I remember the moment, when the moment came as a feeling that I was done yet I waited one more week before I checked myself into Detox. That was one of the scariest feelings I’ve ever had to go through, sitting down with the clinician with only a back pack of my stuff, feeling broke and hard done by “How the fu*ck did I get myself here.” I would only spend 4 days in there and thank goodness they had sleeping pills because I would’ve never been able to get to sleep. When I walked in the actual room where others like me would be staying, my anxiety rose and nervousness set in. I kept thinking to myself over and over again what led me to this point in my life. I felt like I was such a disappointment to anyone I ever knew and everyone I ever met. I had a battle going on in myself that I couldn’t shake and the thought that I should just walk away from everything so no one would ever have to worry about me again. That’s what I did, I put the people that loved and cared about me through horrendous sh*t and made them worry about me. I don’t think about that anymore but I do remember cause it keeps me grounded and it keeps me accountable for what I will not do anymore. I met some people in detox that I still talk to and they’ve relapsed and I pray for them cause I know it’s not their fault, they’re sick and they’re just numbing the pain so they don’t have to feel anymore…. until the next day or the next hit and they do it all over again. I sympathize for them cause they don’t know any other way and I seen it in their faces in detox and when I lived at the mens shelter in Prince George.
In the mornings I would go for porridge and coffee at St Vincent on 2nd Ave lining up with everyone that lived near or on the street while “Normal” people of society would drive by on their way to work and think we were defects of life that should get our sh*t together so we wouldn’t litter the down town or take away from Prince George. I would eat my breakfast and drink my coffee when I finally got in after the line up that usually took 10-15 mins and watch everyone around me who were still high or drunk or coming down from a high with hurt in their eyes checking over their shoulders over and over again like a dog that’s been beaten one too many times. It was hard but I ended up staying in that area at the shelter for 5 months while I started to put myself back together little by little. It took everything that I had to stay sober while I unintentionally put myself in front of everyone else’s addiction. All I had to do was walk out that front door from the shelter and I was smack dab in the middle of it. People were shooting heroine across and just up the street. Others were drinking beside the building in the ally way. People all around were hustling and stealing to find and get their next fix. All of them looked lost, they were trying to find their serenity in all this chaos they were in. I knew what was happening all around me and I knew I didn’t want to end up like them cause even though I was a disappointment to everyone in my life, I didn’t want to dig myself further.
I started by getting into a routine, up early in the morning to watch the news so I could watch others problems rather than deal with my own, then I went to St. Vincent De Paul Society for breakfast until the library opened up where again I could watch people than deal with my own, I went to the library till lunch cause that’s where “normal” people were right? to read books and surf the net but I seen a lot of the downtown hero’s among everyone else trying to blend in. I did everything else that I could think of that would’ve been normal to stay sober, so walking, visiting, Dr appointments, counseling appointments, seeing the few people I considered friends around the shelter and just hung around with them if they weren’t drinking or using, seeing the few family members I thought would only talk to me in PG for the time being and Wellbriety’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays for meetings. My routine was basic and straight forward because it was only doing things to keep me from drinking and as the days went by they got easier. People were encouraging towards me and family members were OK by my presence, I wasn’t falling around drunk all the time or sneaking a drink here and there anymore, in short I was tolerable and I was getting back to being Nathan.
I do recall feeling a change in my sobriety when I managed to reach 3 months finally and the only way I could explain it is by being in a relationship with my recovery. There was a shift from struggling day to day and having to be aware about my mind at all times to being in a long terms relationship with recovery, so I was getting comfortable with the idea that I could look ahead further into the future without overwhelming myself and causing myself anxiety. I felt safe to start telling people around me that I had quit drinking and I had some time behind me, I became more open to the concept around this lifestyle I was pursuing and I was making “healthy” friends. Relationships that didn’t involve around drinking or me watching them using. That shift was a turning point and I was aware, where I haven’t realize anything like that before and it was a good feeling.
Those were the hardest days in the beginning where I had to be vigilant and aware about my surroundings, thoughts and actions because a lot could’ve taken me out in those early days. I am grateful for all the help from those around me and people believed in me when I couldn’t even believe in myself cause in no way I could’ve done alone. I am grateful for the struggles I had to go through cause they are the foundation that set me up to find something in me that I didn’t know I had in me all along. I’m still a newbie in recovery compared to the people I see everyday now but I’m grateful that I have time behind me and I can start to be of service to others that may need a little help in their journey. I always tell people that if they are serious about quitting themselves they will have to do the grunt work, they will have to find their support team, they will have to be vigilant and aware about themselves all the time and they will have to do it for themselves, that is key right there cause if not, they are wasting everyone’s time. That’s just the simple truth.