This might sound strange but in many ways I am grateful for being an addict. Why? Because without having experienced the despair of my addiction, or the grit of the fight to get free of it, I wouldn't be who I am today.
I wouldn't be so in touch with the the strong and determined part of me, I wouldn't be so empathetic toward other people's struggles, and I ceratinly wouldn't be so appreciative of the wonders of recovery.
Because I've been in that miserable addicted place I can fully appreciate the calmness of a gentle booze-free evening, I can relish the getting-into-bed-sober moment, and boy can I delight delight in the marvel that is a hangover-free, guilt-free wake-up. That shit never gets old (does a person who has never been miserably addicted appreciate these things as much as me?)
But most of all I am grateful to my addiction because it has led me smack bang into the heart of my tribe. Finally for the first time in my life I feel like I truly belong in a group. My tribe of fellow addicts.
Immediately when I meet someone who I know is in recovery I feel an instant connection. It's like we can go straight to a place of real honesty. Even if we don't get all deep and meaningful with our conversation I feel a connection.
I know that they know what I know ...
They also know what it's like to feel utterly powerless over alcohol - that it's not a simple case of stopping after one or two or only drinking on the weekends.
They also know what it's like to have their self esteem eroded by letting themselves down time and time again with their drinking. Breaking promises to themselves, going back on their word.
They also know that awful feeling of utter despair when they reached the end of their drinking days, stripped of their confidence and self-belief.
They also know that raw exposed feeling when they took the drink away and felt super sensitive and vulnerable to life.
And they also know the intense work of grinding through the weeks as a newly sober person. Lurching from emotional state to emotional state, navigating moods, forgiving themselves constantly, adjusting to their sober skin.
Just knowing that I am faced with another person that can share in all of those experiences is gold to me. I feel instant empathy and connection. It's lovely.
We need one another. In this crazy, complicated, booze-soaked world that we live in with our crazy, complicated human brains.. we need that empathy and connection with our fellow addicts. We need to support and encourage and boost each other along. And that's what we do!
We do it here at Living Sober, we do it in meeting rooms around the world, we do it in twos and threes and groups, we do it via email and over coffee and while staring at the sunset.
We do it because we belong to the great amorphous tribe of fellow addicts - the brave and amazing people of the world who have dug deep, removed booze and gotten sober.
Bloody awesome tribe to be a part of if you ask me.
Mrs D xxx