Clean from Addiction: It’s been 7 Years!

I am clean from addiction for 7 years today and that is cause for celebration! I no longer ask why am I an addict, it doesn’t matter anymore.

When I first came into recovery time seemed to move so slowly and everything was a battle. But from about 2 years clean time things started moving fast and I can now hardly believe I have managed to live clean for so long.

A lot of my posts and information I will be sharing on my blog will be how to get clean and what active addiction was like for me. The purpose of this is to hopefully help others that are struggling with their addictions. Today I want to share about the gifts of recovery and the joy I have on a daily basis. Joy I could never dream of while I was still using drugs and drinking.

Using drugs and drinking was a very lonely time for me. From when I was a little girl I used to dream about meeting the one and getting married, having 2 children and my own home. I’m not sure if other little girls dream about this, but all I ever wanted was my own little family. You know, the white picket fence and all. I also wanted to run my own business.

I started drinking and using drugs from the age of 14 years old. From that time on my life went nowhere but down. I tried to block out my dreams simply because it appeared they would be impossible to reach. I got into abusive, unhealthy relationships and over time my spirit was broken. Each relationship I got into was worse than the one before. My using and drinking increased and my life was a complete mess. When I think about how my life was the song Sober by Pink comes to mind. If you haven’t heard it I suggest you do!

When I got into recovery at the age of 29 I was told that I was not allowed to get into a relationship for the first year. I was to work on myself and work the 12 Step program with my sponsor. This all sounded very boring and lonely to me. I followed all the suggested things and worked hard. Slowly but surely I learned to love myself and the need to be in a relationship disappeared. I was happy on my own.

As soon as I was happy with myself and happy to be alone what happens? Yes, Mr Right came into my life. For the first time in my life I met a man that truly cared about me and treated me properly.

Clean from addiction mr rightI always wanted to do things the “right” way. Meet a man, date for about a year and then get married. Spend a bit of time enjoying our marriage and then plan to have our children. The way “normal” people do things. Life however stepped in and decided to mix it up for me. 3 Months after meeting Mr Right I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant. I was terrified. Not only was I pregnant with a man I had only started dating but he lived 150kms away!

The difference between living in recovery and living in active addiction is that life has a way of working out, instead of everything continuously going pear-shaped.

When I was 6 months pregnant we got married and I moved towns to be with my new husband. It was a very scary time for me, but we wanted to be married and living together by the time our little girl arrived.

Clean From Addiction my first babyThe moment my daughter was born was the most incredible moment of my life. I remember looking at her for the first time and feeling almost disconnected from everything but her. The amount of love I felt at that moment was overpowering, it took over everything. That feeling beats any high from any drug.

Getting married and having a baby in such a short space of time was tough. We had only been living together for 3 months when she was born. As anyone that has children knows if you have a good, stable relationship and add a new baby it is hard and will shake even the most stable relationship. Shortly after our girl was born I got post natal depression. I found myself struggling in my new marriage, fearful of being a new mother and living in a new town where I knew nobody!

I had not been able to find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting either. There was one listed on the website for the next close town but every time I went I couldn’t find it and the number listed for that meeting didn’t work. I didn’t feel my recovery was in jeopardy and I had no urge to use but I was unhappy, scared and lonely.

When my daughter was about 6 months old the fog of PND started to lift and I realised I had been in a depression.I also got into contact with AA and found another contact person for the AA Meetings and found out where the correct meeting was. It turned out that there was a meeting in my town just a few streets away. It felt like coming home, somewhere that I can share my innermost thoughts and fears without being judged. Just great support and understanding.

Very soon I decided I wanted to start my own business, I dived in with great enthusiasm and launched Kaboutjie. An online baby store in South Africa. Yes at the time I knew nothing about working online but I was determined to learn and make it succeed. I became passionate about it and it was amazing to see it take shape. I did have a lot of fear though. In active addiction I could not succeed at anything, it seemed aeverything destroyed by my touch. I had to face my fears head-on and work hard.

It was also about this time I started becoming more comfortable as a mother. Being a new mom is without a doubt the scariest thing I have ever encountered. For her first birthday party I threw a big party for her. My husband couldn’t understand it, he said it was a waste of time and money, especially as she didn’t have a clue what was going on. Silly man, the party wasn’t for her, it was for me. I had managed to keep another being alive, healthy and happy for a full year. Me, a useless drug addict that had never been able to do anything right!

