My First Big Test

Last night I was tested, big time. It was the greatest test of my ability to stay clean since I last relapsed.

So, how did I get on?

Well, the good news is that I stayed clean. But it wasn’t easy.

When a certain set of circumstances co-occur, it can be very triggering for addicts. I felt powerful urges to use my drug of choice, DXM. Last night felt very similar to previous times when I’ve used. It’s like an automatic script gets triggered in my head… Events X, Y and Z have happened, it’s time to use.

It’s actually very humbling – it reminds me how powerful my disease can be. I can’t ever treat it lightly, it can sneak up on me at any time.

To keep myself clean, I distracted myself with food and videogames. And I had great support from my 12 Steps sponsor, my wife and a good friend.

Later, I had a strong urge to drink wine instead. I’ve been telling myself that I’ll be fine with alcohol because I never really had a major problem with it. It’s usually quite easy for me to just have 1 or 2 drinks and then stop.

But at my 12 Steps fellowship, we treat alcohol just like any other drug. And I can see now it was my disease of addiction trying to creep in through the back door.

You see, I know that last night I wouldn’t have just had a single, pleasant glass of wine. I would have downed the whole bottle in less than half an hour, probably forgoing a glass and drinking straight from the bottle. That’s very different from “normal” drinking.

I would have been substituting my urge to take drugs with alcohol. And that’s really not OK.

I mean, I did overeat a bit last night. And that’s not ideal… it’s still me acting out on my addiction urges. But it’s better than getting drunk, and it’s a hell of a lot better than giving in and taking drugs.

One of the things that stopped me giving in to my urge to drink or take drugs… I imagined the look of disappointment in my wife’s face. It’d kill me – she’s been so patient and supportive towards me. She deserves better.

Not only that, but I’d be letting myself down too. I feel quite proud of the fact that last week I got my “60 days clean” keyring from the 12 Steps fellowship. I don’t want to just throw all that away and end up back at Square One, full of shame and remorse.

Even this morning, I had to talk myself out of buying DXM. The urge was strong… but I beat it.

So – narrow escape. I feel humble. I can’t take my eye off the ball with my addiction. I need to stay on top of it every day. And I’m also incredibly grateful to have such good support around me, from friends, family and the 12 Steps fellowship. Thank you!

It feels a bit gutting to think I can never have a cheeky glass of wine again, a sip of Bailey’s at Christmas, or a glass of port.

But… I’ll get over it, it’s for the best.

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