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[ Personal Narratives ]

My First 365 Days In My Own Skin

It is November 13, 2016. It has been a year today since I last drank alcohol. Through the last twelve months, my life has changed. It has undergone a metamorphosis, but I am still all too aware of my demons lurking within. I am aware of my weaknesses. I remember. I still feel guilt and shame for the agony I put my loved ones through. Today, my home life has transformed. Trust is slowly building, becoming stronger every day, and with that burgeoning trust everyone’s happiness blooms.

Although some wounds may never fully heal, my relationships with my wife and daughter are blossoming and growing every day. After all, they are entitled to be cautious. A friend said that it must be great for my wife to get the old me back, but this isn’t the old me. I have never felt so connected to myself or the Universe.

So many things have returned or are working their way back to me. Every day, new ideas and people are stimulating my mind and consciousness. Connection is now my mantra. Since I started my blog in March, I have connected with many beautiful, recovering souls from all over the world. Everyone is somewhere on the timeline of their own path to recovery from addiction, but with togetherness everything can be accomplished. Connections are crisscrossing the world; minds and souls coming together with a shared mission, wrapped up in their personal fight for recovery. I see this as a microcosm of our planet’s renewal. Togetherness and connection.

I love the book Conversations by Theodore Zeldin. It is about the importance of conversation in our lives, explaining how it is at the root of creativity; how it is better than laws in helping to change our mindsets and how it makes life more interesting, friendly, or passionate. The book’s aim is to stimulate conversation itself and our thinking about how and why we talk, and what we talk about. Zeldin writes, “…a new kind of group is growing up in the world, an affinity of people living in every continent, for whom the broadening of their curiosity is a major passion. I personally think we should start on that adventure…by giving older people more opportunities to share their experience with the young, to counter the segregation of the generations and of knowledge.” This is happening right now in the internet world of recovery.

I love writing my blog. It is a truly beautiful thing for me that people from around the world have recognized and affirmed my stories, when not long ago all hope was lost for me. The thing which I find personally most meaningful is the contact from people who have found something valuable in my words. As I do not regularly attend AA or NA, I see writing as my service. There are thousands of people in recovery telling their stories in blogs or websites and everybody’s words resonate and give hope.

In July next year, a group of my closest friends are planning to gather for a reunion, many with their children in tow. You could not wish to meet a more welcoming group of dazzlingly creative beings as these guys; they are always encouraging, open to making connections and sharing experiences. I am very excited about the prospect of renewing friendships and hearing their stories. This is an event I could not have even contemplated this time last year. Now, far from worrying about any temptations, I am really looking forward to attending this gathering of the herd with the clarity of mind my abstinence brings.

I met up with a very old friend this week whom I have not seen for over thirteen years. We used to be drug buddies, both working on separate music projects in the same studio complex. We smoked as much heroin and cocaine as we could lay our hands on. We also used to talk. When I last saw him, in 2003, I had just started on the path to recovery from heroin addiction. We have communicated since then, but not in person, so I knew he was also now in recovery. We spent a lovely afternoon in the Tate Modern. The conversation was still as engaging, and not just because we had so much to catch up on. The thing that I found curious and surprising is that our sober days are only 24 hours apart. I cannot express how happy it made me to see him so healthy and as enthusiastic about recovery as I am.

As the days and months have passed, my confidence and creativity have grown. I am currently involved in too many different projects to list here. As I said in my conversation with Chris Aguirre, “I don’t want to think about turning stuff down. I want to say yes to everything. I used to be like that about drugs.” I really do want it all. I am greedy for life. Ideas are flowing through me like electric charges. Once again, magnetism has returned to my life. I will not let go of it this time.

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