Tag Archives: Dear X (You Don’t Own Me)

Cleaning House

For the previous week I hadn’t drank that much, not since the previous Sunday when I really found myself on the edge of life.

That night was the last time I had a real binge and the last time I brought alcohol into the house. Since then I had only drunk at the pub after karate and instead of downing as much as I could, I had just two pints each time and then gone home, I was gaining control, it was hard, but I was doing it.

Each night now since that moment on that Wednesday evening I had been praying, I had started this relationship with the Lord and from this I was gaining the strength to find control, but I felt I wasn’t ready for attending Church just yet, I felt I still had things that needed taking care of before I made that step.

So come Sunday morning I went into town and brought a number of things, including new bedding, a new watch, a journal and the biggest plastic container I could find.

When I got home, I put my old bedding in the box, this still had that smell of stale alcohol and sweat, it smelt of the old me. I put in old clothes that I usually wore when around the house, these smelt the same, they had to go too. I also put in my old watch for the same reason.

Then on top of all that, there was one more thing that had to go. The previous Sunday I hadn’t quite finished the second bottle of wine I had brought home, since then it had sat on top of the fridge, untouched.

As the week went past I found myself talking to that bottle as I walked by it. I wasn’t going mad, I was taking control. Each time I walked by I told it that it couldn’t have me, I had a plan for it and that didn’t including drinking it. I told it that it didn’t have power over me anymore, I was winning.

So I took the bottle down, placed on top of everything else and closed the box. I wrote in the box the date and “The Healing Had Begun”. Then I took the box and put it in the cellar with all the other boxes of stuff that have been forgotten about over the years.

It’s still there, seven years on.

I felt I had to pack away that part of my life, clean house and start afresh, this was the end of what was bad and the start of something better. That day everything that reminded me of the worst of me had to go, I had to say goodbye to it, it was part of the process, part of the healing.

DEAR X (YOU DON’T OWN ME) by DISCIPLE
Dear pain, oh, it’s been a long time
Remember when you were holding me tight
I would stay awake with you all night

Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
You were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies

I let you go but you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Dear hate, I know you’re not far
You would wait at the door of my heart
I was amazed at the passion in your cries

Dear anger, you made me so high
You were faithful to show up on time
Such a flame that was burning in your eyes

I let you go, but you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

You tempted me to look back
But everything that we had together was a lie

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

The Story So Far – Chapter 10 – Withdrawals

CHAPTER 10 – WITHDRAWALS

The only downer of that Easter Sunday 8th April 2012 was the onset of the headaches.  I thought in terms of the drinking everything was going so well, I understood that coming off alcohol dependency there were the withdrawals to deal with.  I thought they would hit almost immediately, I had researched alcoholism and found that it wasn’t always the case, in some cases there were none and in other they can emerge weeks later.  The body becomes so dependent on alcohol, that in some cases the body can go into shutdown if alcohol consumption is stopped, in extreme cases even leading to death, but in almost all cases there were withdrawal symptoms.  So now the headaches began to appear.

I’m not one to suffer from headaches or migraines, if I did get them they were quite mild and usually a couple of paracetamol and they were gone.  At work I had been taking in packs of bottled water, I was drinking plenty of fluids, but that didn’t stop them, paracetamol didn’t help either, I just kept getting headaches and I couldn’t get rid of them.

Over the coming weeks the headaches got worse and worse, more frequent and more painful.  Slowly though the pain spread, firstly into my back, then to my kidney’s and slowly around the body.  As April moved on I seemed to record each night in my journal how bad the pain was getting, how I was beginning to lose my mind because of it, the pain was getting to me and I was beginning to fall apart.

The worst day can on Sunday 22nd April, I remember sitting in Church, in constant pain, I could hardly move because it hurt so much to move, but I couldn’t sit still either because it hurt to keep still, I couldn’t fight it anymore.  Many people came by and prayed with me, prayed for my pain to go away and I just sat there fighting the tears, that was until I spoke with Gareth and at that point I couldn’t hold them in anymore.  By this time I was struggling, really struggling.

The next night it had been a long day at work, with a combination of paracetamol and ibruprofen I somehow got through the day.  When I got home I found myself lying on the settee in the dark, alone.  The pain was breaking through way beyond all the painkillers I had taken, they had taken the edge off all day, but not really taken the pain away, now it seemed even worse and I felt so alone, really so alone.

At this point I knew that my body was screaming for alcohol, my mind was telling me all I had to do was to give in and take a drink and it would all go away.  I don’t remember where the rest of the family were, they were all in the house, but just in separate rooms, I was laid alone, in the dark, in a world of pain.