When my daughter was 15 months old we had another surprise! Yes pregnant again! I cried copious amounts because I knew now how hard being a mom was and I was scared how I would handle 2 children. I was scared how my daughter would adjust. I was scared how I would be able to run my company and bring up 2 children. I was scared I would love my daughter more than the new baby because I couldn’t understand how I would be able to feel the same amount of love for another being. Surely there is a limit to such a powerful feeling of love? Ok the pregnancy hormones probably really came into play too, but I cried buckets whatever the reasons.

Clean from addiction my beautiful sonOur son was born 19 months ago and he is the sweetest, most gorgeous boy I have ever met. The moment I saw him all my fears disappeared, I loved him just as much as my daughter. The love was just there.

I realise now that all my dreams have been fulfilled. Yes I still need to buy my own home instead of rent, and I would like to be more financially stable. I have a loving husband and my two perfect children. I have my own business. My childhood dreams are here now, they are a reality. This is my life and I never thought I would have it.

There are certain things during my day that give me so much joy that perhaps other people take for granted.

Clean from addiction rising sunThe early morning light peeping through the curtains, along with the sound of birds starting to sing in the morning. This is incredibly special for me. It marks a new day, one where I am waking up sober. I have been asleep all night, in my own bed. In active addiction I would still be awake and high from the previous night, very often in a strange place and every time I saw morning approaching I would feel a sick panic creeping in. Another day wasted, more shame and humiliation.

Yes my husband and I have disagreements from time to time, but I can even be grateful when things are at its worst between us. He has never raised his voice to me, never said any derogatory comments or raised a hand to me. He has always treated me with love and respect even when he is angry with me. When we are having one of our down moments I always remember that he is special. It is a far cry from the black eyes, broken noses and verbal abuse I received on a constant basis during my active addiction years.

Clean from addiction my kidsWatching my children laugh and play together always makes me laugh. It is a real belly laugh that comes from the heart. Not the drunken laughter in a bar with strangers.

Something that is so true is that even the worst day sober is so much better than my best day using. There is no comparison.

I thank my higher power every day for the gifts I have received, for the life I am able to live with my family. I pray for the still suffering addicts and alcoholics. I pray for the addicts and alcoholics I met during my recovery process that have died from this disease as well as for the loved ones they left behind.

Please share any thoughts you have by leaving a comment, I would love to hear from you.

 

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43 comments

  1. lb says:

    Well I think that 7 years is absolutely amazing and it is definitely a cause for celebration! Most addict/alcoholics never see 1 year. So 7 years is incredible. It is all a journey that few get to experience. So congratulations to you and the new life that you have been given.

    • Lynne says:

      Thank you! I just hope to inspire others to do the same. One thing is certain if I can do it there is hope for every addict and alcoholic 🙂

  2. JB says:

    WOW, this is a really powerful piece. I know we don’t know each other but I just want to say how proud I am of you and how much you inspire me.

    10 weeks ago I woke up in a pile of my, I assume vomit and blood, a syringe half in, or half out of my forearm, who knows if in or out. Having to use the big vein on top of my arms cos I ruined the rest and I don’t know what but I had this kind of revelation.

    I knew if I did one more slam it would be the end. I could see my life go past. Highly educated, earning hundreds of thousand pounds a year but then my life fell apart when the person I loved couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t want to be with me.

    I still don’t think it was self pity,but I lost the will to live and replaced terrible feelings with a little bit of M, then a little bit of M and g, then a slam of Tina now and again until that was £300 a day and living in a false reality.

    That day I woke up and saw the reality. I was a junkie, I’d shot up every penny I had, and what I didn’t put into my veins has been stolen by people considered mates. Now I’m broke, flat broke and trying too rebuild.

    10 weeks clean is nothing compared to 7 years, shit 7 years seems a long time, but each day at a time. Some are easy and I wonder what this fuss is about, others are terrible – today, my skin burns, i cant focus, i cant settle and everything is pushing into my skull like needles and dead weights. But I will and must keep going and you Lynne have really helped me keep my focus.

    I’m regaining me, getting back to what i always loved which will make you laugh – heath and holistic therapies! meditation and spirituality.

