This weeks blog post is a guest post from Milly Day. An amazing young woman who is embarking on a new journey in the coming months, Recovery Trekking. Her story and insight offer much hope and insight for anyone in early recovery!
Christmas and New Year’s Eve can now be ticked off the “to get through” list and, if you managed to get through them both sober, then you ought to give yourself a large pat on the back – that’s no mean feat! I found my first sober Christmas rather frustrating; being forced to watch everyone around you drink sparkly stuff and get nicely merry, while you sip fizzy water out of a champagne flute, is fairly miserable. Why is it that alcohol looks so much more appealing at this time of year than any other? Is it because all of a sudden people bring out the tasty stuff – Prosecco, Cointreau, Baileys – which all have this mysterious allure? Anyway, I survived and several days later, on New Year’s Eve, I rejected every offer to party and instead stayed at home with my family playing cards. Once it was all over, I breathed a sigh of relief. The hard part was over (or at least I thought). Then came the two coldest and most depressing months of the year which, together with the mounting pressure of sticking to those unrealistic New Year’s resolutions I’d made for myself, and the stress of having so little cash left over after splashing out on Christmas presents, caused me to sink into a very gloomy state. Luckily, I was due to start a new job as a guide for a group of 18-year old volunteers in Borneo, which at least gave me something to look forward to. However, it soon became clear that I was the one that needed guidance, as I could barely take care of myself, let alone a bunch of teenagers.
Why had I chosen to do this in such a remote part of the world where, for the majority of the time, we were unable to get any phone signal or access the internet? That’s a question I had to ask myself. It was only in hindsight that I realized I was using that job as an excuse to escape from myself, from my reality and, surprise surprise, it got me nowhere. I was supposed to be out there for three months; I got sacked after six days. Not for drinking alcohol, I hasten to add, but for my alcoholism, which was still everpresent. Instead of admitting defeat and returning home, I managed to convince myself that the island of Koh Phangan on Thailand would be a good place to spend my remaining three months in Southeast Asia which, for anyone who’s been to this part of the world, will seem laughable, as you really couldn’t find a less suitable destination for an alcoholic in early recovery – drugs and booze there are rife. I managed to stay off the booze (but not the drugs) and just about survived those three months, though my behavior was nothing short of insane, but when I finally came home, I was forced to deal with reality once again and it was then that I had my first breakdown in recovery. Though this was less than three years ago, the person I am today bares little resemblance to the person I was back then. I guess I finally realized putting down the drink was not enough; I had to do some serious work on myself. Ironically, the more work I put in, the more apparent it became that I was a very sick puppy.
As a member of a 12-step fellowship, I was encouraged to do each of the steps and during this time, I saw that I had fears, resentments and warped thoughts galore, all of which I’d previously failed to address- it’s no wonder those first sober months had been such a struggle. Through the fellowship, I met a number of interesting people, including an American woman with whom I instantly connected. Though we lived in separate countries, she and I stayed in touch and by some wonderful coincidence, she contacted me shortly after I’d left another job to tell me she had some “potentially very exciting news” for me. That year, she had hiked the pilgrimage route, el Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, experiencing firsthand its healing powers, which gave her an idea: after losing a sibling to heroin addiction and adopting her husband’s two children, whose biological mother had had multiple unsuccessful attempts at rehab, it occurred to her that this could help addicts and alcoholics for whom other methods were failing. The exciting news for me was that she wanted me to be involved and we now have our first trip planned for March (yay!). Needless to say, I feel much more positive about the year ahead than I did back in 2016, as this time I’m confident I can help others, having already received a great deal of help myself, for which I am eternally grateful.
If you or a loved one are struggling and think that Recovery Trekking might be able to help you, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website for more information, https://recoverytrekking.com/.