This lockdown that we are all in together has been interesting.
It’s the place where I have found the tools I was given in rehabilitation to be just as effective for others “trapped” in lockdown as I was in addiction. Funny that huh? One thing that I am going to say which may come as a surprise from someone who went to rehab for drug addiction is this; I had my best trip during lockdown.
Wait wait wait, just relax.
It wasn’t an actual trip. Well, it was an actual trip, not a drug-induced trip. I literally fell down two steps. There are a lot of things that happened during that trip and I think it’s only fair that I share with you the findings from the fall. Right so let’s just explain why I fell. In lockdown, people have come up with some really nifty ways to keep themselves busy. Some have begun bird watching, others have started running around their gardens, competing in online running challenges. As someone who chose to bring fitness back into my life during and post-rehab, the bird watching took a back seat and the smelly running shoes took pole position. It was on one of these runs that I slipped and fell and had my best trip. Again, I hear you ask, “How could you have a good trip by falling?” The answer lies in the things I learnt from that trip. In rehab one of the things I was taught was to understand what my body was telling me, and how to recognise the signs of relapse, triggers, emotions and all the signals our wonderful body comes up with to let us know that the crappy substances we are putting into our body, via needle, via bottle, via smoke or via nostril may not be the solution to our life’s problems.
During my fall from grace
(as an addict) I tripped many times, from drugs, and over opportunities. This fall, in lockdown on a regular April morning ( okay not regular as the world is in lockdown and we are really trying to beat a virus which has no vaccine but still, you get my point), spoke to me in so many ways and was a pretty good comparison to life as an addict, as a recovering addict and as someone living a new life thanks to the wonderful work that a rehabilitation Centre can offer.
Back to the fall
So there I was, one step away from around 9000 steps on my little step counter when all of a sudden I missed a beat and the world came zipping up to me. That moment went so quickly, yet I could see what was about to happen, but did nothing. Sound familiar? If it does it’s because, like drug addiction, that very first moment when you are about to make that first big mistake, you get this little tingle (sort of like Spiderman’s spidey-sense but for addiction) and for that moment you kind of weigh up the options, tell yourself it’s just once and begin the fall. You remind yourself that you are better than all those other addicts and you have incredible self-control. I reminded myself that I had two arms and hands and I could easily land this and yet, there I went, face first, elbows second and hit the ground. It hurt. The realisation that even during this lockdown I could have avoided this whole darn mess had I just realised that I was not as strong as I thought I was. Addiction, like gravity doesn’t care what you tell it. Seriously. And I told it plenty! Mostly in expletive form.
As I hit the ground
I came to a sudden halt (this too happens as a surprise, despite knowing that concrete is hard and humans are soft) I realised that the concrete was addiction and my body, well, my body. No matter how good or hard or robust you think you are, concrete always wins. Addiction always wins.
I rolled around, trying to blame everything from the nearby potplant to the far off dog barking in the distance to my untied shoelace. Aha it must have been the laces! That’s my reason for falling. Not really. It was my fault if the laces caught me out as I ran. I should have tied them. They are just laces! Similarly, like addiction, it wasn’t my friends, it wasn’t life’s stresses, and it wasn’t my income which allowed me to buy bucket loads of drugs to party the weekend away. It was me. And it’s not about self-hate because again, the fall happened and that was it. What happens next is what counts.
After the fall
My cat came waltzing over to me and demanded some attention. I was, after all her provider, her human love and the reason she existed. I was her purpose and she was, well I think she was hungry, but I am going to say she was there in the moment, waiting for me. I sat up, checked out my wounds, a few roasties and a cut lip, nothing major that couldn’t heal and stood up. I grabbed my cat and like Rafiki on that rock in the Lion King held her up and shouted “ I GET IT!” ( I held her gently, so relax!) This was the moment that it all made sense. I chose to get up. I chose to remember what was important to me and how I was important to others and I chose to not let this trip keep me down. Like addiction, this trip had two ways of ending; remain on the floor in lockdown( remain an addict) or find the purpose for living and removing the addiction from my life ( think bigger than filling the cat’s food bowl, trust me).
At the end of the day
While I gathered my thoughts and began to write this all down ( as you read before you now) I found solace that in our most critical point in current human history, as we battle an invisible force intent on harming us as a species, we have many brave warriors doing this daily, the battle, addiction, the virus, drugs and the lockdown is our own mind.
On that normal April day in lockdown, I experienced my best trip and now you know why.
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