Melissa is going through the journey of sobriety and I wanted to give you another view of what it is all about and why we fear relapse which is something she shares her personal experience with here.! You can check more from her here. Melissa thank you for letting us share this and it's all about people helping people!
Here is her story!
I have just come back from hell. I relapsed five days ago and fell into the void of my disease.
Hi, my name is Melissa and I am an alcoholic.
My relapse was pre-meditated, planned earlier on in the day, my mind was made up. Once my mind was made up the struggle was gone, I was at peace because I was going to drink. I knew how I was going to do it, I knew what I wanted to drink. I felt good about it. My rapacious creditor took hold of me in that first sip, and once that happened, the craving took over, and I could not get that bottle down fast enough. I almost didn’t go to my meeting, I was considering just finding a place where I could keep drinking. I threw out the bottle, which had a little bit left in it, and about thirty seconds later took it back out and kept going. I knew I needed to stop but I have a physical allergy, so I could not. I broke down in tears and was shaking. I showed up to the meeting in distress and crying for help.
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The next day was hell. I know I don’t have to describe to another alcoholic what the inside of that hell looks like, so I will keep it brief. It was hard for me to reach out that day. I was very scared, and in that scared space I reached out, I went against the grain of my illness. I reached out to my fellows and asked for their help, their counsel, of how to climb out of this abyss. I am very blessed to be in recovery and to have the amazing community of friends and fellows that I do. They picked up the phone, they responded to texts, and emails, and helped me through. This disease of addiction, even before the drink or drug is picked up, is a disease of isolation, of loneliness. I was able to come out of my relapse because these beautiful people were there for me, and reminded me I was not alone. This sense of community is one of the new parts of this new life I am building, and I am very grateful for that.
So, I decided to do a very in-depth inventory of my relapse over the last couple of days. Now that I am in my first week of sobriety again, and want to keep myself sober, I needed to put pen and paper and look at what lead me to that place in the most vivid way possible. So, there were a few common threads. Clearly, there were situations that were affecting my pride, there was a whole lot of self-pity, and plenty of fear. I have only started to take my inventory, and self-esteem seems to appear more than any other trigger. If I am being totally honest with myself I know pride is one of my greatest flaws. Why did I stay dry for the periods that I did and why did I hide my alcoholism from others? Pride, saving face, looking good in front of others. Why did I relapse? Pride, proving a point, getting even, taking my power back.
So what went wrong when I took those first few Steps? Now I have to look back over those, and take an honest hard look at myself. Since I was little I always had a problem with authority, people telling me who I was and who I wasn’t, not being in charge, feeling a sense of powerlessness over a situation. So what does Step One ask us? To admit we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable. Well, what is that really saying? That alcohol is an authority over me. It has an authority over me that I have no control over. Step Two, willing to believe in a power greater then ourselves could restore us to sanity. There again, needing to tell myself I am not capable of restoring myself to sanity, and that I need to rely on something that is not myself to heal me. Step Three, turning your life over to your higher power. All of these first three steps are me having to fully understand, fully know deep inside that I am powerless.
Okay, so I am powerless. I am powerless. I had a good cry about it, I let it sink in, but I wasn’t going to let it become self-pity. So, I am an alcoholic, I am a drug addict, I have looked at my relapse, I have conceded to my disease, so now what? What is my next step? I can A) Fear the discomfort of recovery, and keep drinking, go back to taking pills, wallow in self-pity, I have become an expert in that department, and I love to be an expert at whatever I do. Or B) I can embrace that nothing I ever do will change the fact that this disease is inside me, and that this uncomfortable journey of recovery can keep me on the path of a happy, joyous, and free life.
I am going to take B. I need recovery, I need a new approach to life badly because clearly mine hasn’t been working out that well for me. I started using when I was 19, and still find myself in the same predicaments at 27. This needs to change and needs to change right now. So what is one of the first things I can do to make sure my relationship with recovery goes differently this time? First, I need to breathe. I am still learning how to breathe, how to sit in one place for five minutes in peace and quiet without going totally nuts. I am either too much inside my head, or too much inside my heart (emotions). Meditation and mindfulness keep me in that sweet-spot between my head, and heart, where I am today, in a place of calm and balance. I am learning to slow down, and just breathe. Just breathe. Let go. Let my higher power be in control, and surrender to the day.
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My life has always been go-go-go, always running, chasing, over-exerting, and that’s just not sustainable. I am not allured by mundane, or things I find “boring”. I am a restless little creature who always needs to keep herself occupied because I don’t know how to sit in discomfort or something I am not down with doing. So, I need to start engaging and being a part of things I don’t normally find appealing, because I need to start finding a solace, and a sense of joy from everyday things, things that are not about myself. Now we come to it, the Achilles heel of this disease, myself. This is what I am in recovery for, so I can live a life for something greater than myself and can live comfortably in sobriety.
One of my fellows, who is one of the most fearless people I know told me the day after my relapse that “Warriors fall, but it is how they get back up that make’s them heroic”. It only took me until today to see the message in this. It is not just about getting back up, she said how. How means I can get back up differently then I did last time, and it is in that different choice that makes me stronger. This time I am not going to be the fire against the rock, this time I am going to soft-water my way through my adversity.
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