I am a recovering addict.
I grew up in Sydney, Australia, in a ‘normal’ family, a mother and father who were married, and one sister. They didn’t drink excessively or smoke.
I was always a very hyperactive child who constantly needed stimulation, had great difficulty with menial tasks, poor concentration and used to get really frustrated when things didn’t work properly.
I performed well academically in early school years but found it progressively more difficult as I got older, usually being the class clown and disruptive in the classroom. Thinking back, I had a sugar addiction & would use my small amount of pocket money to buy large packets of lollies which would be scoffed down in a matter of minutes! I was also very anxious and felt uncomfortable around people I didn’t know and found it particularly difficult to speak to girls that I was attracted to.
Fast forward to the end of school when my parents allowed me freedom for the first time. There were many parties and my friends and I used to regularly see live bands and go to ‘discos’, showing my age here lol. Of course there was alcohol at these venues and I discovered that I had more confidence with the ladies when I had a few drinks in me. Well a little more than a few! We were all young and having fun but I would regularly end up paralytically drunk, occasionally vomiting and having blackouts.
I mellowed out a little as a father and managed to pursue a reasonably successful career. I always thought of myself as a functioning addict as I also ate pretty well, exercised regularly, and was present for my kids who I still have a great relationship with.
Eventually I got divorced from my wife of 18 years and was living alone for the first time in my adult life. At this point things started getting worse again. I started having trouble with the law which was never a feature of my early using days. Despite this I could not stop using and the severity of the obsession and addiction became more obvious to me.
As time went on my ‘disease’ progressed, my life was spiralling out of control, I lost my job, went into financial free fall and with age my health continued to deteriorate until I ended up in hospital with a panic attack and thought I was having a heart attack!
It was at this point I realised that I needed to immediately checkin to a rehab centre or I was going to die ,or worse, become derelict, lose all self-respect, and live in constant fear of death!
During my rehab I learned a lot about addiction & was introduced to NA.
I had never heard of NA before but have come to understand it deals with addictions of all kinds without discrimination. Through attending regular meetings I gradually started to feel better and the compulsion to use has been lifted. It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone and other people have the same disease and we can help each other get through life’s challenges.
I am now approaching 18 months in recovery, so grateful to be alive, have friends who are not using, happy, and living in such an amazing place for recovery as Chiang Mai. I couldn’t have done it alone and will be forever grateful for what NA has, and continues to teach me.
Find out more about the group here.
Contact information for Chiang Mai Area NA
Meetings in Chiang Mai