Let’s catch up….

I don’t know what kept me from writing for circa 6 months. I used to love it and certainly still enjoy it. But somehow, I haven’t felt the need to drop everything and sit down to write something for a while. Maybe it is because I have been blathering my life to a therapist on a weekly basis. Maybe because I have been communicating (marginally) better with my wife. Maybe because I have been enjoying my new tropical life… I really can’t tell. But I can definitely say that I missed it. And I am enjoying the anticipation of letting you know what happened so far….

I am 284 days drug free. It wasn’t particularly hard to get there, but it wasn’t particularly easy neither. I had spells of depression and irritability that made me phantasise about pulling my self up, or treating myself, by using again. But it was relatively easy to stop the thought. Obviously, being cut from my old supply routes helped me to avoid succumbing to the craving. But any addict knows that getting to the supply is just a matter of putting enough effort into it. What really helped me, is being able to look back to my using era with disgust rather than guilt and shame. The latter made me rear to the memory, toss it aside, and succumb to darker thoughts that magnified my craving. Learning to let go of guilt and shame, allowed me to use my past failings as a valuable reminder of the reasons not to succumb again. The horrible visions from my past remind me of what was accomplished since, of what I already gained back in a relatively short time. It does replenish my serenity and sense of achievement. Ultimately, it does lift my mood and spirit and take me away from the dark moment that initiated the craving. 

I wrote above that I am drugs free rather than use sober. Because I am not. I do have occasionally some alcoholic beverage. I take no pride nor have any shame in doing so. It does make me somehow nervous to write this while the audience for my blog is mainly a sobriety community. It makes me nervous to be judged about it. The more of a reason to get it off my chest and share it with anyone who reads my blog. I will not dwell in explaining the hows and whys. I will not try to convince you that it is a better path for me. I am just letting you know, as I am not making a secret of it.

 I do also smoke (legal, disgusting, highly taxed, health hazard, cigarettes). It is a real issue for me. Especially, as my family has a history of cancer, and more specifically lung cancer. I intellectually want to quit. But I am, cowardly, using the advice of me rehab therapists not to try quitting for one full year. The theory is that I might jeopardise my recovery. It does certainly provide a convenient excuse to deflect any well meaning person who brings the cigarette subject. 

I started going back to the gym. In addition to fighting the extra 5 kilos that I carry, I did so also to respond to an ultimatum of my therapist. He refuses to reduce my medication, unless I increase my physical activities. The drugs I take daily whack my brain and make go through spells of 15 hours of sleep a day. While recognising the debilitating effect of the medication, my therapist pointed the danger of going on without a security net to help catch me in case my anxiety and depressive moods do flare up. Physical activity is supposed to douse my brain with endomorphins and provide the necessary mood enhancement. I do confess that I already feel the benefits even though I just started my routines. Hopefully, I will be able to ditch the medication soon, with the added benefit of regaining my slim figure. Having gone through dieting and exercise in the past, I have to pay attention not to do it addictively as used to when I ended up working out 8 times a week (twice on Sundays). 

I am still not working, having had a chance to make some nice monies in the last 20 years and not having completely splashed it in chemicals and moved to tunisia where life is 3 to 4 times cheaper than the UK. Even though I can afford to keep it going for a while, it is not a life I intend for myself (and my wife will be very soon fed up with my presence at home). I am in the process of investing some of my savings in a small retail company and get involved in managing it. It will not start as a full time job, but get me back gradually into the game. Hopefully, it will be both profitable and therapeutical.

I guess this is good enough a quick catch up since my hibernation. As spring reinstates itself in Tunisia, lifting my moods and reinforcing the positive effects of physical and intellectual activities, I hope I will be able to share my thoughts and stories more often on the board. I love writing and it appeases me. So keep on reading me and encouraging me.

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Could have had a better week…

I just had a horrible week that tested all my resolve to an extreme. Things started to accumulate driving me down at each addition. None of these was life and death matter. Each on its own was a tiny little annoyance, but the some of it almost had me.

