If Friday ended with sunsets and smiles, then Saturday everything started to go wrong, the smile faded a little and this afternoon I’ve been on the edge of tears.
As I stated in my last post, Friday was a great end to a tough week, a very tiring week indeed, but Saturday came around and started off pretty well, I woke fairly early, got up and got ready, said goodbye to the kids, Victoria and my two kids were off to summer camp for the week and I had agreed to help James move house.
So I said goodbye and set off, I arrived to help at 7.30, I was more than willing to help, I owe James so much for what he has done for me since we reconnected last year, he has played a big part in my recovery and what I owe him I can never hope to fully repay.
A number of us helped and had moved the majority of his and Gemma’s belongings by lunch and returned for one final load in the afternoon, when that was loaded James dropped me off at home, my job was done for the day, time for a rest.
But that’s when things started to go wrong, I had really enjoyed helping out in the morning, we worked hard but we had a laugh too, as usual I always enjoy being around other people from Church and as well as that, I getting to know a few of the other guys I don’t know so well.
I got home and obviously the house was empty, the only other living thing in the house was the rabbit, which had been moved to the back room so I don’t forget about it! I’ve been left with only one thing to remember all week and that is to feed the rabbit everyday.
I put the TV on and just laid myself down on the settee and within minutes I was asleep, but not for long, the phone rang and I woke not knowing where I was, by the time I worked out I was at home and the phone was ringing, it stopped! But after that I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I sat on the settee, just staring at the TV, I put on my laptop, intending to write a couple of blog posts, firstly the one I posted earlier about Friday evening’s sunset and another based on a Facebook comment on the Smile letters we put up.
The laptop started up and just stood there waiting, as I just sat there staring, my mood slowly fading and I guess part despair and part panic set in, I didn’t like this feeling in the house, this feeling of being alone, something didn’t feel right at all and a mass wave of panic began to set in.
I’m not one for suffering from panic attacks as such, I’ve been in despair before, definitely, that’s where all this started and my failure to deal with it put me on a path where I was reliant on alcohol to deal with it. But this feeling of panic is something I only remember dealing with once before and that was back in March, just a week after my Nan died and I was struggling, the day after that panic attack I sat at the edge of the lake in complete and desperation, on that day I wanted to run away, I didn’t want to be seen by anyone, I simply wanted to walk into the lake, never to be seen again, I was convinced no one would miss me.
But this time is a little different, it wasn’t the same feeling I wasn’t convinced no one would miss me, I didn’t want to runaway and be alone, I was panicking because I didn’t want to be alone, I really am not looking forward to this week in the house alone, it was this panic that was running through me in waves and I sat on the settee holding my knees to my chest, just staring out into nothing.
There was nothing on the TV that really was grabbing me, I couldn’t bring myself to reach out for the keyboard and start typing, usually when I have a post in my mind I get to it at my earliest chance, today, no, it just wasn’t happening, my grasp on things was slipping.
The more I sat and stared, the more I tried to think of things to do, things to keep me occupied, the more I dismissed them, all the things that have kept me going these last 18 months seemed to be failing me. The only things left seemed to be the things I’ve done my best to walk away from over this period, that’s when the panic came over me.
When I was lost in my darkness and drinking to escape everything that was going wrong in my life, I craved the house to be empty, I didn’t want to be distracted from my nothingness, I spent my days alone indulging in whatever I wanted and it was better that nobody saw me, I wanted to be alone, I was happy to be alone. Don’t get me wrong I still loved my family, my kids and Victoria, but my addiction was a greater pull for me than they were, I loved having them in the house, but I loved my time more, it was easier to feed my addiction alone, I was hiding my ugly side, only I knew the truth, even though I was hiding that from myself too.
So now I fear being alone, I don’t want to face this week alone, I know I have so many people around me I can turn to but it doesn’t stop me coming back to this empty house, that now without the kids and Victoria has no soul, apart from the scratching of a rabbit, the life force of this home has left for a while, the life force that I have returned to everyday of this journey is missing for a while and I feel lost.
Then my mobile rang, it was Tim from Church, he asked if I was free and if I wanted to come over for tea and movie, there was only one answer to that, a resounding yes! He said he’d pick me up in 20 minutes and for me those 20 minutes couldn’t come around quick enough.
While waiting I sat again with my knees to my chest, I then paced the house, rubbing my hands, hang on, I paced the house rubbing my hands, I only ever did that when I had no alcohol in the house and I was trying to get through a night without it, the stress of the emptiness that gave me made me restless and pace like this, but I was doing it again!
I WAS GOING OUT, I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO COMPANY!
SO WHY WAS I PACING LIKE A HOPELESS ALCOHOLIC?
I honestly don’t know, all I know was I was desperate to get out the house, I was desperate to get out of my own mind, my own mind that was torturing me again, I don’t know why, I faced a similar week last year, when Eve and Victoria went to camp and Ben stopped at his Gran’s, even the rabbit wasn’t trusted to my keep last year, but back then I saw Ben during the week and I was still very much in recovery, I had just began walking and that week I walked everywhere and every night, I just got myself out of the house, but now I am so tired I don’t have it in me to walk anywhere, I am shattered and these feelings are dragging me down.
