‘Why I chose recovery’ by Tony A

imageTony A was one of my favourite bloggers on Wired In To Recovery. He certainly didn’t mess around on what he had to say and his blogs provided some invaluable insights into the recovery journey and also the UK addiction care system. Here is a great blog he wrote back in 2010.  

‘This is my personal perspective to why I chose recovery over addiction. You see for me my addiction fulfilled so many requirements in my life.

I enjoyed the effects of drugs, drugs suppressed my emotions, drugs gave me an identity and a reason to exist, drugs were my longest and strongest relationship, my ultimate form of support, my way of coping with the insanity of life.

I was, for a long time, all too willing to pay the consequences of my drug use and cared little for my continued existence. I’d resigned myself to my prior life and looked forward to my demise. So insane was I in my addiction I used to wish I’d get a terminal form of cancer so as to access the array of strong pharmaceutical pain relievers. A justifiable addiction.

I know that’s a perverse and totally irrationally sick way to think. But that’s the way I was. That’s how submerged into my addiction I’d become.

So what changed me? For I truly believed I’d never change. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing and, thinking about it, I believe it was an accumulation of many things. I’ll say which things about my addiction finally became too unbearable for me to live with.

The first thing that springs to my mind is how I began to perceive myself as an embarrassment. How pathetic I was and looked. I detested who I’d become. I hated the fact that I’d become a slave and a victim to an inanimate substance, some brown powder and white rocks were ruling my life completely.

I loathed the person I was. From this unbearable recognition of what I’d become, I used my self-hatred to make a decision. To make a choice, to give myself another chance at life without drugs. I also knew I couldn’t run with the pack any more. I’d become a somewhat old and tired and sickly wolf. Self-preservation also fuelled the choice of change.

Once I make a decision I always see that decision through. My flaw is procrastinating about a decision. To my credit, once I’ve made a decision there’s no turning back. So I put things in place and waited a long time to access detox.

I resisted stabilisation and remained in chaotic drug use, but I luckily I survived the wait and got my rehab bed.  Once I’d detoxed I left Prestwich, a still somewhat shattered and vulnerable individual but with a newfound resolve to remain drug-free. A resolve that I’d never had in my previous attempts at recovery. I chose to remember the horror of what I once was.

I also approached this recovery attempt differently. I applied what I’d learned in rehab. I kept hold of my humility. I accessed support. I learned some patience and acceptance. I accepted that it would take time for me to heal. My body would require time to correct itself, as I’d spent a lot of time and money to get myself into the damaged state I was in.

Most of all, I believed in what I was and am doing. I found value in myself and had faith for my future. I drew a line under the past with no guilt for past mistakes for that was me, then driven by the insanity of addiction. Now I’m free of that insanity I’m not a bad person. In fact, people genuinely seem to enjoy my company.

So I’ve finally taken responsibility for who I was, what I am and what I do. No more blame, no more justifications. Just take responsibility for my actions and make better choices in my life.’

This blog resonates as much now as it did when I first read it. Thank you Tony. Let’s talk again soon.