    Not a great role model but a firm believer and only slipped for 18 months. Long enough to destroy everything. But tomorrow is another day

    sorry rambling now

    you moved me, and its nice to feel emotion again
    THANK YOU

    • Lynne says:

      Hi JB

      I read your comment and had to go have a cigarette before replying (yes another addiction I will need to face very soon). Your post has moved me so much. 10 weeks clean is incredible and if you can do 10 weeks you can do 10 years. The beginning is really hard and rocky, but once you get through that the gifts of recovery will come fast and furious.

      So keep doing what you are doing and I hope you will keep coming back here and sharing your story too. You are also an inspiration and can make a difference to someone’s life. So please come back and ramble some more!

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

      • JB says:

        Hi Lynne,

        Thank you. I will definitely be visiting your site often, is it another crutch? I don’t care really, all I know is it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I guess i always knew it and didnt want to admit it.

        I am also now starting to think a little bit clearly, like actually wanting to get back to work. For months the idea of work seemed a concept for others and frankly would just mess up the fun life I was leading, you know not a 9-5 boring routine like most peeps.

        Now actually sleeping, having coffee and a normal routine is (u can edit this bit but its how i feel) the normality is fucking incredible and I love it

        Thanks Lynne and my best wishes with you always

        • Lynne says:

          Hi JB

          Thanks, I won’t be editing anything here 🙂

          My hopes for this website is not for it to be a “crutch” lol, rather a place where valuable information is shared and for others to get inspiration and to know you are not alone. So in that I feel I have succeeded so far.

          Kind Regards
          Lynne

          • jB says:

            You certainly have. You should be proud.
            This is so hard man, having a real wobble now. Ever have those times when a photo or a stupid bloody facebook recommended friend brings with it the memories you spent so many months not allowing to surface.and reminding you how youve pissed away life
            I hope I can do this Lynne and sorry about another comment

          • Lynne says:

            Yes JB I have been there and it is hard. I found the best for me was to actually stay away from Facebook for quite a long time. In rehab I completely shut down my Facebook profile and when I was clean a good few months I started fresh.

            Out of interest do you go to 12 Step meetings? Do you have a sponsor? I go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting once a week and have a sponsor too. It makes such a difference and I am not alone. I am about to start a Narcotics Meeting in the area, there is no Narcotics Anonymous anywhere close (closest NA meeting about 150kms away).

            Kind Regards
            Lynne

  3. Loes says:

    Hello Lynne, thank you for sharing a bit of your life. I am so glad you found the piece you where longing for. You have gone through a lot. That you have won from the addiction tells me you are a strong woman! Enjoy for the fullest, the years which are to come. Time flies! My oldest daughter will become 35 next month. I wish you so much happyness! Greetings Loes

    • Lynne says:

      Thank you! I am sure I will blink and my daughter will be 35. Time is flying and I need to remember to enjoy every moment 🙂

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  4. Marc says:

    Lynne

    I can tell from your posts what a strong woman you are and truly respect you for what you have grown to be.

    Your story is inspiring and proof that it is possible to change ones circumstances… No matter how bad it may seem. (We all have our little “daemons” in one way or another that eventually need to be faced)

    It is always a huge help to have support from loved ones, but ultimately, the outcome is in ones own hands.

    You mentioned your online business, if you don’t mind me asking, is this currently a source of income for you?

    Why I ask is that I have a Facebook Group that has people coming from challenging backgrounds searching for sources of online income. I would like to, with your permission share this post on the group to hopefully help motivate people in similar/ challenging situations.

    It is so often that people give up on there dreams and it is stories like yours that often help to motivate them NOT to give up.

    Let me know?

    Well done on all of your accomplishments and an awesome website!

    Cheers,

    Marc

    PS. Beautiful Children 🙂 My Daughter is 2 in November… It’s been a tough ride getting to where we are with my loving girlfriend… And it is only going to get more tough before the storm breaks. There is always light on the other side though 🙂

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Marc

      Thanks for visiting. Yes please share my post! I would love to reach as many people as possible 🙂 I currently have 4 websites and I am earning from 2 of them, 2 of my websites are very new so not earning yet but I will be very soon.

      My son turns 2 in December and it does get easier. Starting a family has been the most rewarding experience ever, but not always an easy road as you must know.

