It came to a point in my life where I literally had to ask myself a very important question, do you want to be a drug addict or not? Although my circumstances were increasingly difficult, it was actually really quite simple, what did I want for myself and my life moving forward? Despite being well qualified and having so much potential, opiates had a complete hold over me and my life was chaotic and completely unmanageable. I had become unstable and was unreliable to those around me, the people who needed me the most. I had to make a decision, act on it, take control and push forward in a positive way. Forget about the last however many years, I had to focus on the present and what I needed to do to move forward for the foreseeable future.
Fortunately, I made the decision to get sober and so I embarked on a journey whereby I embraced sobriety. I have gone into considerable detail describing this process in previous blog posts and so if you would like to learn a little bit more about me, what I have been through or just for more information on this subject matter then I would say definitely check them out. Here I will just say in simple terms that first you have to deal with the physical aspect of addiction and go through the physical withdrawal. Then of course there is the psychological element that comes into fruition. Speaking plainly this has been the hardest part for me and it is something that I still struggle with on a daily basis. Reminding myself, one day at a time is what they tell us.
Breaking it down, in terms of the work that I have to put in on a daily basis, things that I do to manage my addictive ways and behaviours include prayer and meditation. I do a twenty minute guided meditation session first thing in the morning and then another one last thing at night before I go to bed. I have always been an avid reader but now more than ever, literature has played a huge role in my recovery. I have just read an amazing book called ‘I Found My Tribe’ by Ruth Fitzmaurice. Ruth Fitzmaurice was thirty two when her husband was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. She put her own writing ambitions on hold to look after their three small children, his career as a film maker was just taking off. Suddenly, he was given four years to live and far less time to function normally. They survived by insisting on their capacity for creative and procreative life. They conceived twins, he began work on his first feature film and she started to write about their life. Another huge thing, she swam in the ocean! Almost every day since that day Fitzmaurice congregated with supportive friends to swim at their local cove in the sea near her house in Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland.
I won’t go into too much more detail but the book is absolutely life affirming and this notion of ‘wild swimming’ has absolutely captivated me. I have done a lot of research around the area and in simple terms as I understand it, your body goes into initial shock when you enter the freezing cold water. The longer you then stay in the more your body acclimatises to it and then your brain sends a rush of feel good chemicals throughout your body. Now given how I have been feeling, a rush of natural endorphins is very much welcome by me! Haha Almost immediately I started taking cold showers. Of course I’m a baby and so I started off warm and just gradually decreased the temperature until I was stood in a freezing cold shower. At first it took my breath away but with experience and as the days passed I gradually became used to and comfortable with the cold temperature. It also serves to clear fuzzy heads, give mental clarity and just that feel good factor! I am hooked.
Chatting with friends as of late, we now have plans to go ‘Wild’ swimming in expansive lakes and natural waterfalls. Of course there are also beaches which will also make for a dream especially if this warm weather keeps up. Fingers crossed ey! I would also just like to note just ever so briefly the other practices that help keep me sane, such as writing. Yes this blog is very much a saving grace for me. I also enjoy cooking, baking and believe it or not chores. Yep, I really enjoy taking care of my home after all it is argued that your environment informs and reflects who you are. Keeping in contact and socialising with friends is always a good one especially when my anxiety is at bay and the ‘Black Dog’ at peace. Last but not least ‘asmr’ and getting a good night’s rest and recuperation. Sleep is just so, so, so important.
Drawing yet another blog entry to a close, I would love to hear about your coping mechanisms and skills employed to deal with mental health and addiction. Or any of life’s obstacles that get thrown at you for that matter! Always curious and forever intrigued I would love to hear your thoughts on my posts and page. Please do say hello and drop me a line, I would love to hear from you.