I look back at my recovery from drinking and using drugs as a rebirth. Without sounding melodramatic, life had become unbearable to the point that I seriously considered suicide. Well who wouldn't? Alcohol and drugs were the only tools I had in the box to cope and it was unimaginable that I could find happiness without them, but with the way I was heading I was destined to die anyway. My options appeared very limited.
I did have a deep feeling however, that life was somehow a gift and to take it was a waste. Buddhist practise helped in this respect, reinforcing these beliefs and teaching that although we humans are far from perfect, we have immense potential which can be "polished like a tarnished mirror".
So for me, it was not so much about "giving up alcohol and drugs" as starting a new path whereby life really was worth living, my hope being that alcohol and drugs would no longer serve the same purpose. I could no more think in terms of living my life "not doing something" than I could visualise a "dog not running". The changes had to be made in terms of my thoughts, beliefs and feelings and these changes would hopefully impact on my behavior, which in my case was compulsive drug and alcohol use. Thus the rebirth analogy, and it worked for me.
The resources I used were Buddhist practise, hypnotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and brain cells! And from this perhaps unlikely mixture I established my "new life".
Having said that, this "cognitive restructuring" {which in simple terms means "learning how to think more effectively"} did not happen overnight. I had after all developed one hell of a habit over 25 years, and even though I knew I was gathering strength day by day there were still times when simple logic became tested to the limit and I was in danger of falling back into the old hell.
Knowing how difficult it can sometimes be to make the right choice at the right time in the early stages of establishing that new life I decided to set up this online support service to be able to offer to others the most effective methods that I had learned to counter the temptation of relapsing when it arose. Obviously everyone’s journey is different and I have total respect for whatever works for the individual, for some like me it is the cognitive approach whilst for others it is the 12 steps. Different strokes....
Now, as a qualified therapist, some of what I utilise is "from the book" but by far the most significant part is from my own experience.
I've been there and I know how it feels.