like that year on year without jumping off a bridge and the skills you have to develop to make it are huge. Society sees addicts as weak but they have no idea about the hardship people endure*. If you can manage to divert that strength and determination into building a life in recovery, nothing can stop you.
*I once read a blog by Eliza Player who wrote a book on her experiences, ‘Heroin, Hurricane Katrina and the howling within’. She slept through the hurricane and woke to find her town submerged in water. Not only did she have to survive in the devastation for weeks, she had keep a supply of drugs going at the same time. Her writing was excellent and made me think about the additional hardships addicts face. Addicts are often last in line for help, treated as less deserving of help than animals.