It started with my brother’s car that I borrowed going down. Even though the car was in a terrible state, Even though it was barely holding with bits of tape, the fact that it broke down under my watch played on my perfectionist trait. I felt like I failed.
Coincidently, my own car went down the same day. Nothing fatal neither, but it became dangerous to drive as its direction turned wobbly. I need a car to take my son to his school and back daily. I couldn’t imagine using my car that could get off road any moment and put my son’s life at risk.
Both were material things, that needed just a bit of time and money to be fixed. Time was short but manageable. Money shouldn’t be an issue…. Except my card got declined at the ATM as the fraud department of my bank decided that it was compromised and initiated a replacement. Once again I could manage without it. But it was one more complication, one more thing to obsess about. As a direct result of these obsessions and my wobbly car direction, I ended up grasping a car, while I was driving through the narrow streets of Tunis. My sense of failure flared. My sense of guilt surged and my self esteem tanked.

The unhealthy feeling of failure that drove my use seemed to erase my hundred something days of sobriety. I started to resent being in Tunisia, far away from my hunting and scoring grounds. I wanted to invent a reason to fly the day after to London and indulge myself in both physical and chemical debauchery. I wanted to reinstall the apps that allowed me in the past to score for both my drug and compulsive sexual behaviour addictions. I wanted it so badly, that the thought that I was going to do it, was the only thing that alleviated my feeling of mystery.

I did not want to make a call for support, as I was acutely aware of the futility of the reasons that were driving my craving. I didn’t feel the need to hear worlds of reasons I knew intellectually too well, but that I was, at that precise moment, discounting absolutely . My wife’s kindness at my distress eased my craze for a while, but it only lasted while I was around her. As soon as I was on my own, I turned again to my scheming and planning. At night, I couldn’t sleep as my imagination kicked in high gear and my phantasy of using turned into an obsession. I was aware of how bad this was turning into. I tried to tell myself that I was deluded by the chemistry of my brain. I couldn’t hear that thought. All I could hear was a litany of “I want”. There was no doubt in my mind : I was going to do it. Part of my brain didn’t want it, but it was dwarfed by the part that needed it.

Luckily I remembered then a sentence that I was supposed to write down in treatment centre first thing each morning: “I am a good and decent man. And today, whatever happens, I will not use drugs nor indulge in compulsive sexual behaviour!” As soon as I started saying it, I started to feel a welcome soothing. I kept on repeating it, milking the effect of the mantra, until I felt easy enough to sleep.
The following day, things felt much lighter. But I wasn’t taking any chances. I continued to explore what I learned in treatment centre to avoid sinking again. I remembered one of my therapists recommending to revisit my rock bottom moment, if things started again to get out of hand. I tried it. I remembered myself Od-ing. I remembered the haze I woke up to in the hospital. I remembered being so out spaced, I tried to rip off my IV. I remembered the disarray on the face of a friend who witnessed my craze. I remembered that I could have irreversibly damaged my brain. I remembered how I could have died. I remembered how my son could have became an orphan. I remembered the misery I could have put my family through. I remembered the debilitating physical pain that lasted days after the lumbar puncture I had in the hospital. I remembered the hated of myself. I remembered the worthless I felt. I remembered the churning feeling of disgust of myself. I remembered that I don’t want to ever go again there. And juste then, the residual craving and craze vanished. My discomfort remained, but it was never supposed to vanish. It is part of life. It is the result of my defects if character. It is the child of my inability to accept failure. It stems from the pain I feel every time I disappoint someone I care for. It is way too deeply rooted in me to just vanish just like that. It is a work that I need to do on myself by working the steps and with the help of my sponsor, my therapist and the fellowship. But now I am at least in a better place from where I can work on myself instead of surrendering to my craving and my quick deadly fixes.

This episode is precious, because it was a reality check for me. My recovery is still fragile and if I am not vigilant I might easily succumb to my old demons. It does also show me the value of the tools I acquired through my recovery and the importance of their use. It also tells me that I barely mad it back, because once again I did not ask for help. Because once again I felt too big to get help and too small to deserve help. I feared the judgement of others for being so shallowly rooted in my recovery. I did mistakes and I couldn’t stomach to see these being pointed back to me. I’ve hidden in my head. A place I know too well to be deeply flawed.

I spoke to my therapist, my sponsor and called a couple of recovery friends. I am logging to an online meeting tonight. I can’t afford to neglect my recovery nor overestimate how advanced it might be. I need to make the most of this tough week and the lesson I am supposed to learn from it.

Love me….

I have always been obsessed with my image, with other people’s perception of who I am. I think I am too fat, too short, teeth too crooked, hair too thin, nose too large….I over-tipped, not out of generosity, but because I cared what the waiter might think of me. I listened, as people raved endlessly about themselves, because showing interest made me likeable. I rarely walked past a mirror without a glance to ensure that everything was in order. The list of things I have done, because I cared to much about how I was perceived, goes on and on. I will ask you to trust me on this, but all this effort is too hard work. And it is ungrateful work.

