*WARNING- This post may be triggering for some people*
There is no way in the world I could have gotten sober in London. No chance.
I know this, I accept this. I take my hat off to anyone who has. London has always been my playground, a city that deepened my addiction issues and opened the door to demonic toxic behaviour. It brought out the worst in me, it brought me to my knees.
I toyed with the idea of suicide three years ago but decided to give myself one last chance in life. That meant leaving London and to get clean and sober, therefore my recovery began in Zagreb, Croatia. I’ve had bad days in Zagreb too while in recovery, it hasn’t been all roses and peonies, I legitimately contemplated if it was all worth it a million times. I almost relapsed a few times but I found the courage to remain sober, it’s easier to say yes, far more difficult to say no, no more. I hated myself over and over, on whole new levels..fuck I’m an addict. And I’m open about my addiction. Who will ever love me? Who will ever understand this twisted dark world of mine? Nobody until I began to understand and accept myself.
One thing I have learned about trauma is that is stays with you until you deal with it. My trauma from an abusive relationship definitely triggered my alcoholism into deeper depths but it didn’t really surface in my face until three years ago when I figured my life was so shit that I needed to commit suicide to end all the pain. I made a pledge to myself that I’ll get sober and commit suicide after 12 months if life was still shit (that day would have been 11th September 2017), but I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to at least try and live clean. No excuses.
I did and I succeeded. It was a very challenging 18 months to begin with, one with no help or support from my immediate family. Looking back, I literally detoxed on my own in the privacy of my four walls, undoing the pain and numbing without a single R U OK? I am now entering my third year of sobriety. During my recovery many other traumas from my life and past surfaced, some of them harder than others. Most of them stemming from my childhood, I started to uncover the root of all my pain. The journey has been tough but what I have learned is that I am tougher. I was also fortunate to have a loving partner who helped me face them all. I was no longer alone for the first time in my life.
I had my reservations about visiting London again. London reminded me of my former self, the wild beast that was loud, obnoxious and self destructive.But I didn’t know how to be this girl anymore. She had left my body long ago but I figured she would still haunt me as I visited her grave all over London.
Being in London opened my eyes to how accessible and acceptable alcohol is during all hours of the day. You can literally drink from morning to evening. Morning champagne? Totally OK. Wine at Lunch? Yeah that’s fine. After work drinks? You better! Bottle at dinner? Yes, sure. Cocktail after dinner at a nice bar? Totes cool. This was my life once upon a time. It was my normal.
I even met with an old friend who literally said, “Oh your actually really sober? Like it’s real…” after ordering sparkling water with my dinner. My past thought I was lying. Yes dear, I am sober and I take it very seriously. I watched her deteriorate over the hours and morph into my former self. It made me sad but it reaffirmed that I had made the right decision by choosing life and my sober self. Self love is not self sabotage, a game I knew too well how to play. Self love is walking away from all those things that continually hurt you, each sip, each line, every emotional vampire you encounter. Walk away.
Looking back I can’t believe how much I hated myself, I didn’t care if I would die. Often I would hope that my next sip or next line would stop my heart from beating. I’ll be honest, there is one thing that keeps me up at night these days in my recovery and that’s dying. It’s going to happen but I don’t want it to happen anytime soon. I’ve only just started to learn how to walk in life. I see the world and the world sees me.
I think back to all those nights I was a shadow in my own darkness, not a care in the world. How stupid, how ungrateful, you see nothing when you’re high, when you’re drunk or better yet, the days after as you clear it from your body if you’re even that lucky. I would always repeat the cycle the following day. How foolish and selfish. But I’m one of the lucky ones, I got out. It doesn’t hurt me anymore, it can’t touch me and it will never control me again. I’m one of the lucky ones.