I don’t want this post to cryptic but it will be vague. Bear with me, it’s been a tough week and it’s only Wednesday.
I work in addiction, supporting drug and alcohol users on their journey into recovery and beyond. It can be stressful, demanding but very rewarding at times.
This week I am on training for a new employer and for the first time in my years in this field I am covering the 12 steps.
Some of you maybe aware of this, some of you will have never heard of it. The 12 steps were originally formed for Alcoholics Anonymous and was used for the method of recovery for alcoholics.
Over the years whilst the main principles have remained the same there have been some adaptions to fit other 12 step programmes for both alcoholics and drug addicts.
I have personal experience of sharing my life with an alcoholic and it was perhaps the saddest and hardest period of my life. It was a long time ago and I moved on very quickly from the damage it made to my life. It wasn’t for another 18 months that I started working with addicts and actually I do not attribute my interest in this field to what I had seen and ultimately suffered, it just added to my insight. In the last 4 years I have never related my experiences to anyone or been affected by the work I do. Then yesterday happened.
A day of training looking at the 12 steps, with the most attention being paid to step 1.
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless and that our lives had become unmanageable.
This step involves looking at alcoholism as a disease, a notion that I have never considered. This made me very uncomfortable and I was no longer sat there as a professional being educated but as someone who had experienced life with an alcoholic.
Suddenly demons I thought were long and buried resurfaced and there was nothing I could to stop them.
I was hearing that alcoholics do not have the power or control of what happens once they have a drink. They do not intend to break promises and let people down, they don’t maliciously spend all the money for the week or go missing for hours if not days at a time. As whilst still in denial they believe they are in control and have the power to stop at one drink but ultimately are not and cannot.
I had never heard this way of looking at alcoholism, I had never once considered that what I witnessed was anything other than disrespect, dishonestly and intentional. I felt unloved, unwanted and punished and suddenly nearly ten years later everything I thought I knew and had been through was being question.
I couldn’t contain my emotions nor could I share my story, it was personal and I didn’t want to revisit the time by choice.
I have shared this post because it feels very poignant that as I move through this year filled with the dread of getting older and my life not being quite where I had once hoped or expected, I had a very rude and unexpected peek back into what it was once like. I was reminded that I have never felt like that since and I know that I will never feel like that again.
With age comes experience, wisdom and what I have recently come to realise as thirst for more life, for life to stretch out ahead of you for as long as possible, in that context 30 is merely a mile stone, as significant as learning to walk and gaining some independence yet as insignificant as a drop in the ocean of time.
Maybe by the time 30 comes round for me I will be a complete convert and ready and raring to embrace all that life as a 30 year old has to offer… I can but hope as when it comes to my age I really am powerless.