On the harsh reality of addiction recovery

My years of active addiction account for a lot of the suffering that myself, my friends, and my family experienced. The very fact that I am alive right now is some sort of miracle, yet to be explained by science. I remember trying to picture what recovery would look like, it was difficult to imagine.

I am the sort of Autistic person that some might reductively call a “black and white thinker”. For me, things fall into good or bad, and when I can not easily categorise things, I fall apart.

It’s no surprise then that my brain told me that once I escaped the horrors of active addiction, life would be sunshine and good times. I think, perhaps, this is a trap that many addicts fall into. Unsurprisingly, it is an inaccurate, and frankly dangerous assumption to make.

Recovery is not all positive, because life is not all positive. Truthfully, I have faced some intense suffering and struggles since achieving sobriety.

I was privileged in the support that I had around me for those times, there are a number of people without whom, I could not have remained sober up to this point.

This is where recovery gets dangerous.

If you are not privileged enough to have that support, it is easy to fall back into active addiction. Our minds constantly seek oblivion, and will use any excuse to pull the trigger. The unhappy realisation that bad stuff still happens when you are sober is one hell of a reason to pull that trigger.

This, truthfully, is why I have written this post. If you are embarking on a journey towards sobriety, you need to be prepared for the good and the bad that life brings. You need to know that when the shit hits the fan, you don’t have to throw your sobriety into the fuck-it bucket.

I have watched too many good people lose their lives in recovery. Autistic people are already disadvantaged by a system that simply does not care for our existence. It is my hope that my fellow Autistic addicts will read this and be prepared.

Sobriety is not easy. Life is not easy. I spend a lot of my time wishing I could turn down the difficulty settings on my life.

Sobriety is worth it, you are worth it. You can have a happier life, regardless of the bullshit. Your suffering is not your fault.

When life hands you lemons, squirt lemon juice in its eye; stay alive, even if it’s out of spite.

Author

  • David Gray-Hammond

    David Gray-Hammond is an Autistic consultant and trainer, educating on the topics of Autistic experience, mental health, and drug and alcohol use. He has several years experience in this area as well as personal lived experience. He is the author of "The New Normal" and "A Treatise on Chaos" that consider how we might evolve and grow as a society and individuals. You can find out more about his consultancy services at http://www.dghneurodivergentconsultancy.co.uk

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an Autistic consultant and trainer, educating on the topics of Autistic experience, mental health, and drug and alcohol use. He has several years experience in this area as well as personal lived experience. He is the author of "The New Normal" and "A Treatise on Chaos" that consider how we might evolve and grow as a society and individuals. You can find out more about his consultancy services at www.dghneurodivergentconsultancy.co.uk

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