One look in the mirror is all it took.
This despicable, desiccated look, the hair that resembles more a crow’s nest resting on top of my head. I can barely remember, this worn-out face, my voice, a lazy drawl. What has become of my skin? It’s dry and leathery from all that spurious drinking, enough to turn an amazonian croc a jealous green.
I could hide in shame, the damage of all those years of heavy smoking, the dirty yellowed teeth, these bedraggled clothes which hang off my emaciated body and reek of stale cigarettes.
I drag myself out of bed most days. I don’t feel a pretty sight when I look at myself in the mirror in the morning. Is that how it is most days? This dreary life is dragging me down. All those enduring years, the shaming criticisms and constant put-downs. I’m desperate for some comfort these days. I just want to kill this pain. It’s no longer good enough, this gripping bottle, my lonely trusted friend.
I seek comfort by the misty reverie, this tenacious false belief that I’ve been exploiting for years, to deceive myself all my life. The unreality, that my beloved man will provide for me and give me everything I need; mostly love, security and respect. The ugly truth haunts me, so I reach out once again for that poisonous container, those familiar fumes of nauseating liquid that always promises me happiness.
But this isn’t going to get me anywhere. As I witness through alcoholic diplopia, the neglect that is destroying my precious children, and they, in turn, bear deplorable witness to me, their wretched, hapless mother spread across the floor, as I demolish myself slowly, their angry cries hurled violently against me. The guilt consumes me. How can I possibly carry on living with myself in this way, knowing all this, in full view of the hateful damage that accompanies my terrible addiction? How can I fix this? Who can I turn to? What can I do to save myself now?
By some miracle, I’ve managed to remove myself from the unspeakable abuse and self-neglect. Assisted by the wisdom of my long-suffering sister, who gave me temporary refuge while I gathered my senses, and collected my belongings.
“Counselling is a way out of and sometimes the only escape from a desperate situation. No matter how difficult, no matter how hopeless, without the right help, support, influence, it is very difficult for a vulnerable addict to fight the battle for change with and within their own mind. The poisonous mind is a powerful force to contend with by one’s self.”
I am so grateful for Mignon’s compassion, wisdom and support. Together we danced around the fire of guilt. It took every ounce of gnarly courage that I could muster. With agonising determination and harrowing resolve, I thought to myself, “What do I have to lose?”. I had given away everything, my dignity, my soul. I had lost any respect I might once have claimed to own. Is there any way I can get back to where I began, that carefree child, running around in the garden sunshine with my siblings, untroubled by my own parent’s abject rejection of me and happily taking emotional refuge in my sister who was barely older than me?
And today, I can’t believe it! I am marrying again. I am leaning into vulnerability, I am learning to feel comfortable with respect, and love. I’ve learned that above everything else I value most in this man, is the simplicity of a lovely friendship that he brings into my life. Something precious that has always been just out of my reach. The challenges that accompany age, my lived experience and recovery from mental illness and the joy of my newfound spirituality, has given me brand new insights and taught me valuable lessons. I am so free now, to think, to feel and to allow myself some peace and happiness for the rest of my life.
Today I stand strong in my own light and I’ve found love. My hazy, dishonourable foregone life, two suffering collapses, now solidly rooted within firm ground.
Counselling provided the torch, that shone a light on all my dark inner places and held me in complete safety while I worked hard to transform myself. Counselling has validated my strength, courage and determination, and has provided opportunities for letting go of all that anger, shame, guilt and low self-worth. I now have all the permission I needed to get hold of the controls myself and to fly again. I am a different person inside. My life is so much more exciting now that I have clearly defined and established emotional boundaries.