I have been around a long time now, and for as long as I can remember addictive processes and behaviours have had an impact on my life
My drinking career spanned some twenty years, the last sixteen of those I drank alcoholically
My major memories of early life are of being filled with fear, and feeling like I didn't fit in, somehow different, less than, no self worth, and always so very alone.
Alcohol I found took away these feelings and gave me courage to do what most people did quite naturally.
It worked for a few years, but without my knowledge my tolerance gradually changed, and I needed more and still more alcohol to maintain the same effect.
Eventually I lost control.
When finally the pain and the consequences became bad enough, I tried to stop but found it impossible. Rather than seek help (because of my pride, shame, strong will, and above all, fear), and thinking alcohol was my problem I struggled on my own and somehow managed to stop drinking, only to recognise in later years that without my knowledge my addiction had transferred to work, so rather than alcohol fully occupying my waking hours is was replaced by my need to work. Unfortunately because I no longer had drink to give me courage to face everyday situations my life very quickly became manic, chaotic, and totally unmanageable.
I never allowed myself to stop, because, when I did, I felt bad and could not cope with the raw feelings Eventually, once again, when the pain and consequences hurt enough, in desperation I sought help. This for me was a long and painful journey which I had to be entirely ready to take. Nobody could make me do it, the fear was too great. I was surrounded by people who cared for me, but I was unable to hear them.
With help I gradually came to understand that I was the problem. The alcohol, the workaholism, the chaotic lifestyle were the methods I unwittingly used to escape from myself and my own painful feelings.
I was in fact afraid of being frightened,
A feeling which had been with me all my life.
The picture below for me sums up the addict living within me, always there, waiting patiently for me to become vulnerable so it can coax me back to my old ways.