By: David G.
“The wisdom of hindsight would reveal that I had no clue how to find myself, no idea how to love myself, and no ability to be myself. Mix all of those three dilemmas, and you’ve created a cocktail that will knock anyone out.
Even though I couldn’t name those specific issues that night, I did own where I was to the best of my ability. That’s often all we can do in a crisis. So that night, I looked myself in the eyes and said, “It isn’t supposed to be this way.” ―
My name is Dave, and I’m an alcoholic/addict. Alcoholism is on both sides of my family, so it was no surprise to my loved ones when I admitted my powerlessness over alcohol and drugs. In active addiction, I did many things that I’m not proud of though I have come to understand that it was not me in a real sense. I was influenced by my addictive mind and was not at the wheel so to speak. Saying this doesn’t mean I don’t accept responsibility for my actions or that I’m shifting the blame. It was me that did the things I did, and I own them one hundred percent. I just now know that I wouldn’t have done the things I did if I wasn’t influenced by the disease of addiction.
I tried many times to defeat my addiction with my own devices to no avail. I came to the realization that my addiction to substances was merely comorbidity of a much deeper issue. My drinking and drugging was a coping strategy for an underlying problem, and that issue was how I felt about myself.
I had lost my way of being and felt worthless, hopeless, angry, fearful, ashamed and many other negative emotions and thoughts. Everything was falling apart around me including my work, finances, mental health and relationships to name a few.
After my mother’s death, my addiction heightened. I isolated myself from my friends and loved ones and fell into a deep depression and anxiety. It got to the point that I became suicidal and thought the only way out was death. I felt empty in that I didn’t feel whole or worthy, though I was also full of negative mind chatter and self-belief. Empty but full sound weird when I write it.
I needed to understand the reason why I began to use at the beginning which frightened me. I was aware that I was drinking and drugging to escape and the thought of having to deal with my inner demons without alcohol and drugs was very confronting and overwhelming. I needed to find out what was missing? What void was I trying to fill? What was I trying to escape from? I needed to find these answers and just as important I needed to learn healthy coping strategies and the tools of recovery if I had any chance of a successful recovery.
I had tried the fellowship, social workers, counselors, psychologists, and government facilities to no avail. I needed professional intervention with a holistic approach that included all of the above. I needed to address my underlying issues, create new patterns, habits, thoughts and discover tools to effectively balance my psychological, physical and spiritual well-being as a whole. I knew the only place I’d get all of this was in a quality residential treatment facility with a solid program. I’m not saying that everybody needs residential treatment by any means, nor am I saying that smart recovery, the fellowship or any other option alone is not sufficient for some people.
What I am saying is recovery is not a one size fits all. It’s very much an individual journey though we don’t have to walk the journey alone. However, no one can walk it for us, nor can we walk it for others. Recovery for me is an inside job, and I feel only when we want it deep within can we start to take the actions that will keep us on our chosen path of recovery
I needed more than what I had previously tried as my attempts had failed. I had more options this time around as I inherited a small amount of money after my mother’s passing. After doing a lot of research, I went to a private facility that had all the elements I was looking for. I had mixed emotions when I got there as I was very grateful for the opportunity I had in receiving quality treatment, though I was upset that this type of treatment was only available to people who had money.
Something changed within me that day, and I swore that I would do whatever I could to help the still suffering. I worked a program that worked for me, I educated myself in counseling, mental health, and anything to do with addiction and/or human behavior. After graduating, I worked as a Community Rehabilitation & a Support Worker in the mental health field which I really loved and grew in.
While there I started networking with others in the recovery community and started a Facebook group and a page that has helped place people into treatment via scholarships and reduced cost that otherwise would not have been able to receive the help they needed.
I now work in a residential facility that treats dual diagnosis so am blessed that I get to help others on their journey on a daily basis. The beauty of helping others is that it also helps me in my own recovery, so I view assisting others as a win-win situation.
Since I found recovery I have built a career, gone on many holidays, have materials and possessions, restored and maintained healthy and loving relationships, restored my physical, psychological, and spiritual health, I have savings in the bank, dreams in my heart but most importantly I found self-love, acceptance, and forgiveness which allow me to continue to grow.
I do not share this to brag, nor do I think I’m better than anyone else. I am a simple guy that lost my way through addiction and found myself again through pursuing what worked for me. Click To Tweet
I genuinely believe while one still has air in their lungs, has the right support and guidance, it’s never too late to get clean/sober.
I hope my share gives hope to those that are still suffering, those stuck like I was that can’t see a way out. I hope that they find the strength to fight this good fight and see that recovery is possible and that the gifts received from recovery are never-ending.
Much love and gratitude, Dave
Bio: David Gale
David currently works at The Dawn Rehab and Wellness Centre in Thailand.
He’s passionate about helping others, giving second chances, and battling for the underdog.
He finds his therapy in Mother Nature and Thailand offers him opportunities to write poetry and create things with his hands.
His recovery has given him a greater understanding of what is truly important to him – his work with other addicts, mental health advocacy, family, friends, and loved ones.
If you’re looking for a place to find and give support, check out Hope for Humanities Addiction Treatment Grants on Facebook.
Writing, and recovery heals the heart.
From Addict 2 Advocate is looking for Thursday Truths, as the stories are how we relate. When you share what happened to you and for you, these experiences will help someone that is struggling with their addiction.