I didn’t want to drink, but I knew this would all go away if I did, I was fighting it, but I was not doing very well.  But as the evening went on I had this feeling that I wasn’t to do this alone, I prayed and once again I felt I was being told not to do this on my own.  I didn’t really know who to reach out to though, so I grabbed my phone and sent a text to James, simply saying how I was struggling and I needed help.

Instantly as soon as I pressed send the struggle ended, a peace fell and the pain began to slowly subside, it didn’t go away, but it became manageable, the urge to treat the beast with what it was craving for was over, the gloom lifted.  James was in a meeting when I sent the text, but he responded as soon as he could asking how I was doing and if he could help, I replied by telling him how much just sending the text had already helped me so much and I was feeling much better, I was still in pain, but I had it under control.  I was so thankful for James in those hard weeks, he would text me so often, asking how I was and being so supportive, I always felt so encouraged when I got a text from him.

The next morning I was back at the Doctors for more tests.  I told him about the pain I was in, he attributed it to the withdrawals and prescribed me Co-codamol for the pain.  I understood that this painkiller was an opiate derivative and that these too could be highly addictive, I didn’t want to replace one addiction by treating it with another, I guess I was slightly surprised to be given these, but I guess that most painkillers can be addictive.  I decided that I would only take these when I really needed them, I wasn’t going to rely on them, only when the pain was unmanageable.  But actually by the time I was prescribed these I had suffered the worst of the pain, it was actually getting a little easier each day.  I had a prescription for thirty tablets, but in the end I only took about a dozen, the rest sat in my cupboard until I ditched them.

Over the next couple of weeks all the pain had gone.  By mid May I was feeling pretty good, all the pain was gone, I was happy and I was well.  After weeks of various blood tests and blood pressure checks at the Doctor’s, my blood pressure had returned back to normal levels and my liver results were back to normal too.  My early tests had come back with anomalies, the Doctor expected this given what I had told him about my drinking, but had pointed out that the liver also has the remarkable ability to repair itself.  I was lucky I guess, I hadn’t quite gone past the point of no return, I had stopped in time and everything now seemed to be coming together.  The news about my liver results was really encouraging, after weeks of pain and wondering whether this was all worth it, suddenly I knew I was on the right track.

With all the pain gone, I decided it was time to get fit.  Over the last few years I had put on a lot of weight, when I was training regularly I was usually just over 11 stone, when I stopped drinking I was around 13 stone, I wanted to get back down below that 11 stone mark, even go as far as 10 stone, which I believed possible.  So I started watching what I ate and exercising every morning, the weight began to fall off.

I had set a goal of being 11½ stone by July when the National Championship came around.  In the last few years, despite my weight and the drinking I had still managed to perform pretty well, I had won the Senior Men’s Kata back in 2010 and came second in 2011, but now I believed I could do so much better this year.  I actually got my weight down to 11 stone by the day of the championships, I went there with so much expectation, if they couldn’t beat me unfit, then how could I be beaten now, I was in the best shape I had been in for over 15 years, what could go wrong?

Well it did, in my first round match I lost, I lost to someone I should never have lost to, but I did, I slipped slightly, but that didn’t matter in the scheme of things, I had lost, when I saw the flags go in my opponents favour, I was gutted, I was destroyed, so much disappointment, even anger, it wasn’t my opponents fault, he pulled out his best and won, in fact I’m not sure he could believe the result either, I bowed to the referee, walked back to the edge of the area, turned to shake my opponent’s hand and walked away.

Then it happened, I realised that despite all my hopes for winning, I realised that it wasn’t supposed to be, the truth was it was better that way, winning now would be too easy, it would seem like everything was fixed, when in reality it was only just the beginning, there was more work to do, I was far from fixed just yet.

I stopped walking, stood by the area and closed my eyes, I lifted my head and said to God…

“Ok, I’m with you God, I’m not there yet,
I’ve still got work to do, it’s not my time,
it’s not part of your plan, I am with you,
I will trust you to show me when the time is right”

Immediately any disappointment faded, deep down it was still there, but it was okay, there would be another day, it was just not today.  I remember writing in my journal that night and quite clearly writing….

I AM A WORK IN PROGRESS, BUT I HAVE TO WORK IN ORDER TO PROGRESS!

It had been a long day and I didn’t get back home until the early hours of the morning, but even through the disappointment the day had been a good one.  I had met up with many old friends, some of whom I had met up with last at a training session in April, it was right in the middle of my withdrawals and I couldn’t train because of the pain.  That day back in April all my old squad coaches found out my secret and what a mess I had become, now they got to see how I was overcoming it all.

