My name is Kelly Harris, I am 34 years old and I write blogs for my own ‘therapy’ and ‘self help’… Below is a blog that I wrote a while ago, I wasn’t in a happy place and if I’m honest I really wasn’t sure I was going to post it! I wasn’t sure I was ready to be criticized, questioned or commented on…but now, I think the time is right! My blogs have helped others before and if they can do it again then that is a good enough reason alone to post it.
I can do this now because I am on the other side of this piece of writing, I have gained control of my life again, my family is back together and the future is bright!! Well… it is brighter than it was, I still have a long journey ahead but hey, on a serious note, the rest of the journey will be like a walk in the park on a sunny day, drinking lashings of ginger beer!!!…. So read on….
I don’t like the term alcoholic, because straight away, in true form we all create a minds eye impression of a stereotypical character, unwashed, unkept, smelling of urine, gulping ‘Special Brew’ from a can hidden in a brown paper bag!! A person drowning their sorrows, and nursing their woes, self medicating with a bottle of something cheap and nasty because they haven’t got the luxury of a “champagne salary”
I know this is a very judgemental, and a very naive and blinkered way of looking at life from one perspective. Of course there are people that fit this description. But if we took the time to scrape away at that image, peel away at some of those layers that make a person, you may find that the ‘unkept tramp’ thats smells of urine and has remnants of greasy chip shop chips hidden in his beard, did once earn a spectacular salary that was worthy of a Ferrari, Rolex watch, and a Penthouse in the city. That he was once, and still could be a handsome man with designer stubble and not a face full of fluff which is more appropriate for nesting birds!
So, what led this stereotypical image to the bench in the park in all weathers? Scrape a little more at the surface and through tragedy he loses his wife in traumatic circumstances, loses the ability to cope with his two young children, loses his job, gradually his amazing life has disintegrated and fallen through his hands faster than quicksand. He now sits on a bench searching for answers in the bottom of a bottle… why? Because everyone who knew him always assumed that he would be OK, because until now he always was… he was the friend that was “leaned on” in times of need, not the friend that needed the shoulder to be lent, he was the brother that gave the great advice and was looked up to, not the one asking for help and direction, he was the man, that in his eyes and the eyes of others, had EVERYTHING! All his life HE GOT ON WITH IT, and not only did he do this successfully but he excelled in pretty much everything he did. So people turned away when he began to struggle, when things went wrong no one asked if they could help, because they wrongly assumed that… HE WOULD BE OK!!
Scrape away a little more, and you could have me…an independent, confident woman of three children, a good job, a fun loving wife, a five bedroomed house in a tree lined street, fantastically shamazing friends and family, successfully juggling motherhood, career, and family, better than a clown in a circus juggling with fire!!!!
So you may may be surprised to to find under that is a damaged woman, heartbroken through grief, a woman whose world fell apart after not being able to cope with the loss of three children , the breakdown of her marriage and so much debt she dare not open the envelopes for fear of red letters, final warnings. Unwinding with a fine glass of Beaujolais or Shiraz after work, then two, then three…. but theres only a bit left so she finishes the bottle and to add to gluteny “licks the rim” to ensure every last drop has been taken, before you know it, the fine wine with aromas of ‘cherry blossom and a tang of Clementine in the winter frost’ as reviewed by the very over enthusiastic ‘Jilly Goolden’ suddenly becomes a carton of Value Red that’s suitable only for cooking with… surely??
Is wine enough to numb the senses, is it enough to hide from the a reality that’s haunting every second, or does she search for stronger and more dangerous vices not thinking or caring about the repercussions, not caring what path this will lead to as long as it takes her to that place that is free from pain and free from having to think about … “Whatever’s Next”?
When times are dark and the future looks bleak, thinking clearly and logically isn’t an option, because in this moment, at this time of her life the “control” button is lost!
Sometimes we all lose our element of ‘control’, people get through trauma and hard times of their lives finding their own coping strategies, and finding support from friends, family or practitioners. For me at this time, I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, everything had mounted into an ‘Everest’ sized problem and I could not see beyond the catalyst that had manifested itself into an ugly demon which had taken over my ‘control button’. When we are ‘in’ control, we ‘take’ control of the path we are walking. Dealing with situations as and when they arise, talking when problems mount up, we have the ability to not catastrophize situations and we are clear headed enough to find the solutions ourselves! I am NOT an alcoholic and I AM NOT a drug addict but I lost my way for a while and I lost the ability to cope with my current situation!
I have always been that person that offered support, not required it.. gave advice, not seeked it, nurtured others, not needed it… so this personal journey led me to learn things about myself that I hadn’t before realised, and it taught me about the traits of my addictive personality! So Knowing and realising how you operate as an individual can only give you more strength and vigor. With help, and with the right advice, support and guidance, without fear of feeling a ‘total failure’ or ‘weak’ there is hope for everyone who feel that they are alone in utter darkness!
If you know someone that looks a little lost…. STOP …. and scratch away at the layers gently, and you may find they are fighting demons too, ‘desperately’ trying to find their own control button!!!