Updated: Jan 22
After over almost a decade of substance abuse, whether it be alcohol or recreational drugs, I have been clean for over four months. Since it was prompted by and essential for my recovery from surgery, I have tamed this inner monster.
My substance abuse and addiction became increasingly severe in the past few years. This was prompted by depression, the crowd I associated with and the prominent, acceptable and normalized place it holds within that group, and the view of quitting as an impossible feat. It's daunting. The mere thought of quitting, or even lessening use at times, felt like an ungraspable achievement. Even bothering to try is entirely hampered by your surroundings and any underlying mental health issues that you may be pacifying with substance use.
I assure you, it is possible for you.
But, here I am. Clean as a whistle, and enjoying my life to the fullest, despite the fact that I am still recovering from the trauma and pain from my injury. Here are some things I've found in the journey to becoming a sober, happier & healthier me:
You're going to crave sweets. Alcohol breaks down into sugars when digested. If you are used to drinking frequently and in high volume, like myself, your body is going to care sugars from other sources. I crave sweets like a mother******. Giving in to grabbing some bags of candy and indulging feels way better than the hangover and shame after a bender. Do what you need to do to get yourself over the first hump of overcoming your addiction. Cravings last generally for about 20 minutes. If you can ride out these 20 minutes, you'll likely be in the clear. Distract yourself however you need to. I did books upon books of word searches when I first quit. It helped to keep my mind elsewhere when cravings would start to creep up.
Go outside, get some fresh air, change your environment if you're feeling that inner addict becoming restless. I know how it feels to have those desperately strong cravings. One of Ozzy Osbourne's songs I Don't Wanna Stop pretty much sums up how I was feeling, constantly. No more Dr. Feelgood or trips to the wildside for this girl, and I couldn't feel better.
At first, it was so daunting. I didn't want to stop. Why would I? Drugs and alcohol helped pacify my self-loathing and social anxiety. I was happy to pacify these issues without dealing with them head-on. But, let me make myself perfectly clear, it WILL catch up to you. For me, this came in the form of a failed long-term relationship where I hurt someone I cared for so deeply, lost my group of friends for poor actions and behaviours, and eventually, jumping from a roof intoxicated in a fit of distress. Don't get to this point like I did before addressing why you're using these substances and looking at your options for dealing with them other than the band-aid method.
The guilt you feel will fade. Start accepting yourself, and know you are moving forward positively. There is nothing helpful about dwelling about past indiscretions in wrong-doings. These thoughts serve you in no possibly beneficial way. If people have left you because of either your prior boo-boos or because you no longer partake in a detrimental lifestyle, best they be gone. All you can do is build a better you and keep up the good work!
I feel better, I look better, and I am significantly less depressed. My mental health has flourished into a positivity driven mindset, and that self-loathing inner critic has been present less and less. This journey was so helpfully aided by intensive self-care, support from my family, select friends, and therapist, as well as changing my surroundings and daily routine. Yes, it's a lot. But you CAN do it too, if this prior mess of a human-being can.
Mr. Hyde is dead. And I don't plan an exhuming that part of me, ever.
Wherever you are in your journey, you can do it! Seek the proper support, whether that be with a therapist, family & friends, or external groups such as: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or any other group that you think may be beneficial for you to participate in.