This is quite a personal piece and it is a little bit dangerous for me given society’s attitudes to drug and alcohol addiction.
Just remember, if it’s not you there’s probably a junkie or an alcoholic in your family. Treat them with sympathy, not disgust.
[This piece was first published at Independent Australia on 11 July]
There’s a well-founded belief among recovering addicts and alcoholics that you have to hit rock bottom before you start to get better.
I certainly believe it to be true. I bounced along the bottom for quite a while between 2014 and 2016. I didn’t truly begin my recovery until I left behind the toxic circumstances of my employment.
I’ve been mostly clean and relatively sober for nearly three years. I’ve had a lapse here and there, but usually got myself back on track pretty quickly. I still go to meetings and I have regular sessions with a therapist, but overall, I’m definitely much happier, stronger and more stable than I was three years ago.
So, it was with some horror that I found myself picking up a narcotic a few days ago. Exactly what the substance was is irrelevant; suffice to say it exists in a grey zone of legality and is readily available in a certain kind of adult store.
I’m glad to say I had a really bad reaction to the stuff. After a few moments of delirium, I became violently ill. I hope I don’t do it again.
However, what I have learned about myself through three years of counselling and involvement in both NA and AA is that there is a cause for my lapsing and if I can get to the bottom of it, I’m less likely to do it again.
What caused me to pick up again?
So, what do I know about this week’s episode?
Well, the first thing to note is that I’ve been suffering writer’s block. This article is the first thing I’ve written since the federal election on 18 May. Outside of a handful of tweets, I’ve said nothing about the Morrison victory, or the disappointing postures adopted by the Labor opposition under the doubly-disappointing Albo. I have a book deadline looming, but I’ve been unable to write a paragraph, despite all the juicy media and journalism controversy swirling around us.
Having writer’s block is not normally associated with me having a lapse or finding an excuse to drink more than I should, but I think there’s something intrinsic to my situation that created this recent blockage and then began to spiral me down to a bust.