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi – congratulations on being clean for 7 years – that’s really something! Your blog is so beautifully written – I found myself pulled into your every word!

    Your family are truly beautiful – and you have a lot to be proud of! I am not an addict myself or even a recovering addict. But I stumbled on your site and couldn’t stop reading! I think there is something for everyone to learn from your words though – to remind each and every one of us that we are special and deserving of the best life has to give!

    I hope that you help many people to recover in the same way you have!

    Thank you for opening up with us and sharing!

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Sarah

      Thank you for visiting. I am so glad you enjoyed my post 🙂

      I think all of us have the ability to change our lives for the better, whether we are an addict or not. Everyone has problems and character defects, facing them and changing them truly is a wonderful experience.

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  6. Neva says:

    First I would like to say Congratulations! =) I’m working on year five myself… Kudos to you for sharing your story, because I understand the struggles that go with addictions. I’m sure you will reach and touch many hearts, and help them make it through another day! Congrats again, and all the best to you! =)

    • Lynne says:

      Thanks Neva! And congrats on your clean, that is wonderful. I am so glad you shared that, it will inspire more people to get the help they need and turn their lives around.

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  7. Fiona says:

    Thanks for that beautiful share Lynne, it’s so well written. Congratulations! Only another addict can’t really know what this has been like for you. I am 11 years sober and my motto is “boring is GOOD”, haha!
    So happy for you and your family. Best wishes, Fiona.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Fiona

      Congrats on your 11 years of sobriety, that is awesome! Yes who knew boring could be so amazing!

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  8. Francina says:

    Your are an inspiration. I like the fact that you do not pretend that it is hard but doable. And to think that most addicts fall back a lot of times during their journey to stay sober I admire your strength and perseverance. Love your article

    • Lynne says:

      Thanks Francina 🙂

      The journey is not always easy, but all the hard work is worth it. The truth is that if addicts and alcoholics commit to being in recovery and decide to put just 10% of the amount of effort into recovery as they did into their using they will succeed and do well. It is amazing how much time, effort and energy goes into using and drinking!

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  9. Emily says:

    hi Lynne!
    CONGRATS! This brought tears to my eyes. I have friends in different stages of recovery and have been in relationships with people in active addictions. I have attended Nar anon and it literally saved my life back then. I know how addiction is hard and recovery maybe even harder. I am a mental health clinician and I used to think that because I knew about it from books, I knew about it. Nope. Until you actually have it in your personal life, you cannot understand addiction. The absolute craziness that comes with it. I am glad I ended that rel as the person was not ready for recovery. But I command you for doing it, for maintaining your sobriety in tough times and having the life that yes every little girl dreams of 🙂

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Emily

      Thanks for visiting. That is something I really want to also write about: addiction and the family. It is amazing how many loved ones of the addict don’t want to go to support meetings. It really is a family disease and very often the family are as sick as the addict. The family members often try and help the addict, but because of codependent behaviours often just help keep the addict sick. The intentions are good but the results are not. Tough love is the way to go and it is not easy.
      Well done for looking after yourself.

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  10. Guy says:

    Hy Lynne congratulation for your 7 years… I’ve been celebrating a few years myself — free of booze and other stuff — last Friday…Love your website. I think it was a great idea of doing it…

    • Lynne says:

      Thanks Guy, and well done on your clean tim 🙂
      I am so glad you are enjoying my website. It is something I have been wanting to do for a while now.

      Kind regards
      Lynne

  11. Raphael says:

    Congratulations on 7 years! I know it’s been said a lot here, but that is quite an accomplishment. I know you have been through a lot, but to find ways to cope brings hope for those who struggle getting clean. Thank you for your passion. I have a very candid resource to share with others now.

  12. Laurine says:

    What an incredible journey you have walked Lynne. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it will inspire and help others. I have loved ones who will benefit from your post. Thank you again for sharing your journey.

    • Lynne says:

      It is a pleasure Laurine. I hope to write many more posts that will help others understand about addiction and how they can recover.

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  13. Laura says:

    Hi Lynn

    It’s a privilege to know you. I’m sure all the other comments here say the same.

    We all suffer in a way or another. And we usually get caught in smaller things, that appear huge at that moment. You are an example for all people, no matter their condition.
    Too bad we have to go through hell, to see the beauty of a sunrise one day. I’m sure no one can appreciate it more than you do.

