Getting on With Your Life
GETTING ON WITH LIFE
I spent years in denial, but now I can accept that yes, I did in fact have a problem with drug addiction. What I claimed was 'social use' was actually a habit. It doesn't matter how, why or when I started. What mattered was that I used drugs and they interfered with my life. My work suffered, as did my relationships with friends and family, and in the end my whole life revolved around using.
My health is what probably suffered the most, in particular my mental health. The fact that I had bipolar disorder with psychotic tendencies was only magnified by drug use. Hallucination, paranoia and panic became regular features of my life. I became moody and aggressive and generally unpleasant to be with.
I was offered rehab many times in varying forms, but nothing worked. To be honest it was because I wasn't prepared to make the changes to my life that were needed to stay clean. Getting off drugs is more than a physical withdrawal and a mental test of will, it's about lifestyle change too. And not everyone wants to change their way of life, even to get off drugs.
But then it came to crunch time. Several factors in my life meant I simply had to get it together and stay off drugs. I tried going cold turkey and found it too hard to do alone. So my doctor, my mom, my partner and my mentor all took turns sitting with me and talking to me, holding my hand, and reassuring me. And then after several long days of agony it broke. I realized I had pulled through and wasn't that keen to do it again. That's when I made myself a promise to stay clean, and I began to make the necessary changes to my life.
I gave up going to the bar after work and getting stoned to wind down. Instead I went to the gym with my sister, did yoga classes, started horseback riding and playing music with friends, I even took up salsa dancing classes! I did everything I could to keep me busy and active, and went out of my way to create new social circles- drug free ones.
It wasn't an easy thing to do, and sometimes I still miss what I had. But I would much rather be in control of my life and be able to do the things I can now, rather than be trapped in a cycle of hitting up, getting stoned and drinking just to get through a day.