I returned to the cabin on the 12th of August 2013 after completing 6 weeks of treatment earlier in January. I had relapsed and I knew I had to give it another shot as I had lived in sobriety previously and wanted that life back.
This time I completed 4 weeks of primary treatment followed by another 5 weeks in sober living before finding a sponsor in Chiang Mai and started working the Steps. I did at least 90 meetings in 90 days – although it may have been more but I was not counting. The meetings were my support and when I needed the support they were there. Many of my new friends were developed in this period and still are my friends today. This early period I saw as my foundation to my recovery. Like building a house – if you don’t have a strong foundation, the house will not stand.
I work as a musician so my early recovery was challenged with performing commitments. This was a tricky period as the lure of drugs and alcohol was around me. However, I had my sponsor and my friends and even though they lived on the other side of the globe, were still only a phone call away. I was tempted at one stage and broke out in a sweat but one piece of advice got me through from a member in the room who was also a musician. He said “just pray” when times get tough. Being an atheist I was skeptical about doing this but I was willing to go to any lengths so I prayed and it worked. The feelings disappeared. I called my friends also who gave me the belief and emotional support I needed.
Before long I decided to return home. I saw my counsellor, went to meetings and different support groups, did service work volunteering with the homeless, participated in sports and went back to study. I returned to work that I enjoyed which was teaching music .I performed more shows and the more I did the easier it got. Playing sober really is the best feeling in the world and now I see many paradoxes in how I used to think compared to how I think now. The greatest mantra said to me was “the paradox of change is that when I change the people around me change” meaning my past does not dictate who I am and where I want to go and people will accept me for who I am today.
Life has thrown some challenges at me in recovery. It is not always easy but it’s nowhere near as hard as it used to be. I’m just shy of 12 months now but I know I am not cured. There is no finish line but it is a lifestyle that brings huge rewards if I continue to do the right things and always see what part I have to play in events in my life. Thoughts have crossed my mind from time to time but I see how much better I deal with life’s challenges as opposed to how I used to.
Recovery has brought a new and healthy perspective on life. My relationships have improved –people respect me, I enjoy learning and I get the greatest joy out of the small things in life.