Growing up in a big city like Delhi, I had all the possible advantages-a good family, private school education and money for socializing and buying anything and everything I liked. But little did I know that my alcoholism would leave me with nothing. The disease cost me my job, car and house. But those are just material things. The real defeat was the loss of my dignity, self-esteem and my loving partner and our child.
I can’t even count the number of times that I have been in detox, in a medical emergency or on the roads. My alcoholism was not easy to understand. I wasn’t just a regular binge drinker. My body gave me messages; it said that without alcohol, I would die. And what makes me sadder is that my family, my parents, wife and kid, had to struggle with me. They were always on the edge, waiting for that call from the police or the hospital and hearing that either I had drunk a little too much, fought with someone, injured myself or died.
In the early days, when I had just started drinking, alcohol became a good source of stress-relief and comfort for me. The soothing effects of the liquid in the bottle were quite enticing. But it didn’t take long for me to fall into a dangerous pattern as my craving for alcohol kept growing. To put it simply, I was no longer consuming alcohol, it was consuming me.
Getting into Rehab: The Start of my Recovery Journey
Before being directed to a proper rehabilitation facility, I tried all kinds of tricks and techniques to abstain from alcohol on my own. I needed to do this to get my life back on track and to win the love and support of my family. Sadly, nothing worked. I had continued relapses and finally came to the conclusion that I couldn’t do it on my own. It wasn’t just a habit that I had to let go off. It was a disease, which was not as easy to manage as I’d thought.
It was one of those days that I was leaving a hospital after a round of detox and a new doctor, one that I had never seen before, suggested visiting a place that helped addicts to recover in a non-judgmental, safe environment. They had this place called as “The Hangout”, where I could visit without really taking an appointment with a doctor or a counsellor.
I visited the place and sat there talking to a few others like myself, over a few cups of green tea. I remember entering the place quite hesitantly. But the relaxing and soothing feel of the place itself calmed me down. People there were friendly and didn’t look down upon me, even after knowing that I was an alcoholic.
Meetings and Therapy Healed Me
At this place, I was given a detailed plan under Alcohol Deaddiction program. I understood that the important goals of this program were to overcome my alcohol addiction problem through safe and effective methods and sustain the alcohol-free state through counselling.
I was introduced to something known as the ‘AA’ or ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step Recovery Program. Under this program, meetings were held regularly at the facility. I was encouraged to attend these meetings and like everything else, I was resistant at first. I was fearful because it was hard to see myself sitting in a room full of alcoholics.
Today I can confidently say that the meetings were one of the most significant contributors to my recovery and personal growth. In these rooms, I realized that everyone is facing similar hurts and challenges, regardless of their family backgrounds, socio-economic statuses and religions. I started loving and cherished my time at these meetings. In fact, I would crave them like I once craved alcohol.
While AA meetings helped me come to terms with my disease and made me realize that I was not alone fighting this addiction, the major part of my recovery and healing happened with counselling and therapy.
Attending personal counselling sessions, gave me the opportunity to focus on core issues, not just the symptoms of my disease. I could relate to my peer recovery coach so well that I spoke with him about my deepest innermost fears and questions. I could not just solve the problem at hand, which was my alcoholism, but also the underlying cause of alcoholism.
Alcoholism is a disease, not a habit. And instead of judging the person suffering, if there are more places like Reboot Wellness, where people like me are welcomed with a warm smile and proper line of treatment, this menace can be handled very well, with no stigma or taboo attached.
This blog is written by Mira (name changed) on behalf of an alcoholic in recovery at Reboot Wellness. Mira observes and engages with people visiting Reboot Wellness.