I honestly don’t know why I strive so much to be liked. I actually thought that it was a common human trait, and that I was just really good at it. It is only when I looked through the possible roots of my addiction that I saw the desperation in me to control how i might be perceived. How hard I wanted to be liked and accepted.

Nowadays, my priority is my recovery. I don’t want to spend time and energy to be universally loved anymore. I want to be true to myself. People can now like me for who I am, not anymore for what I guess they might love me to be.
It does not mean that I will start wandering in rags, stop brushing my teeth and aim for the Guinness book of records of fattest person on earth. I still want to be healthy and still need to daily seduce my wife. I want to just drop all hypocrisy out of my life. I want to stop pretending for the sake of being accepted. I want to send back my steak if it is under or over-cooked. I want to stop trying too hard to place that joke that I just invented. I want to stop worrying what “they” might think if I did or said that. I want to stop planning my life like a chess game, several moves in advance.
I still need to change. There are parts of my personality, some defects of character that I don’t like and don’t want anymore in me. I want to change, because I believe that my life would be better. I want to change, because I believe that I will allow me to better live up to my ideals and it will be easier to follow my moral compas without these defects. I don’t want to change to make myself more acceptable. I want to change to live better with real myself.

If I got you to believe that I was a different person, I sincerely apologise, but that person is gone, hopefully never to return. I will spend my energy into being honest with you and with myself. I don’t want or need to be universally loved anymore. If you do want to love me, then don’t love me for what you want me to be, but love me for who I am and love me for the person I strive to become.

A tropical life

It is a month now that I relocated to Tunisia. I live in a nice house by the sea I have been marvelling every day about a quality of life far superior to what I ended up experiencing in London. Waking up every morning to a sea of a different shade of blues and greens, experiencing variations of a warm light hitting the white houses, has a soothing effect on my soul. I enjoy a taste of vegetables that don’t remind me of plastic and fish that carries the iodine flavours of the sea. People have a certain warmth and spontaneity to them that we don’t witness anymore in our modern western life. As a family, We often get spontaneously stopped in the streets by people who just want to kiss our son because he is so cute and angelic.
Unfortunately, this nonchalance is double edged. Getting anything done competes with the 12 labours of Hercules. Any simple task can get over complicated and can soon seem impossible. I started the day at 8am this morning in the street in front of the interior ministry. It is but the first step to register my wife as a foreign resident in Tunisia. Unfortunately this first step consists in correcting a blunder of 10 years old. When we got married in Europe and registered our wedding with the Tunisian authorities, they misspelled my wife’s name in the Tunisian register. As a result of this blunder I have to prove that my wife is effectively my spouse and that I am not an infamous bigamist.
At 8.15, a suspicious copper, who seen me typing furiously on my iPad, came to enquire about my purpose. He informed me then that I have to go to another office (office 2) a couple of streets away. Once there, I queued for 40 minutes before being told that I need to hit another office in the opposite side of Tunis. Luckily, before leaving office 2 I checked my son’s birth certificate. I found yet another typo. It took me another hour (inclusive of the 30 minutes unnecessary wait because the gentleman forgot to tell me that it was done) to correct my wife’s name as it appeared on his birth certificate and to save him from a lifelong of administrative nightmare.
Before getting to office 3 across the city, I chose to move on task 2, which is getting deed of property of my house. This is another necessary piece of administrative maze that I need to prove that I do live in my own house, and that I am not a random squatter. Let’s call it office 4. This office is only 20 minutes walk from office 2. When I got there, I was kindly informed that it also moved across town to office 5, which is actually pretty close to office 3.
I jumped in a cab to get there. The cab was actually pretty easy to get. But that’s where the easy part finished. When I got to office 5 I got handed an obscure piece of administrative paper to fill in. I had no clue on where to start and most certainly not how to finish. My angst must have been palpable enough for a gentleman to approach me and offer his services. I was so relieved that I did not wait for his request to be vocalised, and slipped him a banknote, South Mediterranean style. He waved the pen like a wand and filled in the forms almost instantly. Before I even realised, he got me past the human wall trying to get whatever they are after, dropped the form and came back with a receipt stating that my deed should be ready within 2 weeks. I have to confess that the backchish solution is a godsend for someone as inapt as I am with the mysteries of Tunisian administration.

