On 28 October 2017 I moved into my house share on the Isle of Man. It was where the biggest change I’ve ever made in my life started, 3 years ago today. As I sit here typing this I’m filled with sadness, excitement and pride. I don’t recognise that person who was frantically emptying my tiny box car with the small amount of items I managed to take with me – my clothes, a few pictures to remind me why I was on that crazy journey and a few essentials. I can’t remember how much cash I had available to me, but I know it was less than £50. I didn’t have a clue how things were going to go but what I did know was that I needed to get a job ASAP which was pretty daunting knowing that it would take 2 weeks to get a work permit and that was from the date of being offered a job.
When I started this blog it was the one thing that kept me going. It gave me something to do and stopped me thinking about going for a drink and writing my problems down reminded me I was making the right choice by changing my ways. I don’t feel the need to write anymore but it’s nice to post a little update on special dates like today.
When I look back I can’t believe how much my life has changed. I’m like a completely different person and I’m now the person who I was always meant to be and not the one I thought people wanted me to be. My mum once asked me about how I felt when I was struggling and the only way I could describe it was every day I felt like I was balancing on a tightrope and about to fall off several times a day.
The photo above was taken on the morning of 29 October 2017, and is the result of my last binge, three years ago today. The cuts probably don’t look that bad really but it’s what was going through my mind and the horrendous feeling of failure and sadness I felt that sticks. I’d relapsed after 15 days sober and absolutely knew I had turn things around. I was a mess, my life was a mess and I was destroying everything.
Three years on and life couldn’t be any different. I have a job I enjoy, a great circle of friends and an amazing partner who I moved in with at the beginning of lockdown. JT has contributed to my recovery more than she knows. Being settled has finally given me the security and comfort I so desperately needed and I didn’t realise this until very recently. I thought I’d done all my grieving for my dad but now I know I’ve only just started. Seven years later!
It’s strange because so many things along the way have contributed to my recovery which I’ve only recently realised. I was nowhere near ready for a relationship when I met JT and I still had a lot of work to do. In fact, when I returned from the Isle of Man in August 2018 I was still a lot more vulnerable than I actually thought I was. Eventually it lead to me drinking in moderation which did work to a certain extent but I’ve realised now, it’s not for me. I don’t regret having a go at moderation because I do believe we have to try lots of routes before we find the one for us. Obviously, everyone’s recovery is different and that could be more dangerous for some than others. A lot of thought went into my plan and it was a process that lasted over a year.
Some of you will be wondering why I talk about being 3 years into my recovery when I’m 5 months sober. I chose to drink in moderation and I thought long and hard about it. Yes, it was a relapse but through the whole of this journey since that day in 2017, I’ve been making positive changes and trying to be the best version of myself that I possibly can. As long as that continues, I’m in recovery. It’s so important that people realise a recovery date doesn’t determine a sober date.
I won’t bore you with the details of my recovery because it’s all here on my blog somewhere but it really is the best thing I’ve ever done and I don’t regret a minute of it. Do I regret taking it too far in the past? Not really, because I believe we go through these situations, obstacles and processes to become the person we’re meant to be. Do I regret meeting some of the people along the way? Hell yeah! But they also did their bit. They made me strong as fuck and determined to make something of myself.
1,095 days of recovery and 172 days sober…
Stay strong, stay positive & keep fighting.