ONE YEAR SOBER

 I did it! I freaking DID IT. 

ONE.

YEAR.

SOBER. 

365 days ago I got a phone call from my keyworker, informing me that my case has been accepted and I was to start disulfiram the following day. It caught me off guard. Really off guard. See, an addict has a plan of how they are going to say goodbye to their substance once a plan has been arranged. It is every bit as painful as saying goodbye to a dear friend you know you can't see or speak to ever again. Because, for as long as you have been active in your addiction, your substance of choice has been your best friend. I never got to say goodbye as I had intended. It was a sudden, sharp separation that was effectively forced on me.

I wanted to go to Brown's. I wanted to taste my favourite cocktails one last time, because I knew with every part of me that I would never, ever have it again. I felt like a death row inmate that was denied their last meal.

I have a lump in my throat writing this out.... This is about as raw and honest as it gets.

A few months before I started disulfiram, a girl I really connected with on a mental health support forum also started the medication and was doing great. I looked up to her and we supported each other. She passed away very suddenly last August. I don't know how, but in the back of my mind I do wonder if she broke down and had a drink. It's very well known that the disulfiram reaction can be fatal. I really hope that isn't what happened to her. My heart breaks every time I think about her. It's not fair that she passed away. I miss her and I wish she got to see her own year of sobriety.

I stay sober in her memory. I like to think that she's there to give me a kick up the backside if I'm having a hard time, to keep me on the right path. I guess it depends where your beliefs are. I know she's free from the pain and torment of addiction, but that's about as far as it goes.

It has been the hardest year of my life, without question. If I hadn't stopped drinking and using clonazepam when I did, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be sat here talking to you today. There were too many close calls. The only evidence I can look back on is a picture I took of my wrist shortly before I was taken to the inpatient psychiatric unit. There were 6 needle marks where they had taken arterial blood gases. SIX. That's probably one for every initial hour I was in a coma before I was transferred to the high dependency unit.

Whenever I think about that night it makes my blood run cold. This was less than 2 days after we celebrated my boyfriends graduation. I can look at those pictures and see that I am very, very unwell. So swollen and pale. My eyes are empty. I barely remember that day and I hate myself for it.

I can't believe how much has changed, and continues to change. It's only for the better. There is absolutely no way I could build my blog up into what it's slowly becoming if I was still using. I certainly wouldn't be preparing for my degree. My only interest was where my next drink or next hit was coming from.

I can't say with absolute certainty that I won't drink ever again. It might happen. I'm not naive enough to say that I'm recovered enough to let my guard down. It's hard to be in bars and pubs, but it's not hard to order a non-alcoholic drink. If I am feeling very unsettled and likely to have a hard time with being in that environment, I won't put myself in that situation. It's as simple as that.

Through all the pain, screaming, tears and anger, it's been worth it. 

The Code
  • Your sobriety comes first. Protect it.
  • Take each hour as it comes.
  • Distraction is your friend.
  • Don't underestimate the power of addiction.
  • Get support.
  • Get educated.
  • Get into a healthy routine.
  • Do not surround yourself with people that trigger you or feed into your addiction.
  • Your recovery is as unique as you are. Own it. 
  • Don't be afraid to try new things. 
  • Play the tomorrow game.
  • It's ok to experience your emotions. 
  • Acceptance is key. 
  • We are not powerless. 
  • Be accountable.
  •  Make a sobriety savings jar. Put your usual drink/drug money in the jar and watch it grow.
  • Treat yourself, every time you reach a goal or milestone.

 What would you add to the code? You don't have to be an addict to have ideas for what would be useful!

I'm ready for the next 365 days.

SOBER.
Samantha Nicholls. Powered by Blogger.

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