I sometimes find myself looking around me here in Cape Town. I am truly blessed to live in probably one of the coolest and most beautiful cities in the world. The scenery is breathtaking and the beach is always just minutes away. Being a massive food lover, I've also never been to a place where the variety and quality of food has been even close. I also have the added pleasure now of having a healthy relationship without the shame and secrecy that was ever present before. It comes with the territory of being an alcoholic, something you never want to admit your weakness to yourself let alone someone who trusts you and loves you. It's been nice to be upfront this time, to say 'this is who I am, an alcoholic in recovery', a person who has damaged and been damaged by his disease but is a stronger person because of it. That honesty was refreshing in this new relationship and has set a solid grounding, something that was lacking before because of the nature of the millstone that was permanently hanging around my neck, destroying my life and the lives of everyone I got close to. Let's get back to Cape Town and the people. They're a diverse bunch, culturally very different to one another yet somehow, despite the natural distrust that the apartheid era still leaves in it's wake, they co exist. Mostly because they have to but even that makes for an interesting mix of political views and opinions which, to me, is better than boring! When I look around, usually in a place of extreme gratitude, I wonder how some of these people exist or are motivated but then I realise that most of them are motivated by Hope. Hope that however bad things are now, the day will come when things will be better, what more motivation to carry on living does someone need? I've not always been bubbly and positive and that just makes me appreciate my current situation even more.
When I got divorced, I was in a dark dark place, a place that I never want to be anywhere near again. I remember that, having just come over here to Cape Town to address my alcoholism was enough, so I wasn't planning for what came in the first few weeks of being here. I got news from back home in England that my wife, who claimed that she was right behind my decision to focus on my recovery prior to me leaving the UK, was divorcing me whilst I was here, followed by the news that my father had been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. The days and months following were so difficult that even thinking about following simple instructions about my recovery was just impossible. The advice would go over my head and after a brief trip home to see my Dad for the final time and attend his funeral, I flew back to try to continue my recovery. It was impossible as every waking moment was filled with thoughts of losing two people who literally meant the world to me in a short space of time. I couldn't breath sometimes because of the mental anguish and to focus at all, let alone focus on not doing the one thing that would take this constant pain away, albeit temporarily, was impossible. I couldn't find the positives in anything as there were none, I didn't want to live so why would I be concerned about not drinking. I made the conscious choice, weighing up the pro's and con's which didn't really matter anyway in the circumstances as I just wanted to not think at all and dodge the pain a little, to drink, so I did. It ended badly as it always does but it got me through that time when nothing else could have changed the situation for the better. This is why I never want to go back there because drinking for me is never an option and to be so alone and void of Hope that it was scares me still. I think it's good not to forget those times though. As far as the ex wife goes, I haven't had any contact for well over 18 months, I sent a Christmas card to her family the Christmas before last in order to try to be nice but was hugely rebuked with lame but hurtful threats of legal action which were never going to happen but at least it gave me the push I needed to back off and realise that it was just a chapter in my life and I'm better off without people who resent me. It took me a while to understand that it wasn't me, it was their shit. That made it easier somehow. Resentment is a killer and it's only through working on myself that I have let all of mine go, it's refreshing to talk openly about these things now I have my life back and am better for that. I did try to look into how the divorce happened, examining my behavior before and after and though it was awful at times, I am at peace with the fact that the disease took me to those places and although I have to accept responsibility for the hurt my actions and words caused, I can now live with the fact that it's not the true me. Sobriety has taken me full circle from blaming myself for absolutely everything to seeing that in most situations there is a grey area, very little is black and white in life. I was to blame for the breakdown of the marriage in the most part but some of the blame was and still is with her. I'll say no more, she knows the truth and maybe one or two of her close friends, I wrote a whole chapter on this stuff but it doesn't need to be said, it would only serve to make me look like there are still things that are unresolved and that would be untrue. I was never given closure and many people have said I should have pushed for some kind of reasoning but it wouldn't have achieved anything, the damage was done. I've created my own closure now by moving on and no longer craving something in way of an explanation. The reality is she left me for somebody else, somebody convenient and somebody who didn't have the disease of addiction. Fair play, I genuinely wish her well.
Hope is the key and coming from a place of no hope has helped me get my life into perspective, to a place where hope is everywhere, nothing is out of reach anymore. I don't want miracles anymore, I don't crave the impossible. I have what I need and I'm enjoying sharing that with someone who sees past the bullshit and loves simply me. I don't want to go on about it but ,following my recent stabbing incident where my life was very nearly taken away from me, I don't fear anything and nothing really fazes me anymore. I'm just grateful to be living in a beautiful place with beautiful people and anything else is a bonus. Oh yes, and the majority of my gratitude is reserved for the simple fact that today I am the alcoholfreeme.com