Satisfied with this small victory and given that it was almost noon. I decided to postpone the visit to office 3 to another day. Somehow my Tunisian wisdom suggested that after the long hot week, it would be unlikely to find a motivated employee, willing to go with me through my british, French and Tunisian paperwork, and help me solve my problem.

I was heading home, looking forward to a nice meal followed by a cool siesta when my phone rang. It was Mr C. Mr C is the gentleman supposed to help me get the container with my stuff that I am shipping from UK to Tunisia. “good news!”, He said, “we finally located the container.” This container has been disembarked one week ago. Since then he has been lost in the harbour of Tunis. I confess that a perverse part of me was wishing for it to be lost forever, as I am dreading the experience of getting it through customs.
The last time I got something through customs in Tunisia was this statue.

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It took me six months of an administrative marathon that consisted among other things to prove that the import didn’t unfairly compete with local craftsmanship and that it wasn’t a disguised attempt to import precious metals.
But hey! Good news! They located the container! First appointment was with Mr C to get a release from the the carrier. Obviously, Mr C needed to stop before that for 5 minutes in his office. 45 minutes later, we left his office and got swiftly to the carrier’s. I proudly flashed my check book to the cashier there. The gentleman dully informed me that I needed to pay 150£ for disembarking fee (I stopped myself from commenting on the fact that they did not know for a week where they disembarked the said container) plus 850£ as a deposit for the container itself (in case I ended to steal it I guess)….. In cash!!! After having shown them that their email mentioned a payment with a check and haggling a bit, we agreed that I needed to pay only one third in cash. I then rushed to the cash machine and managed to get the agreed amount. By the time I got all the stamps and signatures it was offices closing time. I headed home after agreeing to meet with Mr C at the harbour tomorrow at 9am to try to release the contents from customs. He lectured me on the necessity of having a generous amount of cash to “facilitate” the whole procedure.

I am now home, exhausted, and stinking a bit. My wife is upset (with me?!) because she made different plans for the week end, and getting the container tomorrow ruins them.

It is 6 pm. I am sitting in the garden. The setting sun gives a warm yellowish hue to the foliage. The trees are balancing gently with the wind and I am a bit depressed. I am thinking that I should have taken things easy instead of exhausting myself against the flow. I am disappointed with myself because I have once again tried to be superman to please my wife and failed spectacularly. I am a bit resenting towards my wife for her lack of appreciation of my efforts. But in another hand I am content with myself. I did things to the best of my abilities and I have nothing to feel guilty for or ashamed about. I now deserve to sit peacefully in the garden and enjoy the spectacular dance of shadow and lights. I don’t need to drink, drug myself or act-up to feel better. I just need to let go of my resentments and let my wife deal with her frustrations. I will treat myself to a fresh orange juice and a warm shower.
And tomorrow? Che sera sera….

Mektoub! مكتوب

In my country of origin ( I think I am getting tired with this artificiality, and soon will be blurting out the name of country) there is a concept of “Mektoub”. That Arabic world literally means written. It is the equivalent of fate. I used to hate that word. I used to think it was a defeatist one. To me, fate meant sitting idle waiting for things to happen as they have been already carved into our destiny book. I humbly confess now that I had it wrong.

I thought that the proper way of dealing with life was to try to control almost everything. I thought that life was a game of chess that needed to be planned several steps ahead. I was thinking about what might happen, or might be said and plan ahead my consequent reactions. As a result of this, I must have been the only guy on earth who, whenever travelling, had a heavier suitcase than his wife’s. I would take a swimsuit to the North Pole, just in case… And pack thermals while heading to hot tropical destination, just in case…
The worst part was that I was priding myself on such behaviour, While I was futilely spending an insane amount of energy scheming for contingencies and counter-contingency. Obviously, as I couldn’t plan for every possible outcome “perfectly”, I would often fail my planning and end up blaming myself.

I heard in the rooms an analogy that hit home for me. Someone compared the continuous overthinking to a cognitive washing machine. This analogy describes perfectly my brain overclocking on plans, counter-plans, things-not-going-to-plan, self blame, resentment… My true objective of recovery is the respite from this washing machine effect. I want to be living the day instead of obsessing about the future and replaying different scenarios that could have happened in the past. In order to achieve that I need to quit trying to perfectly control the future and blame myself about the past.

