And so he came back. A boy who checked into the rehab with his longterm addiction as baggage along with some paraphernalia we had to confiscate. I say ‘boy’, because even though he is in his late 20s, his drug use began in his teens and so he’s never had the opportunity to grow up and find out who he is. He is a little lost. I walked up to him and gave him a hug and he awkwardly returned it as I put my arms around his slender shoulders. In the few weeks since he discharged early, he’s gone back to using and was zonked, his head dipping as we admitted him, eyes rolling back. But despite the deadly grip of his addiction, in his beautiful, dark blue eyes there is a stubborn light that first appeared during his first stay. It was still there and I saw it.
On his first admission he’d been in a bad way and spent the first few nights in hospital, but a few days later as the drugs wore off, that light came on. I see it all the time but in this boy it was startling because he has been ravaged by drugs. He was getting his sparkle back and all of a sudden it was there. Even now, after falling off the wagon, that little light was still there. It’s come on and it’s refusing to go away. It fills me with hope. Somewhere, deep down, it’s taken hold and even if he relapses many times over, I believe it’ll defiantly keen on shining until he is ready to break free. I don’t know what it is about this boy, because in may ways you may think of him as a hopeless case, but I think it’s that light that I’m so convinced I can still see. It came on during his first stay and it refuses to die, I know it. It’s there, in his beautiful eyes. His pin prick pupils may tell the story of a devastating opioid addiction, but they also betray that will to break free that he might not even know he possesses. YET.
Stuff like that fills me with hope.
Then there’s everyone else too. I love my flock. Some want it and are ready, others still have some “research” to do but I consider myself so privileged to do what I do regardless of when recovery takes hold for someone. They’re all miracles.
As for me, I’m steadily rediscovering who Anna is. Like that boy, I was so lost for so long and it’s only now that I’m figuring out who I really am. Stopping drinking was just a small part of it. Rewind 18 months and I would have told you that drinking was the problem. Stop drinking – problem solved! Not so much, it turns out. Now I know that drinking wasn’t my problem at all. Drinking was my attempt to solve the problem. Gosh, it’s requiring so much work and digging I’m starting to feel like an archaeologist as I continue to explore and excavate the darkest corners of my soul. It takes time. Each little artefact has to be carefully extracted, painstakingly brushed off and deciphered. Go in too hard or too fast and you may clumsily destroy some of it. Little by little, piece by piece. All in good time.
It’s with a sense of inner peace – I know, right?! – and cautious joy I sit here on the couch this morning. In roughly 36 hours, I’ll be sitting with Hubby on the deck by the west wall of Falla and gazing out over the fields. I’ve sat there many times blurred and obliterated by booze, but these days I’m present and able to absorb those magical summer evenings in their fullness. Just like I’ll sit there in the mornings with a cup of coffee and feel full of life, not full of death due to all the poison I guzzled the night before. That’s magic. Magic in its purest, most divine form. May I make a recommendation? Recovery! It’s really fucking special, lemme tell ya. God willing, long may it continue. I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.
Yep, life on the Pink Cloud continues to be pretty damn spectacular. I get to work in the addiction treatment industry alongside kickass colleagues and clients, all of whom I learn so much from every single day. I’ve enrolled for a three-year course to become a counsellor, which is the area that tickles me the most. Who knows where it’ll lead or even if it works out, but right now I’m exactly where I want to be and heading in the direction I want to be going.
Today I am grateful that:
- I woke up without a hangover.
- I don’t have to drink today, thank God.
- I have a wonderful son, an amazing husband and two lovely bonus sons.
- My family is a great – if a little nutty – bunch.
- My friends are literally the best people on the planet.
- I get to do something I truly believe in and feel passionate about for a living.
- I am healthy and strong, and capable of so much more than I sometimes give myself credit for. There – I said it.
Most of all I am grateful that:
Today I’m not going to drink.