Take a marriage for example. Two peoplefall in love, decide to spend their lives together and make vows to each other in front of witnesses. To love each other, honour and respect each other, forsaking all others for as long as they both live.
Huge promises that cover many years ahead, that may hold many challenges and life changes. Not to mention the individual growth and maturity of each person.
As the years pass, the love changes. The things that were once endearing may now be irritating, desire may diminish, the ageing process may take each person in a different direction.
Yet both parties may be reluctant to let go of the relationship, feeling more comfortable with what is familiar. Fearing the unknown and creating numerous reasons to remain as they are, even though neither is happy.
How does this relate to drug and alcohol use?
If you put your substance of choice in the place of the husband or wife in the above scenario, would these feelings and fears sound familiar?
Too much has happened
Imagine this marriage now becomes undermining, destructive even, where most exchanges are negative and critical. Finally, one or both decide that separation and divorce is the only way forward.
They remember the good times and wonder how it could have come to this. Sometimes they embrace, they make love one more time, then feel guilty, confused, regret and
wish it could be any other way.
Could they have done it differently, could they have been more aware of the other in order to avoid the ultimate divorce? Alas, they know too much has happened, things have gone too far, and they will never have another honeymoon!
Does this sound like your relationship with drugs or alcohol?
Is the honeymoon well and truly over?
Has it become unhealthy, and yet you are reluctant to let go?
Does familiarity feel more comfortable than the thought of change?
Is there more negativity, more abuse, more selfishness, less tolerance, less
care in the relationship?
Or has it even become more like an abusive or violent relationship? Where your partner strives to keep you away from others, to tell you that you need no one else? To say that all your needs can be met by only them, and to separate you from the world, and to change the way you view it?
Once you have made the decision to separate and divorce from your addiction, as with the abusive relationship? The transition can be difficult, and can even feel dangerous at times.
You may often want to go back, to feel the familiarity. You might feel lonely and yearn for the one who once made you feel so good. You might even go back for a night and indulge yourself, even though in the morning it is difficult to get away.
Then you might decide ‘never again’ and begin to mourn the loss of the great love that once was, but is now tainted and damaged, one that you had lost yourself in. The loss is so great, and the yearning almost overpowering with its seductive invitation and kindly selective memories, enticing you with relief and a guarantee to change your view of the world.
Gradually build strength and resilience
So how do you get through? How do you resist the yearning and craving?
What happens in a divorce, or at the end of any intense and long-standing relationship, such as substance misuse?
Dealing with the loss, the accompanying changes perhaps to environment and associates, how do you spend your free time, what do you do at weekends, how do you sleep?
You slowly and gradually build strength and resilience with help, with support and by doing things that perhaps you never thought you would.
It can be a long journey, yet every day can bring a lovely surprise. Remember, some days, you may have to look for it.
Looking for support and interventions? Please get in touch with Resilience Recovery Support Group for group work, therapeutic yoga and one-to-one sessions atwww.resiliencerecovery.co.uk/ 07515 663621.