I need a new understanding of “Mektoub”. Fate is not anymore something I have to keep fighting, but a reality that I need to accept. I have no point to prove, by the futile exercise of making sure that I am writing my future the way I decided it to be. All I have to do is do things to the best of my abilities. If things don’t come out if it perfectly, I will not be blaming myself : I just did things to the best of my abilities and that’s just good enough. “Mektoub” is accepting that what already happened cannot be changed. And if I chain myself in a spiral of remorse and resentment, if I keep living in “how I could have changed my past”, I will be missing on living today.
Accepting fate isn’t anymore a sign of defeatism for me. It is a matter of accepting that I cannot control everything. It is a matter of accepting that doing my best is good enough. It is a matter of accepting that I do not have godlike powers and that I can either succeed or fail. It is a matter of being able to survive failure, if it ever happens. Defeatism is not even trying. Accepting “Mektoub” is accepting that you can try your best and still fail. “Mektoub” is the ability to move on with life. It is learning from your past mistakes to do better next time, instead of drowning in the past. Or get lost in an imaginary future.

From now on, I will try to let go of my obsessive controlling. I will let go of unnecessary remorse and (self)blame. I will accept that I am just a good and decent human being. A human being who is allowed to either succeed or fail and who should be satisfied with the fulfilment of having done his best. From now on, I will dissociate “Mektoub” from defeatism and associate it with a new found serenity.

Early days!

I am still alive, sober and grateful.
Today is my 40th day sober, my 5th day out of treatment. And I am doing surprisingly well, thank you very much. I had some brilliant days, and more challenging ones. But all in all, I am actually enjoying life.

After my first rehab, I relapsed within 5 days. It was for me a life shattering, humiliating experience. But it shown me how deluded I was with myself and my capabilities. The 12 steps of recovery start with acknowledging powerlessness and unmanageability. At that time I understood the concept of powerlessness as an irresistible attraction. As I was still deluding myself of being super-recovered-man, I thought that it was just a matter of resisting the craving. Unfortunately it is wasn’t and still isn’t that simple. I already mentioned in a previous posting that my brain gets highjacked. I feel the need to clarify how that happens for me. It isn’t that I am all the sudden deprived of any decision and directed by a mysterious secondary brain. It is much simpler and yet more powerful than that.

You’ll really need to believe that I wanted badly to stop using and acting out. I wanted, wished it, prayed for it as hard as I could with my cortex. That is the part of the brain that is the command centre for conscious decision. It is the reasonable voice that weights option and takes educated decisions. This part is not the whole brain. There’s a second important one. Let’s call it the primal brain. It is the part that is responsible for my survival. It is the part that makes me jump backward, if a bus is risking to run me down. It doesn’t call a committee. It doesn’t vote on the multiple options offered. It just acts on sheer instinct. In moments of danger, command centre is immediately transferred to this primal brain that dictates survival actions.
My problem, which common to most addicts, is that the primal brain discovered a miracle cure for deep anxiety, sorrow, depression, exhaustion and the likes. This miracle cure is my poison of choice (that poison varies with the addict, from chemical drugs to alcohol, gambling, comfort food, sugar, shopping…). It is my primal brain’s “solution” for all sorts of bad situations.
I am committed to my sobriety. But I am also a human being. I get anxious, frightened, tired, hungry, lonely, miserable, depressed : I get confronted with life! When life becomes overwhelming, when the pain is unbearable, I move into survival mode. My command centre is transferred to my primal brain. The new command centre identifies the threat : an emotional breakdown, an impossibility to cope. It seeks the most efficient remedy and issues an overriding order to the cortex : “Get poison, at whatever cost. If needed, change your mind about the taboo of poison. Don’t think, weight options or consider it. Just get it by all means necessary”. It is as simple, as direct, as ruthlessly efficient as that.
My cortex doesn’t see it as a manipulation. It doesn’t doubt the soundness of the order. It just changes it’s mind. It knows that it changed its mind. It doesn’t even imagine that the change of heart is a bad decision. It doesn’t consider that it is weak willed. It just changed its mind. It uses all necessary means (manipulation, deceit, lies, theft, immorality…..) to get it. What follows is rather well documented. My primal brain is happy : it got the instant relief it sought. My cortex deals with the negative consequences, vows to never do it again, get overwhelmed with guilt, regret, shame disgust… Gets closer to panic again. By then, the stage is set for another infernal cycle.

