My Story

It is an absolutely beautiful day today, and I am happy.  This is something I wrote on the Tube, feeling thoughtful.



1) a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.
2) the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.


Days are lighter now.  It’s the only way I can describe it.  I’ve lost the weight that kept me anchored, all the things that stopped me dreaming.  That may not sound like a bad thing, starting to dream, but as I sip my lime-and-soda, I wonder if the nightmares mightn’t come back…


I don’t go to meetings any more.  Each meeting is a promise I can’t keep, or a lie that I tell.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  It’s a desire I no longer possess.  For a while I had that drive, I held on to that hope, because drinking was wrecking my life.  Moments after I “fell” from that window, I wondered, briefly, if I might not survive the impact.  I felt the back of my head and, in my heightened state of drama, I felt blood on my fingers.  There was no blood, no life-threatening damage ensued.  The ankle snapped.  I didn’t hear it.  I was too busy listening to the rush of the breeze in my ears as I sailed- yes, I sailed- to the ground.  (To anyone else’s eyes, it must have looked like a plummet).  Through the haze of medication and alcohol, through the whispers and the shadows, I could feel only the darkness of unreality, closing me in yet leaving me lighter: falling, flying.

A week and a half later, after sliding up to my bedroom on my bum (crutches in one hand), I found the wine gone mouldy on my desk.  I felt intense desire; I felt intense hatred.  I felt, finally, that plummet, the plunge, that others had heard and seen but I not experienced.

I felt depth.

 I hobbled in to my first meeting filled with doubt and despair and hope, and found hope there.  In the dim candle-lit church hall, I found what they call identification.  Recognition of oneself in another, their stories all partially mine.  Heart at the base of my throat, I spoke, choked, imagining my tears lit up poetic by the tiny flames, yet hoping that that wasn’t the case.

Weeks later, in the same place, I met my future sponsor.  And over the course if the months that followed, I found humour, and friendship, and a lightness I hadn’t experienced in years.  Sometimes exhilarating, sometimes frightening.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, I found my way.

And now?

Well, I moved back to London.  I found similar support there and embraced it with what strength I could.  Tried hard to stay afloat where I felt myself sinking, to stay dedicated where I felt myself falter… but slowly, quickly, I lost my drive.  Circumstances got in the way; life got in the way.  And I experienced what “they” would call relapse and I?  Simply a change, not a darkness or a brightness but a subtle move from one form of living to another.

For months, I assumed I’d go back.

But as months passed, I began to re-learn myself.  I lacked one type of strength- the strength that allows others to stay stopped.  Yet I possessed another: that which allowed me to move through my life liberated from the vice-like (pun intended) grip that alcohol once held over my life.  I don’t believe anyone can call themselves “recovered”.  But I cope, and somehow, somewhere along the line, alcohol has lost its power to destroy, and I have developed the ability to enjoy.

It isn’t easy.  Isn’t.  Easy.  There are moments and will always be, where I feel I have made a wrong move, that it will hold me in checkmate (chess not my strong point) until I surrender to the madness or return to meetings through those ever-open swinging doors.  I would not be ashamed to turn back the way I came, if consequences became too dangerous, too dark.  But for now I’m not unhappy, not unsafe.

So why this fear, when I think about stopping- just for a month?  I’m in training for a half marathon.  It’s something- if alcohol is no longer a problem for me- that I should be able to do.  But I doubt, and I fear, and I waver.  I dread the lightness I referred to at the start, leaving the hope of dreams and the terror of nightmares wide open.  I fear for the strength that I lacked.  I fear the revelation that I can’t, I can’t, I can’t- and what that would mean.

But what can I do but try? “Where can we live but days?” (Philip Larkin).  A month is made up of weeks, are made up of days, are made up of hours and the challenge, such as it is, is a minute-by-minute thing.  I learned that in meetings.  I learned that as part of a new way to live.

Recovered?  No.

But empowered?

Well, hopeful.

I hope so.


3 thoughts on “My Story

  1. Pingback: A-Z Blog Challenge: A | Only See Your Good Side

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s