From riches to rags.

Addiction, recovery, lapse, relapse

Addiction, recovery, lapse, relapse.

Anyone who is either in active addiction or as been an addict an this cycle will understand that you get stuck on the hamsters wheel and go round and round, spinning so fast, uncontrollable and powerless to getting off or making it stop. Or so it seems.

I am in recovery at the moment and its where I plan on staying, It wont be easy, but I refuse to climb back on that wheel. Why now?
 Simple answer… because i’m happy, I’m happier than I’ve been for as long as I can remember

I want to take you back to maybe 5 years ago. I was Mr materialistic, hung up on having the best of the best. Holidays to Dubai, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Cuba but to name a few with a yearly trip to the best hotels in Las Vegas, chauffeur driven in Rolls Royce’s for meetings and even the odd Helicopter. Flashy cars, a beautiful home, a lavish wedding, tailor made suits, all paid for by hard work but yep I was that guy, the one that had it all, spoiled if you like, with everything, but was I happy? At the time I thought I was. Its what I thought I wanted and at that point of my life it was my definition of happiness.

Moving things along 5 years later and I’ve been on and off that wheel more times than I can begin to remember but somehow I have ended up here, with absolutely nothing.
 The wheel has taken me to a place where I’ve lost my businesses, family, cars, house, holidays, lock stock, you name it the whole lot, so this must mean I’m miserable right? Surely because I’m that superficial and materialistic guy that I must be at an all time low right? Wrong!!

I was weeks out of rehab, returning home to £20,000 + worth of debt, an empty (ex) family home which was nothing more than a depression den for the previous year, with no relationships or family around me, no job and no materialistic belongings as I had sold them all on my previous relapse, so I theoretically should have been at an all time low.

As I scraped my last £1.80 to get a one way bus ticket to town to a local recovery meeting, I made it into town only for the meeting to be cancelled, undeterred by this waste of money (that I didn’t have), knowing that time which I knew I had plenty of I decided to walk along to my local substance misuse centre to get a food bank parcel. As you can imagine this was a big dent to my ego and pride, especially after being billy big bollocks for so many years, eating out at flash restaurants, however I’ve worked hard all my life, so if I need a handout from time to time then Ill swallow my pride and reach out. Which is what I did and the dent to the ego became one of pride.

As I walked home because I had spent my last shillings getting there, approximately a 2 mile trek on a typically damp day in Wales, I tried to remember a time when I was actually happier? I explored this quite deeply as I causally strolled along the high street and I’d come to the conclusion that since I’d hit rock bottom, i’d felt nothing but the ‘bad emotions’ that are attached to addiction, guilt, shame, loneliness, depression and anxiety and once I had stopped using, jumped off that wheel, put a plan in place, followed it rigidly, reached out to a support network, connected with people again, attended meetings and put my own boundaries in place this then allowed me to start feeling things like joy, happiness and pride.

The so called ‘good emotions’ Suddenly I was proud of myself, it may have been for just for getting through the day, weekend and then week without using but nevertheless I was proud, happy and grateful.
 I was and still am physically looking myself in the mirror, every day morning and night, telling myself that I am a good person and I deserved to be happy and that I am a good Father, then the most overwhelming feeling came over me when was sat with my Daughter later that evening, I was simply just playing with my daughter and her toys, and I was so engaged and focused in what she was saying, captured in the moment that it gave me a deep sense of happiness and almost like butterflies in my stomach.

I didn’t know what it was because the drug abuse over the years had detached me from my emotions and completely desensitized me that it felt alien and almost new, like learning to feel again, from scratch. But what this uneasy feeling was, well it was love and happiness and in that moment I was lost in our bond and connection I could have cried because I was so happy, tears of love and joy, I grabbed her, held her tight and just felt like the richest man alive. I did quickly go to that place of guilt, and punishing myself for not being like this for her more often, but I have to live by the mantra that the past is past it has to stay there and now its all about the future.

There are no ‘good emotions’ or ‘bad emotions’ All emotions are healthy, its just what we do when we feel them or like in my case not using cocaine to stop me from feeling them at all numbing me from head to toe to the point where I forgotten what its like to feel anything but confusion.

Whether your’e an active addict or in recovery, most of us will use substances to numb the emotions that we label as bad, we suppress it all so we feel nothing but by doing this we are also teaching ourselves not to feel the positive ones. If you cant feel sadness and shame how can you feel joy and pride?

I think its that simple that now I’ve learnt to reconnect with my emotions, I feel guilt and shame but I don’t stay in that place, its done, the past, I cant change it, this allows me to walk along the street with no money, with a bag filled with food bank supplies thinking this is the best day I’ve had for years and I cant remember being this happy.

I had all the riches in the world and I blew it, or snorted it, whichever way you look at it, I lost it all, but I can honestly say that I have never been so happy.

Its not about cars, holidays or houses its about the ability to look myself in the mirror and say I deserve to be happy, making eye contact, saying it with conviction and believing every single word of it.

When you start to believe it that’s when you feel like the richest man alive.

Nothing but a life full of joy and happiness will follow.

Get off the wheel, stay off the wheel and love yourself and you will love your life.

Originally published at on July 26, 2017.