On Wednesday I celebrated my 6 month sobriety anniversary from ALL my bottom lines.
I thought I’d overcome the cycle of burnout. Ironically I got through Monday with ease, had a productive therapy session on Tuesday afternoon and then BOOM. I can hardly recall what happened over the next week or so, but I know that I spent a lot of time in bed again, feeling very tired and unable to function ‘normally’.
The significant difference that I realised when I came out of my unmanageable state, was that I hadn’t experienced any low moods or feelings during my burnout, only a state of low energy.
This then made me realise that I couldn’t remember the last time I actually had a suicidal thought. What a lovely revelation to have just as I was falling asleep on Tuesday night, so when I woke up on Wednesday morning, I was quietly confident that my 6 month sobriety was well earned.
My sobriety absolutely coincide with the day I started taking anti-depressants again. For me, I find that there is a physical benefit to taking anti-depressants, but there is also a huge psychological benefit, because the process of asking for help and putting my faith in a Power greater than myself, directly supports the 12 Step recovery programs that I work.
In the beginning it’s just about me having enough motivation to want to change and using that motivation to take the first step and ask my GP for help.
I usually experience a short period of relief once I achieve this, as I’ve actually begin the process of turning my will and my life over to someone or something else. This doesn’t last long, a few days to a week or two.
Then things get considerably worse because the medication starts to take its physical affect.
Thanks to the support I get from my recovery buddies, I am able to share my struggles and take hope from their demonstrable strength.
Then after 6-8 weeks, the medication starts to work and I begin to feel a bit better. As the process continues I take bigger and bigger steps towards healthy living. Sometimes I overstep the mark and burnout, but this is all part of the process of learning my own boundaries.
Sometimes it’s 2 steps forward and 1 step back, others it might be 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
As I continue to have faith that ‘something’ other than myself is capable of healing me, I gradually begin to forget about the worry and pressure of the expectation I place on myself to get better. As a result, I do indeed start to get better.
This is not a journey I could do alone. My illness wants to keep me alone and isolated. It is a disease of arrogance and ignorance.
My illness doesn’t always stop me from knowing what I want to achieve, but I have no idea how to achieve it, so I just keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Each time I try that little bit harder, until I eventually POP and my body shuts down.
In recovery I continue to learn that having faith in a Power greater than myself, doesn’t mean God is going to fix me. Not at all. I have to do the work, but by not relying solely on my own will, I am able to seek support from those who are better placed to see my blind spots and weaknesses. The reason AA is so successful is because sober drunks know what drives the alcoholic to drink, so when we connect on common ground, we begin to trust others and thus learn to trust ourselves.
IMHO relapses are caused when the addict quietly takes control again and makes me think that I know best. Essentially my overconfidence or hubris trigger me into becoming ill again. This is a cycle of recovery that needs to be acknowledged, as it happens frequently.
Building stronger bonds with my recovery buddies allows me to continue to experience greater and greater levels of trust, which means, over time, I decrease my own reliance on my own will and begin to accept that this is a journey best travelled in company and that I don’t have to be alone.
It’s for this reason that I believe we end ever meeting saying:
Keep coming back, it works if you work it so work it you’re worth it!
…because it does!
Thanks for listening. It’s good to be here 🙂