The Full Story
The essence of my story is probably the same as yours. The central theme is about being trapped in a cycle that was dragging me further and further into hopelessness and despair. At every failed attempt to moderate or control my drinking there was a rise in self-loathing, fear, and isolation.
Mine is mainly a tale of alcohol addiction that came on so hard and fast that I was lurking up the back of an AA meeting whilst still at High School. To the world I was confident, successful, promising even. On the inside, I was broken.
The next 15 years were spent in that twilight zone of moving in and out of active addiction. Most people around me thought I was fine. On the surface I was doing the usual things; going to university: taking the big OE; getting a job. Yet the descent on the inside was frightening. I was out of control. Anyone close to me could see That the mess was getting bigger. There was more shame, more secrets, more dishonesty, more darkness, and a dwindling amount of "me" left.
I took myself to residential rehab, 12 step meetings, counseling. The usual. All of it helped a little bit, but none of it helped enough. I couldn't stay sober. I could get sober for 30 days, 6 months even, then, inevitably I would drink again. Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn't NOT.
What I can see in hindsight is that was a decade and a half of my life that was stolen. There was little or no joy. There were no fond memories made. There was no personal growth or spiritual evolution. It was just grey, and long, and lonely. I wasn't really there. I had been hijacked by alcohol.
Finally, it happened. Long-term, sustained, and pretty easy sobriety. That was 22 years ago. I turned to yoga as a means of healing and of making sense of my addiction. Yoga helped me make peace with my emotions and to begin to calm my agitated mind. It gave me purpose, clarity, connection, and hope. Over the years I also eventually addressed and released my sideline addictions to cigarettes and marijuana.
What has become increasingly obvious over the years is that stopping drinking is just the surface layer. Without the deeper work of healing the mind and the emotions the pull to drink again is strong. Entering into this challenge with a few to transform and heal at a deep level can be the pivotal point in discovering how to live a fulfilling and authentic life. If handled with sensitivity and compassion the journey of getting sober can be the gateway to living a spiritual life.