TRIGGER WARNING: honest talk about suicidal thoughts below may be upsetting
The alarm goes off, snooze, 5 more minutes. I close my eyes, my head pounding, a deep feeling of emptiness, hate for the world that I have woken up. Why couldn’t I have gone quietly in my sleep? Another day…… Another drink……
I have suffered with depression and anxiety since a child. Suicidal feelings would fill my head on a daily basis versus an overwhelming fear of actually going through with it. Reaching my teenage years, like many, I entered a very experimental stage of life starting with alcohol and following onto marijuana and cocaine. The next years were to become an array of extreme highs which susiquetly resulted in extreme lows. As the ‘party’ years drew to a close and my friendship circle matured, it seemed I was left behind. Despite having an abundance of people around me, I felt alone with nothing but the next high to get me through another day on this earth. As depression grew, so did my alcohol consumption, having a huge detriment on both my mental and physical health. I had two choices, act or actions would be forced upon me. It was at this point I accepted I had a problem.
I was given details to The Gainborough Foundation, a charity set up and run by recovering alcoholics. I sat alone and made the call, I explained my situation and was put onto a 10 day detox programme. The programme was run from home keeping me in a familiar setting but also allowing me to mentally adjust to an alcohol free house rather than returning to an alcohol free house after a stint away. I was heavily medicated and have little to no memory of this time period at all.
It was now the challenge began. 10 days of nothing to being in the big wide world a sober version of your former self, physically and mentally weekend by experience. An immature mind in a mature body with no idea of who I am, who I want to be or what want/need to do. The depression returned and my anxiety increased and I became a recluse. The next few years passed quickly, I existed but wasn’t living.
The journey starts
Lockdown hit me hard, finances reduced and the depression continued to spiral. As the weather improved, I started to walk and explore the beauty within the village I have lived for so many years. Just getting outside and having that small amount if fresh air an exercise really uplifted me each day. I was more motivated, focused and able to achieve daily tasks that I would have struggled to have achieved before. Increasing in distance, I stumbled across our local church. A stunning building, steeped in history but with a grossly overgrown graveyard. Drawn to wanting fill my time, I contacted the church to offer assistance, which was welcomed with open arms. Over the next months and with the help of many local volunteers our local graveyard turned from a unusable mess to a stunning communal area. Through the small action of reaching out, I have been surrounded by a range of amazing individuals who unknowingly have acted as my support bubble on my low days. The achievement has filled me with a sense of purpose and inspired me to pursue more.
A rubbish end
Sobriety is a consistent journey of self-discovery. Knowing I can achieve the above results, it was time to go back to my childhood and take up something that has always been a passion of mine… LITTER! After signing up to the local council’s ‘BIG CLEAN’ administering litter picks with volunteers within village. This only added to my support network and gave me a huge feeling of self-worth, knowing the impact it was having on the environment. I now have two local groups with hundreds of locals getting involved in regular picks. I highly recommend purchasing a litter picker and spending a short time litter picking. You will be thanked ‘self-worth/acceptance’ you will make a difference ‘self-worth/relief of guilt’ and you will ultimately have a reason to get out your own head for a while.
For me I am a proud, recovering addict. I am proud that I have the determination and strength to admit I needed help, get that help and find my identity along the way. I am a better version of myself because of my journey and life lessons and I use the above ventures to remind me of these facts.