I wanted to post a little of what my life was like a year ago. I think a snapshot of my progress may go a little way to understanding where I am at on my journey.
Last August I entered a detox facility for drug and alcohol abuse. I was, by that point, drinking a litre of vodka a day. Now, bearing in mind I was also abusing benzos, I was in a bad way. I had a stomach ulcer, my liver hurt ALL the time, I was a terrible ashen shade of grey. In the months preceding this inpatient treatment I had pretty much sunk into the depths of depravity. I had been hospitalised numerous times because of my drinking and because of the terrible damage I inflicted on myself whilst intoxicated.
By damage, I mean the awful physical trauma I inflicted on myself. I have deliberately self harmed for many years, but last year it was so out of control that I was having the police and ambulance out regularly. I have cut through veins, muscle, had a skin graft for third degree burns, broken my hand, given myself concussion...to name but a few instances.
I shall of course go into the reasons WHY at some point. Now is not the time.
I guess I knew, deep down, that I needed help. And yet I couldn't take responsibility for myself and turn things around. Ultimately it was the threat of losing my beloved partner and dog for the sake of my next drink that saw me finally giving in and getting clean.
Since stopping drinking I have had a few, rare lapses. I have not self harmed once sober since last summer. Yet, the last incidence of drinking almost killed me. I have nearly died on several occasions, but this was a CLOSE call. I had been sober for months, then had two days of major drinking on top of a cocktail of sedatives. Ultimately my OH was out and I cut very badly, through the muscle in my wrist. I must have passed out because the next thing I remember was waking in resus, having lost three pints of blood and nearly dying. Needless to say I was in hospital for a week, too weak to stand. I survived. My relationship almost didn't. But we are, miraculously, still together. He is my rock. He has been my inspiration and motivation to change. Hence the reason for this blog...
In the past year the trend has been leaning towards positive, affirming behaviours. I have been making small steps towards a healthy future. Yes, I'm still bulimic. But I am a RECOVERING alcoholic, and a RECOVERING self harmer. I am in full control of my actions and accept the responsibilty and consequences that come from making bad choices.
When I left rehab, I felt like a newborn baby. I had to relearn how to FEEL. How to cry, how to be sad, how to express myself through language and emotion. I had covered up my true self for so long that for months all I felt was an intense, deep feeling of sadness in the pit of me, almost as though someone was physically wrenching my heart apart. Finally, that awful distressing fog has lifted and I can say that I feel free from the despair that has been my life for so long.
I guess then my aim now is abstinence. From alcohol, from self-destruction, from thinking that I am not worth it. Because I know that, through this journey, I have learnt to embrace myself and respect who I am, regardless of how I am perceived in the world. This self acceptance has been the key to freeing my soul, yet it has been immensely difficult. I just continue, daily, to put one foot in front of the other and focus on the ever brighter light at the end of the tunnel.
My goal for the immediate future is to keep control over my eating and my weight so that I abstain from abusing food to cover my emotions. This is ultimately my last demon, and yet at the same time it is my biggest, the most deeply ingrained, almost to the point that I would feel, still, lost without it as my security blanket. This is what I need to work on. Letting go of that control that I fade, so that when I eat I can do so guilt free. I know it is self-hate, shame and guilt that drive the binges. Thus I must continue to respect and accept my body and soul.
Easier said than done?! Let's keep trying, hey?