Reflections on Kevan’s Story (Part 2)

DSC00130In yesterday’s blog, we looked at how Kevan’s thinking started to change in the early stages of his recovery after 25 years problematic drinking – and eight years in and out of psychiatric hospital.

After a chance discussion with a vicar, he ‘realised’ that he was in mourning for his friend alcohol. He missed his friend so much, even though he knew he was much better off without it.

Most importantly, Kevan began to understand that he was responsible for his addiction to alcohol and was also responsible for overcoming his problem.

After nine months without drinking (and still on Antabuse), Kevan’s thinking was becoming clearer and he was coping with things easier. He was now developing a hatred for alcohol!

At this stage, he was feeling very lonely, something that is felt by many people in the early stages of recovery – no, recovery is NOT all fun! He was missing his daughter Sarah badly and also his family. The latter still did not trust him because he had let them down so often before. The only people Kevan knew were those he had interacted with in treatment and they were drinking again.

Kevan continued to press forward and began to feel increasingly confident with his new thinking and an increasing amount of recovery time behind him. (Many recovering people emphasise how their confidence increases as recovery time lengthens). He was also getting healthier, putting on weight and working out in a gym. The latter was of added value in that it helped his sleep problem, as he wasn’t lying awake thinking about the past.

“My thoughts were more positive, about getting back into the gym the following day and my whole future. Life wasn’t just life anymore. I’d been through a bad existence for many years, but life now felt valuable again.”

Despite these positives, Kevan felt that he needed more support, in particular from people in the same boat as him. He tried AA but found that this wasn’t what he was looking for. He was rebuked by his group members for being on Antabuse and decided to leave the group.

He realised that he needed more support about practical issues, such as housing and employment, but could not get it. He believed that he, “had to get my arse off the sofa and keep as busy as I always had been in the past.”

Kevan had a period of going through the “What if?”s, but his new positive thinking helped him avoid getting bogged down in this and related issues (“Why me?”). He spent time at the sea relaxing, watching the waves go in and out.

“Every wave that came back in brought me reassurance that things would be good. I realised that the best things in life are free of charge. You couldn’t beat the peace and tranquillity I got by watching the sea and listening to the noise of the waves.”

Kevan’s mum was in a terrible accident and he stayed in the hospital with her for three weeks. She made a recovery against all odds. He felt so proud that he had been there for her in her time of greatest need. This also helped bring Kevan’s family back together again, as they didn’t see him as a “piss-head anymore”. This was another major turning point in Kevan’s journey.

“There was no way that I would risk losing these newfound feelings.”

Kevan successful passed various education courses, got involved in a drug and alcohol user forum, and came off Antabuse. After two years of abstaining from alcohol, he was exercising regularly, eating healthily and his sleep pattern was slowly returning.

“My life was now so good without alcohol. I was thinking logically and knew that alcohol had been my worst enemy rather than a friend. I didn’t fear the change in my life, as things were so good now that I didn’t want my ENEMY back in it.”

Six months later, Kevan decided to start a recovery support group in his living room. The rest, as they say, is history.

(To be continued)