DEAR X (YOU DON’T OWN ME) by DISCIPLE
Dear pain, oh, it’s been a long time
Remember when you were holding me tight
I would stay awake with you all night

Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
You were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies

I let you go but you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Dear hate, I know you’re not far
You would wait at the door of my heart
I was amazed at the passion in your cries

Dear anger, you made me so high
You were faithful to show up on time
Such a flame that was burning in your eyes

I let you go, but you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

You tempted me to look back
But everything that we had together was a lie

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

499…

For the past two days I’ve been simply posting to Facebook and Twitter with two very cryptic posts…

497…

&

498…

That’s all just the numbers, nothing else, no explanation or any other clues.

Friends from Church and followers of this blog will I hope understand, but as I rarely post on Facebook and do not link this blog back to it, I guess they are left wondering what the meaning is, tonight I will post on there also….

499…

For those on Facebook I will explain in full tomorrow. But I imagine most followers on here and Twitter will already know that tomorrow I will celebrate 500 days of sobriety, 500 amazing days of sober living!

As I’ve said many a time, it’s been an amazing journey so far and believe me it will not end here, indeed I never intend for this sober journey to end.

Since that day I made a call for help and met with Gareth, no alcohol as been brought into this house. Although I didn’t stop drinking immediately following that day, I gained a measure of control over it from that point.

Two days after that meeting I began praying, I asked for the strength to fight my addiction. From that point I began to dislike the taste, I began to be gain enough control to stop after a drink or two.

Eight days after praying as I walked across to the pub, my thinking was such that if I wasn’t enjoying it anymore why keep drinking, I stated if I didn’t like the taste, then that was it, no more.

Making that public statement seemed to spark a determination in me not to actually like it, I took that first sip, the one that would normally bring an enormous sense of relief and satisfied an urge within, but this time it was different, it just didn’t taste the same, it held no enjoyment for me and indeed it held no power over me anymore. That was it, when I finished that drink on the evening of Thursday 29th March 2012, I resolved never to drink again.

Not just a temporary break from drinking, but an end to it permanently.

From that day I’ve given thanks daily for the strength I’ve received, from that first prayer and every subsequent prayer since. I still ask for strength, simply the strength to continue my journey as a sober human being and also to continue my journey with God, for me the two go hand in hand.

I still count everyday that I stay free from drinking, as well as everyday since that phone call that started me out on this journey. At the top of all my journal entries I write the two numbers, as long I can write both those numbers, it doesn’t really matter what else is going off around me or in my life, I know I’m still on my journey and I pray and give thanks for that.

Tomorrow in my own way I’ll celebrate my milestone, for me it will be just one of many to come. I’ll be in Church as usual tomorrow, giving thanks for my life, giving thanks for all that I’ve become and all that God has planned for me to be. Tomorrow evening I will be spending with the members of my Connect Group, so I’ll be spending time with so many that have helped me, it will be an amazing day to celebrate such a milestone.

As I stated in my post “Beautiful Memories” from earlier today, I can’t thank the members of Everyday Champions Church enough for all their support, it’s been invaluable and means so much.

I would like to thank everyone of the followers of The Bottom of a Bottle, since I started this blog on the 6th October 2012, you have all become a constant source of support and inspiration, I thank you for every view, every like and every comment, I know I’ve been a little lapse in responding to comments lately, it’s something I intend to sort out and get myself back into the routine of doing it, hopefully if my work load settles down a little.

All of your positive messages and support have helped me through some dark times, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this blog, but it has been an amazing experience and one I intend to continue. I have followers from many different walks of life, followers from all over the world, members of the recovery community that continue to offer their support, followers of Christ that give support and bring me much needed words of God when I need them, followers of other faiths who add their support, also to the poets and photographers, all of your support has been immense.

Once again, I thank you all.

For now I’m going to sit back with a Pepsi Max and rest for a while, maybe read a few of your blogs and then an early night, it’s a big day tomorrow! That is unless I get the urge to write again.

SoberDay 500

As I walked to work this morning a number of songs played on my iPod, but this one means the most to me of all of them at the moment, the lyrics ring so true for me, in my mind I just replace the X with the word alcohol!!!! I can associate with every verse of the song and celebrate the Chorus, “I was yours, I’m not yours anymore, Oh, you don’t own me”

DEAR X (YOU DON’T OWN ME) by DISCIPLE
Dear pain, oh it’s been a long time
remember when you were holding me tight
I would stay awake with you all night

Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
you were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies

I let you go, but you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never gonna take me
you can bend but you’re never gonna break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
Oh, you don’t own me

Dear hate, I know you’re not far
you would wait at the door of my heart
I was amazed at the passion in your cries

Dear anger, you made me so high
you were faithful to show up on time
such a flame that was burning in your eyes

Go ahead, you’re never gonna take me
you can bend but you’re never gonna break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
Oh, you don’t own me

Go ahead put a target on my forehead
you can fire but you’ve got no bullets
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
Oh, you don’t own me

You’re tempting me to look back
But everything that we had together was a lie