    I also thank the higher power for what it did for you. But while we all have its help, only You managed to see it, accept it and take it.

    You have wonderful children. I’m sure they will be raised differently than you were. 🙂

    Never forget that things continually change and that we should never take anything for granted. Nothing that we have, good or bad, comes just like that, for no reason.

    It’s a very good thing to write here about your life and to offer your help for others in need.

    Once again, my hat off to you! I wish one day you stop thinking of what you had to suffer, stop working even at this site and only enjoy life as you dreamed of, when you were a child.
    Let that time of your life be only a nightmare that you let go and forgot about it.

    Of course you can! I don’t believe there is something you cannot do! It’s a matter of choice. And you’ve already learned that.

    Laura

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Laura
      Thank you for your beautiful message!
      The trick about stopping thinking about where I was and what happened in my life is that I will forget what it was like. It is at this moment that I will be at risk of relapse. I don’t dwell on it, but I cannot shut the door on it. I must always remember I am an addict. It is when I forget that I could relapse. And that is not an option for me.
      I also want to help others. To be honest this website is therapeutic for me. I enjoy sharing and the belief that I can help someone else get clean by doing this makes it exciting and fun.
      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  14. Drew Django says:

    Your recovery story is an inspiring story for all who struggle with addiction. It seems like all the sudden changes played a significant role in your recovery. With faith, you overcame and with perseverance you succeeded.

    • Lynne says:

      Thanks Drew! My goal is simply to reach others and hope that they can find the inspiration to change their lives for the better.

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  15. Brooke M. says:

    Hi, Lynne! What a story. While I myself have never struggled with drug or alcohol addiction, I, like you, have suffered addiction. My life fell out of control when I was only seven years old because my dad had abandoned our family for another woman on the day of my seventh birthday. I was lost, I was hurt, confused, angry, sad… I felt everything all at once, and had no way to cope with it.

    As the years wore on, I had found something that distracted me from those feelings, something that made me feel happy, untouchable, and it was this all around euphoric feeling. I had become addicted to my computer. I would spend several days at a time in front of it, barely even getting up to shower, sleep, eat… I was honestly wasting away.

    I would leave my computer for school, work, etc. and I would feel the withdrawal symptoms. I would cry, I would get angry, I would lash out. All I could think about was spending all of my time at my computer because it made me feel good.

    My dad abandoning me left me with a never-ending hunger for male attention. I wasn’t a whore, but I was the girl who was never single, and was constantly in abusive relationships, like you were, and it only made me feel further hated and undeserving of love–my goals, like yours, feeling out of reach.

    It took me until I was 21 years old to finally feel real love. To finally be able to tell someone about all of these problems. Today I can go away from my computer and not think about it. I can stand up for myself, and I know I deserve good things. I can accomplish my goals, and like you, I will with time and hard work.

    Your story is like so many others, but different in that you took hold of your life and your destiny, and you sought help. You’re a survivor. You are strong. You are brave. And above all, you DESERVE happiness. I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Brooke

      I am so glad you can relate to my story. It is by not feeling so alone that we can find the strength and courage to reach out and touch the lives of others.

      I am so sorry you had to experience such a traumatic event on your 7th birthday. I am sure that has left deep scars that you have had to deal with. It is a great sign that you can see how that affected your life and relationships. This understanding will help you to make changes to yourself and help you to heal. It is amazing how much of an impact a girl’s father plays in her life and the way she has relationships in the future.

      I am glad you have found love, and even more importantly self-love.

      Thank you for visiting, I have enjoyed reading all your comments and seeing the similarities in our lives!

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  16. Kate says:

    What a truly inspirational story. Although I have never experienced an addiction, I think that what’s also an important message to take from your post is that sometimes life just gets in the way and you lose sight of who you are. I think a lot of people can relate to that, and how important it is to reconnect with yourself and to understand yourself. Well done!

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Kate

      Thanks for visiting and for sharing your views. I totally agree, so many people lose sight of themselves. I would recommend the 12 step program to anyone that is struggling in life. It helps to better yourself and to love yourself.

      Kind Regards
      Lynne

  17. Julie says:

    I am always so proud of you! You are one of the most amazing woman I have been lucky enough to know. Well done my friend

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