Dan's Note: I am one lucky dude. I have gotten to know A LOT of writers. Some are in recovery. Others are those for whom Transformation is Real in different ways. Young Sung Hero is one who is finding his path right now as I write this. His recovery is fresh for him. And, for me, it's a great reminder why I need to connect with others who are "working it new" — it's a great reminder where I was at, and that I can pass hope on to others, too. PLUS . . . Young is from the UK. Can anyone say, "Kewl?"
Today I am 114 days clean.
For me this is a miracle. I used one substance or another daily for about 25 years. Not too long ago I felt like an empty container waiting to be filled. I was a confused blank space, a broken soul who couldn't breathe. I cannot remember ever hearing the words 'recovery'. Perhaps they were mentioned, but in active addiction they're many things I didn't see or hear, I was mute to life. When I first got clean it felt like I'd been kissed by a beautiful princess who broke the witches hundred year spell.
My recovery started with finding a Twelve Step program after hitting my rock bottom. I'd lost my family and home and didn't have anywhere else to go. In the rooms I found healthy, positive addicts with a message of hope, without realising a seed was planted in my head. These addicts in recovery had an inner glow, a raw honesty that initially whispered but now shouts. I'd lived a lie for so long that I'd forgotten what truth looked like. There is no truth in active addiction. Lying and manipulating became second nature. I was trapped in an endless cycle of lying - self loathing – manipulating – shame – guilt – using.
I went into a residential detox unit and as the drugs and medication left my soul, my eyes and ears stretched and yawned. I'd locked myself away from pain for all my adult life, but in doing so I'd not given joy a chance to flourish. With hands tied firmly behind my back I was incapable of creating a future of any substance. As the door creaked open so did my heart. My childlike vulnerability manifested itself as a scary monster underneath my bed, I tried to run, but couldn't hide from myself any longer.
Unleashed my vulnerability exposed my shame, fear and self loathing but when I dug a little deeper it's where I've found joy, creativity, belonging and love. The very essence of my humanity, the one I'd lost in active addiction. I've learnt that I need balance in all areas of my life. Joy - pain, happy – sad, water - fire. In recovery I've learnt that pain is inevitable, suffering optional.
An undeniable faith had risen from the depths of my soul, suddenly I knew that my future could be my salvation. I'm a person who's never had any faith, be that spiritual or emotional but now I have utter faith I couldn't have got clean without it.
I did 90 meetings in 90 days, repeating positive behaviours, immersing myself into my recovery and building up a solid support network. I came to realise that I'd been walking around with rocks of fear on my back, I was scared of life. Even in the midst of my addiction I'd achieved certain things but never realising my full potential I feared the future before it had happened. Today in early recovery I cannot yet play the whole song, but now the melody's so clear.
There use to be a constant noise in my head, a manic choir of confusion which I quietened with drugs or drink. I've now learnt to sit with myself, if I feel emotional pain I now know that it'll pass, that feelings are not facts. I now meditate and 'be in the now', I go to Twelve-Step meetings, speak daily to others in recovery, write daily gratitude lists, work on the Steps (I have to admit this is going slowly but I'm working on it) and pray.
Today I understand that emotion isn't to be feared even when painful. It's what makes us human and we need to feel all emotions to be complete. This may sound obvious to some, but to me it wasn't; I use to run away from my emotions or use until I didn't feel.
Optimism and calmness have slowly returned, blown back after a passing storm. I keep planting seeds in my recovery garden and hoping a forest will eventually grow. My mind and body slowly rejuvenates after a lifetime of narcotic oblivion, my bones turn to coral my eyes become pearls.
But change is not going to be the overnight process that I'd hoped. Although I had a smile on my face, at the start of my recovery on the inside I was smashed into a thousand pieces, A chameleon with liver disease, a bruised banana fallen from a tree.
Shame and guilt have taunted me throughout , mouthing empty words, calling me near. I now know that I was powerless over my addiction. I can't change the past but I can continue to live life clean so that my future is one of value to myself and others. Perhaps I can even pass on a message of hope to other addicts like it was passed on to me.
Young Sung Hero lives and works in the UK. A recent follower of this blog Transformation is Real, Dan the Story Man enjoys reading his writing on Young's Own Blog, which Dan describes as a "uniquely unpredictable and creatively succulent mix of words, emotions, and plot twists so that, after reading, you feel you've simultaneously dined in the best Asian joint in Soho and listened to new House music with a gorgeous date."
Here is one of the more interesting posts I've read: The Day an African Dictator Cut My Hair