Addiction, Anxiety, Mental Health, Never Give Up, Personal Blog, Recovery, Sobriety, Support

How Did I Become An Addict❓

“Therefore, the image that some people see of the socially outcast criminal is an inaccurate vision of the individual who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol”. – americanaddictioncentres.org

I’ve just finished watching ’28 Days’ about Gwen’s journey through rehabilitation and becoming sober. I’ve seen this movie a hundred times, but not recently, and being over a year sober I thought I’d watch it again.

This time, I felt so different watching it…

I remember I used to watch this movie with a glass (or bottle) of wine, and found it made me feel like my drinking was normal and acceptable. Almost like I was one of the people in the movie behaving recklessly because it was ‘fun’.

This time, the end of the movie spoke to me much louder than before; about having to let go of toxic behaviours, relationships and emotions in order to find a fulfilling life.

I was raised in a Christian home, always said no to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs most of the way through my teens. I was able to have fun without any of that… so I find myself asking the question, how is it that now in my mid thirties I can say I am a Recovered Alcoholic? 🤔 I’m interested in trying to figure this out because I am so determined to try and educate my children out of ever becoming close to an addiction, of some sort.

Do I have a personality trait that has made me prone to addiction? Is there such thing as an ‘Addictive Personality’? I’ve been reading up about it… 📚

Turns out, (from what I understand), being human means there is no set criteria for any addict to possess the exact same traits as the next addict… but there are some main personality traits that people have who are at higher risk of developing an addiction.

  • Related to others who have experienced addiction,
  • Experiencing other mental health disorders,
  • Adventurous and risk taking,
  • Disconnected and cautious,
  • Obsessive and Compulsive,
  • Apathetic,
  • Unable to self-regulate.

Yep, I can tick off a few of those! ✔️

So am I destined to be prone to addiction for my entire life? Do I have to be fearful of this and tread carefully throughout my days? I’m 400 days sober, but I’m hoping that number will only continue to grow until the day I die… To be honest, the thought of even having a sip of a drink frightens me to death!

At this point in my sober journey, I think a number of circumstances that were out of my control made me feel trapped and I had no internal strength to climb out the hole I was in, so I tried to ‘escape’.

Then, another number of circumstances happened that pushed me into sobriety and this gave me the proof that I needed; that I already had everything I needed within me… I just needed to break free from the prison I had found myself in.

My most dominant internal need is ‘Quality Time’, meaning I am at my happiest spending time enjoying life with my loved ones. Becoming a new Mum and being on my own most of the time, made me feel abandoned and lost. I completely lost sight of who I was as my own person, and could not recognise my life or myself in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a Mummy, I would not change that for the world… but show me a new Mum who has got life altogether!

Just like every other Mum I know, I have devoted the rest of my entire life to putting my children first. I do anything and everything I possibly can for them.

And it’s hard!!!!!

But… awesome. 🙂

My children are still very young and even though I’d like to think I’m on the right path now to having a normal, healthy life, in five years, I’ll probably look back at today and shake my head knowing I still had no idea! 🙄

I can definitely say that in the midst of my addiction, spiralling downwards, I was so disconnected from reality, and living completely separate to the real world. I had conjured up an unrealistic life in my mind and when things happened that were out of my control, it only pushed me closer to developing very unhealthy habits. Probably because if you make your life predictable, it feels ‘safe’.

Safe… maybe. Happy? No.

Over the last year, sooooo much has happened in my life that has been unpredictable. But my success rate of getting through it all, has been 100%… (I have to keep reminding myself of this fact each time something comes my way that makes me wonder how I will ever make it through!)

Most nights when I go to bed, I reflect on my days and continually surprise myself at what I am achieving compared to what I was doing just over twelve months ago. I remember having one or two things marked in my calendar for the coming week and used to build up my anxiety around those two things, until they became too hard to even face. Now, my calendar has five or six things in it per day! And they’ve all been ticked off so far. I’m more productive, I’m living as part of the present world and I’m happier (and healthier).

When I envision what my final hours might look like, I truly hope that I feel content knowing that I have been successful in life. (And I don’t mean financially…)

So perhaps I’m prone to addictive behaviours, perhaps I’m not… I don’t know yet. 🤷🏻‍♀️ But in the meantime, I’m so grateful to have turned my life around to a point where my calendar is so full, that I don’t have time to sit around and dwell on unnecessary things!

It never served me well in the past…

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