In early days of my recovery, I am responsible for breaking that cycle. I have to continuously check my emotional load. I need to deal with my emotions in real time to avoid stressing my system by going in endless loops of resentment, anger, regrets… By looking into my feelings, identifying their source, giving them their due and be able to let go of them, instead of stacking them in my brain to the point of saturation. I need to renew, daily, my decision to not use or act up. I need to remember the dangers of not being clean and sober. In order to do that, I go to a meeting every day. In addition to renewing my resolve (as it might get eroded by my primal brain) It allows me to feel less lonely. It gives me a daily dose of hugs and welcome. It gives me the warm feeling that comes with encouragement and appreciation of my sobriety.

In my early days of sobriety, in my early days of getting out of treatment, I have looked into my feelings in real time. I accepted my role in brewing these feelings and was able to stop obsessing with them. I did not catch all the feelings in my “reasonable net”. But I caught enough of them them to avoid an emotional overload. I did that with the help of my sponsor by talking to him. I did that by calling the support helpline offered by my treatment centre. I did that by overcoming my angst and calling people from the Narcotic Anonymous fellowship that offered their phone numbers. I did this by writing in my blog, tweeting, emailing with my friend. I did this by communicating instead of indulging myself in isolation.

I did all that by working the 12 steps program to the best of my abilities. By doing that I broke my personal record of relapsing within 5 days of leaving treatment.
For doing that I deserve a hug and a pat in the back.

Leaving rehab!

Today is the day. I am heading back to the big city in circa one hour. I have been having peaks of anxiety for the last 24 hours. I will be staying in the big city for 10 days, before relocating to my country of origin.
My anxiety started with the thought of packing. I almost went into panic when I started filling my bags, given how formidable the task seemed to me (I hate packing. I always forget half of the important stuff). And I have been in various stages of angst all day long.

Before leaving rehab, I had to present an exit plan to my peers and therapists. It is roughly a schedule for the week following the release. I am usually a rather confident public speaker, but before presenting mine, this afternoon, I was absolutely nervous. I wasn’t hearing people anymore. I could see their lips moving but could not understand a word they were saying. I reverted to my old trick of smiling and nodding: “Talk to the facade, the brain is too busy panicking on empty”!
Things calmed down though when I started speaking and cracked a joke about almost having finished my escape tunnel. The feed back was constructive and rather positive. Then came the goodbye ceremony. I got presented a coin :

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It represents a sailing ship. My therapist chose it because I expressed passion for scuba diving, and the ship was the link with the sea. The theme was a great choice. I love sailing as well as diving. I also identify with Paris city’s motto “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur“. It means that my ship can be tossed by the waves but does not sink. It means something to me, especially in view of my recent disaster experience.
Every person in the room held the coin and gave me some kind words of support, encouragement and great messages of friendship and care. It was intensely emotional and extremely soothing for me to hear all these people showing love and genuine concern. Some I’ve known for weeks, others I’ve known for only a handful of days. But all have been there for me to help me and support me.
I take anonymity seriously, so I won’t be mentioning any names. But I made some dear friends, I won’t name here, but I will be wishing to see again in the future.
Don’t think I turned all the sudden into a saint. I didn’t! It was rehab, and among the lot, there have been also some sad characters I will be thoroughly avoiding for the rest of my life.

I need to remember the good advice that people gave me at my leaving due :
– Practice the 3 first steps.
– Get a sponsor.
– Don’t be cocky (I can have intense “I figured it all out!” moments).
– Ask for help.
– Keep being kind
– Don’t get a new tattoo before 1year.
– Don’t start a new rehab business in the country I am relocating to before 4 years.
– Don’t ever tattoo “❤️nameofmytherapist forever❤️” on my arm.
– Go to meetings, listen, share and build a network (I have only 10 days to do that before relocating to a country without fellowship).
– Take phone numbers and use phone numbers.
– My recovery comes first, don’t play hero.
– Don’t pretend that I know how to fix people.
– Don’t pickup any poison.
– Make a daily gratitude list.
– Remember HALT : Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired is dangerous territory for an addict.

I am now on a car, driven to an hotel room where I will be staying the night. Good byes have been emotional and heart warming. But i have been scribbling since i left and now I don’t feel any anxiety; I feel mind-rested. I love the effect that writing down thoughts and processing difficult moments has on me. Things get clearer and I can let go more easily rather than stacking up issues in my brain. This one also have the added benefit of writing down the advice given to me before forgetting it.