|This Pic is from an Ultra Marathon that I did just |
so I could get this picture taken
A while ago, I wrote that I wanted to 'feel what I feel, even if it isn't happiness' (thanks Toni Morrison - kudos to you for such word magic sorcery). By this, I meant that I wanted to remove the anaesthetising blanket that binge-drinking and blackouts had given me, to uncover what was really going on inside my head because quite frankly, beyond knowing the best pavements in Central London to have a nap on (*takes bow*), I didn't know much. Johann Hari argues in his book Chasing the Scream (a great read, whatever your views) that essentially addiction doesn't stem primarily from the drug, or alcohol, that you take, but from emotional trauma/distress.
I wanted to explore my 'emotional trauma' head on, no medication, so I could start to untangle whatever I was drinking to forget. Move over Sarah Hepola with your 'CSI: Hangover' - I'm here to crack the case!
I am 475 days sober today - I know this because for the first time in 110 days, I bothered to work it out (.... not manually.. I actually have got other shit to do, and you can find a terrific date calculator online). In those 475 days, I've run 2 ultra-marathons (6 marathons in 2 x 3 day blocks), raced 8 half marathons, changed jobs, been in a relationship for nearly a year (ongoing... with a real life human being) had a couple of family bereavements, nights out, nights in, gym sessions, takeaways (.... maybe more than gym?)
... Life, in short, has gone on, and all without touching alcohol. Not only has life 'gone on' but there has been incredible progress. I have achieved things I would not have achieved if I was still drinking, I have relationships now that I would not have if I was still drinking, I have a career that I would not have if I was still drinking.
So why, with all these statements that I do not for one second question, is a drink all that I want? Why do I see a pint, or a bottle, or even just a little shot (... or a million) as an answer to the way I am feeling now? Why, 475 days on, do I still have 'blackout dreams' and wake up, heart in my mouth, unable to remember what I did the night before and having to 'talk myself down' - "You finished work, went to the gym, ate a baked potato on your bed, and went to sleep without showering. You did, however, not drink."
... What happens if I can do it better now?
... What happens if I can't?
I was lucky enough to see two different friends during my working day today, with each having a profound impact on my current mindset. The first, gave me as a Christmas present a copy of '50 Races to Run Before You Die' cataloguing a bucket list of the toughest endurance challenges around the world.
|The world of 'recovery blogging' is super competitive. Do|
you know what those other blogs don't have? Selfies with goats.
My second friend, whom I saw almost immediately after, and I discussed problems in each of our lives. For me, I found myself slightly
I wanted to write this post because today I was reminded to be empowered by what I have achieved, and how far I have come in the last 2 years. 475 days gives me 475 reasons to go forwards and not back. I wanted to write this post because I wanted others to be empowered by what they achieved, and by the aims that can be reached. We all start somewhere - I started 2 years ago today (literally) and wouldn't change a second of it, even the parts that still hurt, or cringe (oh god the cringe hurts so bad) to think about.
Finally, I was driven to write this to help continue and develop this conversation about youth, addiction, alcohol for those who feel a part of it, and for those who feel that they have no understanding of it.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2017 - look forward to seeing you then.