Reflections on Time and Addiction Recovery

The passing of time is a strange concept in itself, but for me in sobriety, it was the one thing I didn’t consider.  As a child I was obsessed with the passing of time and age. I saw things passing too quickly and yet I was not able to live in the moment and enjoy what I had.  Drinking sped this up. It was my prop to make sure I had a good time and to be happy. But as my alcoholism developed, a whole period of my life passed me by unnoticed.

 

Searching for “Happy” Time

When I was drinking alcoholically, I wasn’t always in blackout. But I was always looking for the next thing to make me happy.  The next partner, child, house, car, friends and (definitely) party. I yearned to be accepted and be in the perfect environment with the perfect things around me to ensure that I would be happy. And I was never comfortable where I was.

 

I would move to a new house, not staying in one place for more than 5 years. Jobs were the same –  constantly striving for the next biggest and better thing. Or running away from carnage I had left.  The next group of friends or colleagues would be honoured to have me and then I would be in the “cool gang” and I would be happy for a short while.

 

Constantly striving for perfection meant I never appreciated what I had. And at one point in my life I had the husband, children, house and job –  yet I never saw it.  I drove a Ford but my friend had a BMW so that was what I wanted next. My house was a nice home with lovely neighbours but was on the wrong side of town or didn’t have the right layout.

 

I was always changing something but never thought of changing myself….

 

Now in sobriety, I realise that twenty years have gone by and I have merely existed.  Friends who married at the same time are still in the same home with the same husband and a solid family foundation. They have lived near family and grown up at a pace that has brought them joy and pride.  My drinking has denied me all of that, other than the odd brief glimpse of family foundation through my children.

 

There was a time I thought alcohol was my friend…

I am divorced, living five hundred miles away from any family and have isolated so much that any established friendships have been damaged by my behaviour.  Alcohol was my friend and my trusted companion. It was my grounding and it grew with me. It grew into a creature and my consumption grew with it. If I was happy, I drank. If I was sad, I drank. Bored? I drank. And if I was busy, I drank.  

 

I don’t remember a time where I could just sit and be content.

 

Time for sobriety…

When I found sobriety, I was exhausted. I had lived to my early forties at a pace of life that was not sustainable. Initially I slept a lot, my body was healing from the damage and working hard to remove the toxins that had built within me – this took time.

 

Then the boredom hit me, suddenly I had evenings and time. This was the biggest shock for me and was not something I had prepared myself for. Twelve Step meetings and my new circle of sober friends helped and understood. They would call or text to fill my empty hours, although it took a number of years for me to actually appreciate this change.  

 

Now, if I am overwhelmed by a task, I find myself stopping, thinking and then proceeding. When I do this, I notice how easily things can be done, so I am glad there is more time in the day. I stop and look at nature, listen to what people have to say and try not to worry about getting old. Time will pass us by, but how we perceive it is the key. I try so hard to live in the moment and appreciate all I have rather than what I don’t, that I now find time passes in a way that is acceptable to me.

 

Now I do all I can to live one day at a time, to ensure my sobriety and true happiness.

 

Nicola Lee had it all - a successful career, 2 children, marriage, car, house... She found herself at alcoholic rock bottom on the 5th December 2015. Nicola says, "After some time in sobriety, I decided to write down my journey through recovery and finding a way to live happily and sober. By writing my truth I hope to dispel some of the myths around what defines an alcoholic." Nicola Lee lives in Hampshire, England. She writes a blog at: www.365daysayear.blog and also writes for the Huffington Post UK.