Today I feel like I am in grips of my disease. I am not active, as in I am not drinking, drugging, binging on food, but I woke up feeling like my head is detached from my body and I am gasping for air, literally.
I opened my eyes and immediately I knew that today was going to be a struggle for me. I didn’t want to get out of bed for a start. I just wanted to stay there in complete silence and not move. I knew that trying to do that would be a pointless exercise. Regardless of the silence there would be no peace. My disease was awake and refreshed, jumping up and down on my bed taunting me loudly. My mind went immediately to a drink or a pill to knock me out. I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to deal with this today. It feels as if I am that kid in the school yard surrounded by bullies who are pointing and calling nasty names…..but my tormentors are the symptoms of my disease…..alcohol, drugs, food, co-dependency and anything else you would care to add to that list.
The first thing you are supposed to do when you feel like this is pick up the phone and call a member of your support group but I already knew that I was not going to do that. The kids were awake, there was laundry to do and the cats needed breakfast. “God I really need help today!” I wanted to run from myself. I wanted relief.
The prospect of having a shower causes me such distress that tears start to trickle down my face as I turn the water on. I avoid looking in the mirror because I know that the sight of my naked body will repulse me so I avert my eyes and instead concentrate on making a list in my head of what I need to do today. As I stand in the shower, the warm water on my skin, fear strikes me that this feeling may never go away. I then feel a slight flicker of hope. I’ve been through this before and it has always passed.
There is breakfast cereal spilled on the kitchen floor and MTV is emanating from the TV in the living room. The kids seem happy which is reassuring because the feeling of inadequacy that pours through my veins today is debilitating. Today is a day when I feel they would be happier and safer and better cared for in a complete stranger’s house. The only drug I have in my house is caffeine and I drink it back a mug of Italian roast like it’s the antidote to poison I have just ingested and it’s about to save my life. Perhaps it will?
The coffee has lifted that swimming underwater feeling. My head is a little clearer. As I put oatmeal topped with honey and cinnamon in the microwave, my disease is looking at me in horror and asking me if I am seriously going to eat that, and have I seen the size of my ass lately. The tears well up in my eyes again and the hate I feel for my disease makes me want to claw at my skin to get it out.
In recovery, I have learned that these days come for the vast majority of us with the disease of addiction. All the self doubt, self loathing and fear come back in abundance and gives us a good kicking. My disease, I believe, is a living entity that wants me back out there again where it can have its way with me. There is a constant battle going on inside of me to keep it suppressed. Some days I am not aware of the battle that rages because recovery has my addiction held captive and all is well in my world. Some days however, like today, addiction breaks free and runs riot and sends me into that black abyss where I crave something to kill the pain, the fear, the loneliness.
To get through today I need to care for myself like a mother would for her child. I need to eat well, I need to pray, I need to talk to someone who understands and I need to write. It is noon right now, so if I go to bed two hours earlier than normal it means that I just have ten more hours to endure. Can I do that for 10 hours? Yes I think I can because I want to live, I want peace and recovery works.
(I wrote this 3 days ago. I felt like this up until today, which is Sunday 7th July. I still feel a little shaky but I am better than I was. I waited to post this till this phase had passed because I wanted people who read it and relate to it to know that it does pass, that we can get through anything and no matter how long we are in recovery, those days do come for us all. If you are feeling less than happy, joyous and free today please have hope, hold on and know that this too shall pass. Xoxoxo)