Recovery is the most amazing thing that has happened to Lorna

Left is my 30's.  Right is this year at 44...with real laughter and smiles!

Left is my 30's.  Right is this year at 44...with real laughter and smiles!

Hi my names Lorna and I’m an alcoholic/addict.

From a very young age I can remember feeling like I didn’t fit in, like I didn’t belong. It was almost as though everyone else had been given a guide book to life and someone had missed me out. I felt responsible for everything and everyone in my life. My parents and friends, somehow their happiness/sadness/pain was a direct result of my actions. I had the weight of the world on my shoulders before I even hit double figures. I remember at the age of 6 reading a book about a character called Fungus the bogeyman who lived in a world where you could choose to go into a deep sleep for years and then be woken up…at 6 I honestly thought that was the best idea ever. Looking back, I can see that even as a child I suffered from some degree of depression.

When I was old enough, I started working in bars and clubs. It was fun, we were all young party people so drinking and recreational drug use were pretty much the norm. It never seemed to be excessive because I was good at it. I could out drink and out snort anyone. I had found my calling…my people! More importantly I had found my "f**K it" button…the world no longer lay heavy on my shoulders. I was a functioning alcoholic and I was happy…or at least I didn’t care enough to be sad.

I must be honest I had fun. My husband at the time was in the music business. He didn’t drink so I took it upon myself to live the rock’n’roll lifestyle for him. I went to gigs, hung out with the rich and famous and partied. I was a fun drunk (unless you were my husband…but hey he didn’t like my drinking…sober freak!) and although it came very close on many occasions there were very few bad consequences for me, some embarrassing moments but nothing terrible so where was the harm? Why be a bore? I loved the excitement the freedom, the drama. I proudly wore my T-shirts proclaiming ‘Rehab is for quitters’ ‘Alcoholics unanimous’ ‘I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a drunk, alcoholic’s go to meetings I just party’. I was just making life happy and fun, wasn’t I?

But then there was the other side... 

Sobbing on the couch watching the news, drinking because the world is screwed so what’s the point? Wandering to the supermarket feeling like I had a gaping hole in my chest where my heart should be, wondering why I was emotionally void yet in so much pain? Looking at my life my job, my husband, the house, cars, holidays and wondering why I felt so empty, unfulfilled and sad? Walking to the shops with my hood up because sober, I couldn’t look people in the eye. Being afraid all the time when I was sober. Constantly seeking that one thing that would bring me the contentment and happiness I desired then I wouldn’t need to drink or use! Standing at the sink forcing down a large vodka and a line of cocaine so I could get ready for work and realising that I had a serious problem but resigning myself to the fact I was an alcoholic. Using the excuse, “I’m an alcoholic and stopping could kill me” as a reason to continue for the next 7 years. Finally, sitting rocking backwards and forwards on my bed thinking “I can’t go on like this, I can’t I just can’t" after weeks of alcohol induced night terrors and insomnia.

I decided to seek help then and was lucky enough to be able to book myself into rehab. I remember that first day, sober, in tears and a fellow client asking me why, what was I scared of. I replied that “I wasn’t sure I had a personality.” It turns out I do and it’s a pretty good one! I was in rehab for 3 months and in that time, I had my eyes opened. I was prescribed antidepressants (which I had avoided even though I was happy to take anything handed to me in a club!)

After I was diagnosed with severe depression, both the fog of chemical dependence and the darkness in my head began to lift. It was a 12-step program and I went to meetings and had a sponsor who took me through the steps. I learned that although yes, I am unique and wonderful in many ways, I am no worse or better than anyone else. That I can’t control people, places and things and none of these will make me happy as happiness is an inside job. I learned that the world doesn’t revolve around me, but there is a perfect place for me in it and that place is here and now. Most importantly I learned acceptance. Accepting myself and others as they are and the world as it is, not how I would want it to be.

Since starting my recovery in 2008 I have lost many things.  My husband, my home, and all my personal belongings. I’ve had to declare myself bankrupt and I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. I have lost truly loved ones through terrible circumstances. Hideous heart-breaking and tragic things have happened but I am still happier and more content now than when I was using and drinking and living a seemingly perfect life. No matter what life throws at me today I know I can handle it…. gone are the days of over reacting and drama. In fact, these days I find drama exhausting to even witness.

I’m lucky I can go out with friends who drink and just find their escapades funny and often a reminder of why I don’t drink. I can dance (badly), I can go for a meal without being self-conscious, I can talk, ask for help, admit when I’m wrong, laugh till my belly hurts, and do all the things I thought I could only do with a drink in me.  I'm sober and now it’s better!  I have more fun and I can even remember it! 

In my job, I work with a lot of active addicts and alcoholics.  I always offer, and hope, they will find recovery because I can see how much fear and pain it creates for them. Recovery is the most amazing thing that has happened to me and I wish with all my heart I could just gift it to other people. It’s not easy but it makes life easier.