Hi, my names Jack and I’m an alcoholic.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”Brené Brown
I’m finally ready to embrace who I am. I’m an alcoholic, and in a flash of inspiration as I was praying this morning, I realised something. This is what I want my blog to be about: my journey into healing, my recovery from addiction and most of all reclaiming my ‘lost light’ .
I desperately want to be a ‘success’ story. I don’t want to slip through the cracks of recovery, and as someone who has been in and out of recovery programmes for a good few years I have failed more times than I can count.
My longest stint in recovery has been around a month, and today, for the millionth time, is day one. Again.
I have just about used up every resource available to me, and I feel like I hide it so well that everyone thinks I’m fine. A high functioning alcoholic is what they called me in the rooms. I could function well, could do all that was required of me to appear like a normal human being that had it all together. However, the truth is that everything has crumbled around me. We alcoholics have the Midas touch of the destructive kind.
Those that knew must have just shook their heads when I texted or called, and “It’s only Jack, he must be drunk again.” (Typical pesky alcoholics…)
The only step I have left is radical honesty and complete surrender.
Thus, the re-birthing of this abandoned blog, and the re-birthing of myself whom I abandoned a very long time ago.
I’m telling you this because it helps me, as shocked as you may be. My recovery needs to come first, and there must be no shame. This is my journey so far, and honestly, I’m probably not the only one you know that struggles around alcohol.
People ask me “Jack, why do you drink?” and, truthfully, I chase a fleeting high, a momentary blip of bliss. It’s particularly dangerous for me to drink because after that moment of bliss, 90 percent of the time it leaves me to the mercy of suicidal thoughts and my own mind. The other 10 percent makes me feel like I’m Lady Gaga or Bette Midler- a sassy queen.
Both scenarios ultimately lead to a crash from any perceived high or low that I’ve experienced, like a paralysis of body and mind. I drink more in a strained effort to keep the high going – and thus the vicious cycle is realised.
If we are all honest with ourselves, aren’t we all chasing highs of some sort? The thrill of a new purchase, the thrill of great sex, masturbation? Cigarettes? Food? The endless scrolling of social media?
We drug addicts and alcoholics are just a little more aware of the highs we chase and, quite often, the damage it inflicts. I’m well aware that a drink, to me, means a painful and harrowing death. Even so, I’m sick enough to make a choice that is borrowing time from my future.
I think I keep making that choice because I have ultimately concluded that it’s hard enough to exist in a world that you haven’t been taught to live in. Drinking your pain away seems much easier than sitting through hours of therapy and doing desperately needed self-work (let it be known it really isn’t easier, and if you speak to any alcoholic, we hate ourselves for that choice). I am making that commitment to health and healing today.
My emotions are highly erratic, and I’ve never really known or been taught how to self soothe or self-regulate. I thought it was something that every adult learnt, but the gift from experiencing the trauma I have is the knowledge that nobody really has it all together. We all seek numbness, because that all we’ve ever known.
Everyone is on this wheel of suffering. Isn’t it time that we learnt to step off?
I know there is a better life waiting for me, but I need your help.
Please, help me. Don’t offer me anything alcoholic to drink. Please don’t be offended if I refuse your invitation to the pub. My recovery MUST come first. I know you’ll understand.
You may not see alcohol as an addictive substance, and if so, I consider you incredibly lucky.
And after this year, if your friend is only asking for soft drinks, please don’t ask why. Just support them. Believe me, there are more of us struggling than you know.
As a society, we have glorified poisoning our bodies; it’s seen as socially acceptable. I often get asked why I choose not to drink, but it’s like any other drug addiction. You just can’t see it.
I know that to begin healing, we need to speak up. We can no longer seek to be numb from life, we need to show up for it.
The light that we are, the perfection that we are, is buried just under the stories we’ve created for ourselves.
Shouldn’t we let them go?