I FEAR MYSELF
It is no secret that I am not very domestic, I had a term for myself, but to keep this politically correct I shall say I am DOMESTICALLY CHALLENGED, I can put things in the microwave, but that blew up back in April and has yet to be replaced due to finances, I can put things in the oven as well, but that’s about it. Last year I learnt to use the washing machine for the first time, I think I could manage that again. I’m so lucky that despite our separation that Victoria has still been here for me, she has still cooked and cleaned for me whilst I go out to work, she may not know it and may never understand that she has been a rock for me also, there was no way I could do this living alone and there is now way I could do this living back with my Mum and Dad, people often cannot comprehend how we can continue to live to together like this, but trust me, this is easier than living under the same roof as my Mum and Dad, I think that although they understand and acknowledge my problems, I would probably struggle to stay on this sober path living with them again.
I am capable of looking after myself, that’s not the issue, I just not sure I want to get lost within my own mind, if I slip into boredom, I can easily start back down a road I really don’t want to walk again and that scares me, that all this hard work I’ve put in over the last eighteen months can be undone in just a matter of seconds, I will fight that as hard as I can, but it scares me.
I was so glad when Tim arrived, I left the house and went to wait in the street, the relief when I saw him pull up was immense. I had a good night at Tim’s we had a good chat over tea, some prayer time, a movie and a bit of competition on Tim’s game console, before I came home at 12.30am, the house was empty again, but I was tired and still buzzing, so it was easy to just go straight to bed, it was a little like coming home late and everyone being asleep anyway, so it didn’t bother me that much.
When I woke this morning it was quiet again, but I do as I do most mornings as I’m up before everyone anyway, I showered and dressed, then I came downstairs, followed my instructions, fed the rabbit, she seemed happy enough, I not sure if she always tries to eat the food before you can even get it in the bowl, but she really got stuck in, so obviously I got that bit right!
A Content Muffin
Church was good this morning, it was a little different, as many of our worship leaders are at camp or on holiday, we switched worship for breakfast, instead of rows of chairs, tables were laid out and breakfast served for everyone, something a bit different, but definitely enjoyed by everyone there.
I completed my duties on the camera and packed away the equipment and then my mind drifted back a little, now I had to go home, to the empty house alone, I put it off as long as possible, but I had to leave at sometime.
I put a post on Twitter on Saturday evening, just after Tim had called me, I guess it was a bit of cry for help, but it was truly how I felt.
“Not feeling great being home alone, struggling with myself at moment! So glad to be invited out, this weeks gonna be a hard one!”
As I left Ian spotted me, Ian is Gareth’s father in law and was Pastor at our Wellingborough campus until handing over the reigns earlier this year, he had seen my tweet and stopped to ask how I was, he said he was glad I was here, he feared I wouldn’t make it to Church, we talked for a while and he was so encouraging, he gave me his number and said I was to ring him, don’t hesitate, but to ring him if things got too much and I needed someone to talk to, believe me I will definitely take him up on that offer.
After thanking Ian for his kind offer and all his support I left to walk home, as I turned the corner and lost sight of Church I felt that first wave of despair hit me again, I was going back to this empty house, just me and my dangerous mind, it wasn’t an easy walk and when I got back and opened the door it hit me hard and I really had to fight the tears that had been close to the surface all the way home, I really wasn’t looking forward to this.
The last time I felt like this was back on Christmas Day, that time I had spent the morning at Church and the afternoon with Victoria and the kids at Victoria’s Mum’s , she had invited me for dinner and I eagerly accepted, but after that they all went to Victoria’s Gran’s and I came home to an empty house, I was alone on Christmas Day and I was in tears. Today brought back echoes of those feelings of being alone and for someone who in his past has been pretty happy with his own company, well now I am frightened by the thought of my own company, I’m okay for a few hours here and there, but being in this house alone, facing these same four walls in which I sank into the depths of addiction, really does frighten me.
These first few days are definitely going to be the worst, I was so glad Tim came to the rescue last night, but tonight I will be alone and tomorrow night also, they will be the tough ones, Tuesday I will be out teaching, Wednesday is Connect Group, Thursday I will take myself to Worship practice, Friday evening I will be at Amplified and Saturday I’ll be at a Wedding, so as long as I can get through today and tomorrow I should be okay.
I’ve had a good sleep this afternoon and to be honest I do feel a lot better for the moment, maybe the tiredness is not helping, maybe a good rest is all I need.
Whilst I’ve been typing this I’ve had Jesus Culture playing in the background, music has played a big part in my recovery process over the last 18 months, certain songs at certain times have given me the lift I need and their music has that ability for me, maybe I’ll just keep it playing in the background all night, let it keep giving me that bit of inspiration I need.
In this morning’s preach Leanne (Gareth’s wife and Ian’s daughter) quoted from Esther 4, using the phrase:
YOU WERE BORN FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Which brought to my mind a song I have listened to so much over the last few weeks, a song I put on repeat last night as I waited for Tim, a song to pick me up and remind me who I am now, I know I’ve used this song recently, but I share it again.
THE ANTHEM by JESUS CULTURE with JAKE HAMILTON
I can hear the footsteps of my King
I can hear His heartbeat beckoning
In my darkness He has set me free
And now I hear the Spirit calling me
Wake up child
It’s your time to shine
You were born for such a time as this
I can hear a holy rumbling
I’ve begun to preach another King
Loosing chains and breaking down the walls
I want to hear the Father when He calls
This is the anthem of our generation
Here we are God, shake our nation
All we need is Your love
You captivate me
I am royalty
I have destiny
I have been set free
I’m gonna shape history