Addiction, mental health, and my fear of relapse

I have spoken extensively about my struggles with addiction and psychosis. I have talked about what it was like to be in that headspace. I have talked about what it was like to enter recovery.

What I haven’t spoken much about is my headspace 5 years on.

Addiction and psychosis were terrifying experiences, but truthfully I’m still scared. I have to wake up every single day, and do battle with and that seeks to destroy itself. My mind tells me dangerous lies.

“One beer won’t hurt.”

“Wouldn’t life be easier if I could just smoke an occasional spliff?”

“I don’t think my meds are doing anything, maybe I should stop taking them?”

“I don’t think the side effects of these meds are worth it.”

It’s exhausting, because I have to catch myself in these self-destructive thoughts and dismantle them on the spot. Truthfully, I’m terrified that one day my thoughts will win.

I can’t go back there, I refuse. I’m not sure I’d survive this time. I am literally fighting to exist.

Perhaps this is why I write so openly about my experiences? After all, there is nothing more dangerous to a person like me than forgetting where I’ve one from. I can’t forget, I won’t forget.

My autistic brain replays the experiences in vivid detail every day. I must not allow these experiences to escape my mind, lest I lose my life to a forgotten history.

Friends, I am so grateful for you all giving me a platform to speak this truth from. My Continued recovery is, in part, thanks to you. You allow me to remember what I have overcome, and give me a purpose that I have never had.

I owe my friends, my family, my step-children, my best self. Thanks to all the people in my life, I am not in this battle alone, and I know I can overcome many challenges.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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