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It's Plain Sailing From Here

Mental Health and Trauma Blog | Noisy

One of the hardest points to get across when in recovery is that no matter how many years have passed, regardless of how well you're doing, it's never plain sailing. I'm now three years clean of drugs, although it is a significant amount of time, it's still a daily battle I endure. Some days are easier than others, and some days are as hard as the first day of withdrawal. With any addiction or substance abuse you're always in recovery, regardless of how much time has passed. Whether it's one year or ten, it's a daily fight, one where you can never let your guard down. You can't think for one moment you're past it, your addiction is waiting for the day you relapse. It's waiting for one of those days where the stress gets a little too much to bear, or the day you go through a traumatic experience and need something to take the edge off. Your addiction is waiting for the day someone tests your sobriety. Your addiction is waiting for you to fail. You can't let your guard down, not for a second. I give myself the best chance possible. I avoid the people I used to take drugs with, I stay away from the areas I used to have claim over. If I'm invited out anywhere I'll make sure people aren't using drugs, if they are I won't go. If I'm ever out and people do use drugs around me, I'll leave. Even though I do all I can to avoid relapsing, I can't control what other people do. I have no control over their actions or choices, therefore there's always a risk. I'm doing incredibly well on my recovery journey, but the urge is always there in the back of my mind. I don't see it as a weakness, but a reminder to keep on fighting through and focus on another year of being clean. I can't be around drugs; I don't want to be either. If someone offered me some I'd refuse, I'd also remove myself from the situation. But during those milliseconds before refusing, a storm kicks up in my head. Memories come flooding back of the great times I had, the incredible synthetic feelings I experiences, the addictive high that I chased for so many years of my life. My brain screams at me to say yes, lying to me, convincing me it's just one more time. But it never is. It's never just one more time. What my brain fails to remind me of is the hangover I felt the morning after a hard session. The way I'd have to take another hit just to be able to function normally. It fails to remind me of the agonising physical and mental pain I went through as I started to go through withdrawal, the panic that consumed me knowing I was running low on supplies. The disgust I felt when I looked in the mirror and didn't recognise the addict staring back at me, in denial that I had a problem. What my brain fails to remind me of is the tolerance I built up, how that first high I had all those years ago would never be enough. I'd always need a little more, just a little. But that little bit extra adds up over the days, weeks, months, and years. My brain fails to remind me of how I risked my life every time I took another hit. What the fuck was I putting in my body? As if the stakes weren't high enough, let's not forget about how dangerous that life was. Guns, knives, gang wars, loan sharks and drug dealers. Desperate users borrowing more money to chase a high they'll never find while drug dealers tool up to collect blood money of such an insignificant amount in the grand scheme of things. What my brain fails to remind me of is every person who indulged just a little too much and paid the price with their life. Their families angry and grieving at the loss of their loved ones, wanting vengeance on those who led them to their death. Let's not forget my family having to watch the person they once knew melt away with every hit. The pain they felt as I ran from them chasing a high that could never be caught. As a child they'd watch me chase rainbows trying to find the pot of gold at the end, as an adult I was still chasing something I'd never find. Told by others that if I really applied myself I'd find what I was looking for, but I never did. All I found was pain, loneliness, fear, anger and denial. I found a side to me I never knew existed. My brain fails to remind me how I witnessed unspeakable things, how I did things that changed me, things you can't come back from. That's something I must live with for the rest of my life. Regardless of how many people forgive me for my action, I never can. So when, for a fleeting moment, my brain fails to remind me of the irreversible damage I caused, I make sure I think back. I force myself to go back to that place I was once so comfortable, and I remind myself of all that I did. I must remember. I must relive those uncomfortable memories. If I forget I risk going back, and I can never go back. This is the fight of my life.

- Noisy.


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