Today I was a spectator, standing in the middle of a tornado. The world was being torn up around me and I could just stand in my calmness. The days of reacting are over.I guess this is the thing we learn about in recovery. Life happens, in its splendour and with it’s disasters… How I let it affect me is a choice. I am not sure what has shifted lately, but I have this new found acceptance. Either way the road goes, everything is ok. Up or down, everything is ok! My fear is diminishing every day, little by little and I am beginning to find a freedom, which it talks about in the promises.
Today I was able to be of service to a friend. I had absolutely no idea what to do, but I just went with it and utilised the tools I had gained from my experience in active addiction dealing with my ex partner’s drug induced psychosis, to deal with a PTSD episode. I got her to a professional and I am relieved to say my friend is ok. I am so damn grateful to God for showing me the way. This stuff is so full on, I guess when you are prepared to do the work and dig as deep as she was willing to dig, you have to be prepared to face your demons from the past (the ones you used to get away from). Who I was dealing with, was her 12-year-old inner child and it was hellishly difficult not to entertain the very thing that was taking her over, because 1. she was so funny and 2. my child wanted to play back, because it was much easier to engage with the game than to face the reality of the whole situation.
Anyway, it was a really weird experience and really the sort of experience, which might have sent me off the edge a few months ago. Instead I remained in my power and witnessed my life somewhat as a movie… and a very entertaining film at that. Many of my ego states came into play to try and protect me today too and I could simply bare witness to them and the feelings, with complete acceptance and no judgement. My sister always used to say to me that she wanted to write a book about my life, because it was crazy how much stuff happens to me. The weird thing is how adaptable I am in all the drama, reactive or non-reactive. Knowing what I know now about trauma and the reliving of the childhood trauma in my adult life, has me wondering. What the hell happened when I was young, to make me so comfortable in such chaotic situations?
Here’s a story for you. I don’t go much into my using days, because my focus has always been on wanting to know what people are doing to recover, rather than their war stories. In the name of shining the light on the past, in the spirit of letting things go, rather than trying to forget it. Here it is:
Somewhere near 2011, I was ending my using career for the third time. In other words I was nearing my second last bottom (I bottomed out 4 times before calling it quits) – The first bottom came pretty quickly. I was 18 and I started using with my 36 year-old girlfriend. I went really hard really quickly and people could tell. My mom threatened rehab, so I stopped using and started drinking heavily instead (because alcohol isn’t a problem in my family hahaha). The second bottom ended me up in a psych unit after my 3rd suicide attempt had landed me in ICU for a week. It was a dual diagnostic unit and the moment people started holding hands in a circle, to the say the Lord’s prayer, I ran for the hills. I was four days into treatment and demanded to be let out. I moved to Australia to get away from my life. My girlfriend followed me and brought me home with her.
The third was, upon reflection, where God was working overtime to save my ass. I was a fully fledged meth head. I was using daily and holding down two jobs to support my habit. Due to my very colourful history with toxic relationships, I vowed I would never live with another woman. I met Candy. We slept together and she had nowhere to live, so I broke the last remaining commitment left, that I had made to myself and I invited her to move in until she found her feet. Now, as a meth head, having a red flag was very rare, because… well… Everything goes. Yet even through the copious amount of ephedrine I managed to get a funny feeling (which is a HUGE red flag, probably the size of Russia) – Anyway, so the relationship began, 4 days after we hooked up, with her moving into my place.
She was a dj, so she came with a pioneer djm900 mixer and a pair of Technics Vinyl Decks – This went perfectly with my very large dining room table (with no chairs), pool table, coffee machine and weed plants hahaha – It was minimal and so were the beats she dropped – For 2 days I was in heaven!
Anyway, fast forward… The wheels came off pretty early and when she left to donate eggs in India, I made friends with a gorgeous blonde dj, who entertained me while she was away – When I say entertained, I literally mean, took me to parties and let me chill out with her while we took drugs and she mixed music. Occasionally we would tan, to avoid going transparent.
This did not sit well with Candy and when she got back she just let me have it. She decided to do this while we were on a road trip (on Christmas eve). The plan was to visit her family in Durban. We were fighting so hard in the car, she completely forgot to navigate (and anyone who knows me, knows, without a GPS, I can’t even get home from work) – anyway, we ended up in Bloemfontein haha – see below image for reference.
Give or take 600km west of where we were supposed to be… Oops! After the startling realisation, the tension really thickened, because it meant I had to spend another 6 hours in the car listening her berate me, because she was convinced something had happened, between me and this other girl. Trying to make my way out of the situation as quickly as possible, I forgot to check the fuel gauge and when I did, we were too far from a fuel station to do anything about it, so we ran out of petrol. Some people pulled over and helped us and we went on our merry way. We started playing tag with who would jump out of the car and walk away.
It was my turn this time, I jumped out and she sped away… I had a box of smokes, a lighter and my cell phone, which had gone flat and for the first time in my life, I tried hitch hiking. In South Africa? Hahaha???? Two men pulled up in a tow truck. I jumped in with them. I was petrified and paranoid. I had been using solidly for months now, my perspective was somewhat warped. I didn’t even notice, that latched on the back of their truck, they had a taxi with 30 people in it. They drove me to Bloemfontein. I put my sim card in one of their phones and called my mom – she didn’t pick up. I listened to my voice messages and I had gotten one from my best friend, Ingrid. She had called me off her aunt’s landline. She had been in the UK for the last year and wanted to get in touch. I called her back and told her the predicament I was in. No money, no phone, no car, no girlfriend, no clothes and in Bloemfontein hahaha WTF!!!
Ingrid has been my best friend, since I was 9 years-old. We met at pony club. She is the other version of me and her network as vast as mine. True as Bob, she had a friend in Bloemfontein and pulled out all the stops to get him to come and pick me up (On Christmas day) – I had Christmas dinner with his beautiful family and at midnight, I was on a bus back to Johannesburg, where Ingrid was waiting to meet me.
Heart broken and coming down hard, I got into bed and tried to forget the whole experience had even happened. I gave ingrid my phone, so that she had a cell phone while she was in SA and so that I could simply fall off the face of the planet. Her mom sent me a message randomly (she had never messaged me) – but 2 people had pulled out of the whale trail and they had 2 spots and knowing I was planning to be in Cape Town at some point, wanted to know if I wanted to come. – Ingrid, bless her soul, called me on the landline and asked me if I wanted to go to Cape Town for a hike… Feeling totally defeated, I thought a hike and a little fresh air wouldn’t hurt. I agreed! She booked my flight and I was on a plane the next day – unbeknownst to me, it was a 5 day hike covering 55km hahaha FML!!! 🙂
Well needless to say, I arrived and that was my last stop before Melbourne.