“I’m so sad today, I miss my old life,” I sent the message.
“That life came with too many complications, what exactly are you missing?“
I hated the person I was, I hated myself so much I penned a suicide letter a year ago. What exactly was I missing? The drugs? The alcohol? The foe friends I called my friends? The feeling of helplessness? The mornings I’d wake up and wonder what the fuck I did the night before? The days I talked myself out of giving up? Those days outnumbered the fingers on my hands.
“I miss partying, the drugs, the drinking. I miss it all.” I said. So much so, I’ve been tempted to get a script for adderall just to be able to focus on everything else except this grief, the death of my old self. But that only defeats the purpose of this new journey.
I miss that fun side of me, that one who needed to get high to feel alive. The one who was the life of the party, even though it was all artificial. The one who with each drink was really crying for help in a room filled with like minded people. And now I’ve that I’ve gotten the help, I’m here five months in shedding the layers of my addictions, longing for my old self. It now seems as though getting sober was easier than staying sober.
I miss pouring a drink and not tasting the alcohol. I miss conversations I don’t remember. I miss knowing what people thought of me and not giving two fucks because when I was drinking, another sip helped block my ears and put a fence around my heart.
I miss not having to explain why I don’t drink anymore which is now followed by a strict, “I’m in recovery for alcohol addiction.” I’ve now learned that’s the only way to really get someone off my back.
“I would never advise you to go back to that lifestyle Adriana but if you feel you can handle it…“
“I can’t break my sobriety, it would destroy me. I would never forgive myself.“
I then take myself back to my first AA meeting where a lady the same age as my grandmother passed on her number at the end of the session and said, “Just call me anytime if you feel you’re struggling because you know us addicts, we can’t just have one.” If for any moment I thought AA meetings was taking it a little too far, that very moment cemented that it wasn’t. I was where I belonged, for the rest of my life. I was never going to be cured of alcoholism, I was only capable of ensuring I took all the necessary measures to stay sober. This was the honest reality of my alcohol addiction.
Throughout my recovery, I have kept myself informed on what to expect. The withdrawals, fatigue, mild depression, mood swings, anxiety, low motivation. I was doing so well, the first six weeks were the most difficult where my body started to shut down in a chain reaction to it not receiving it’s chemical cravings. I accepted this and dealt with it. I knew my recovery wouldn’t be easy, I knew there would be many ups and downs but I was finally at a point in my life where I was willing to put in the work and do anything to get better.
I’m currently at the post-acute withdrawal stage where minor symptoms of withdrawal return. This is a period that can last up to two years as my brain chemistry is beginning to return to normal. I suffered from alcoholism for 11 years, you can do the math on how much damage I’ve done.
“It will be the hardest journey you ever do in your life but freedom doesn’t come without the journey. The further you go, the more you’ll unleash and the freedom comes. You have to go through this process, some good days, some exciting. Some where you’re so happy that you’ve come so far and then reality kicks in where you’re going to be faced with yourself and you have no process addictions and it will seem really dull. And because there’s no process addictions, you’re just living life as it is. And those dull sort of lonely days keep you healing. Allow yourself to heal, allow yourself to grieve and allow yourself time just to be. Allow yourself this disappointment and this feeling of ‘this is shit’, I promise you it gets better. Life keeps going but you get stronger.“
❤︎ My Yoga teacher in London, MummusEarth
It’s easy for me to miss a lifestyle I only ever knew and used as a coping mechanism, instead of facing my trauma. It’s easy for me to say I miss partying, drinking and being easy because my self destructive streak was second nature, it was who I was, it was what I was known for. My life became easy because I was living in constant process addiction, feeding it subconsciously. The routine was palpable, the pain was palpable, the outcome palpable. I normalised the path of self-defeat and destruction.
The hard part is rebuilding all I am in a world that is constantly trying to define me by my past, or take me back there. The hard part is admitting that ‘I am an addict’ but no longer engaging with these addictions. The hard part is rewiring my entire being from everything I have ever known and applying it on a more positive and fulfilling forefront. The hard part is watching addicts around me expose me to a mirror and hearing the voices in my head say, “How badly do you miss me?“
The hard part is learning how to love myself in ways I never have from nothing, kinda like when you first get a puppy, except from an addict’s perspective, there are no stars in your eyes- All you see are flaws and you must find reasons to love them every single day.
And the most difficult thing I’ve had to do so far is learn how to dance like no body’s watching without a single chemical in my blood stream. The day I conquer that, I never miss my old self again.
It’s easy for me to say that I miss my old life because that life is easy, that life was a cop out for me. When I look at my life right now and all that I have achieved in such a short space of time, was life ever really worth numbing? I think not.
Hi I’m Adriana & I’m an alcoholic.
Image Credit // Ivana Dobrovoljec
** This post first appeared on The Huffington Post **1