In three days, I will be celebrating my fifth year of sobriety, marking a significant milestone in my journey.
However, my sobriety encompasses much more than simply abstaining from mind-altering substances; it has become a profound transformation.
During the tumultuous period of my life, when I drowned myself in alcohol and drugs, I naively believed that these substances were my salvation.
I convinced myself that they held the power to make my problems vanish into thin air. Little did I know that I was only spiralling deeper into chaos.
Over sixteen years ago, I received a diagnosis of manic depression, a revelation that I initially struggled to accept.
In those early years, I stubbornly refused to take my medication responsibly, hindering my recovery.
My self-destructive tendencies were a desperate attempt to maintain control, even if it meant my downfall.
In my selfish pursuit to end my own life, I failed to consider the profound impact it would have on those I held dear. The weight of my actions still burdens me, especially knowing that my Beloved Father, who lost his battle with cancer, could have benefited from the years I so recklessly wished away.
While alcohol itself is not inherently problematic, I must confess that I had lost all control over the grip it had on me. I had become powerless against the clutches of this disease.
There may be those who question the significance of celebrating sobriety, attributing my excessive drinking solely to my faults and shortcomings.
Once upon a time, I held a judgmental view towards those who indulged in excessive drinking, perceiving them as aimless and insignificant. Little did I know that fate would lead me to a park bench, where I found myself sipping on cherry brandy and partaking in the forbidden pleasure of smoking weed.
In the depths of despair, I resorted to penning heart-wrenching words within my journal pages, contemplating the unthinkable act of ending my own life. Unbeknownst to the world, I waged a relentless battle against my demons, a war fought within the confines of my troubled soul.
I found myself pointing fingers at everyone, holding them responsible for my mental health struggles and the unhappiness that plagued my life.
The overwhelming weight of my troubled thoughts became unbearable.
I was engulfed in a sea of hatred and anger, allowing these emotions to consume me for countless years.
Perhaps some would argue that it was too late in life to be labelled as an alcoholic, considering I had once been a responsible drinker.
For more than four years, I found solace in drowning myself in alcohol until I reached a state of complete blackout. Throughout this time, I convinced myself that this was the answer to all my troubles, despite being prescribed mind-altering medication.
To what extent can someone be lost in their illusions?
The present reality is far from what it used to be. I’ve learned to confront life head-on, accepting it as it is.
Gone are the days when I sought solace in alcohol or drugs to solve my problems. Instead, I actively participate in meetings and handle my illness, just as I do with my bipolar disorder.
Life doesn’t always come easy; most mornings, I find it challenging to rise from my bed. However, engaging in intense circuit training has proven to be a helpful remedy.
For now, I find contentment in my life, but I recognise the need to return to therapy to address other obstacles that have hindered my personal growth.
Always keep in mind that the opportunity for transformation exists at any stage of your journey, regardless of your age.
As long as there is breath in your lungs, there is a glimmer of hope illuminating your path.
I approach my recovery with a mindful focus on each passing day, cherishing my progress in maintaining sobriety.
Similarly, when it comes to nurturing my mental well-being, I take it step by step, embracing the present moment and the healing it brings.
In everything, there must be a balance.
Natalie M Bleau
The Scripture of Balance