“The hardest part about relapse is the loss of hope. It’s like there’s a voice in your head telling you that you can do it, but your body just won’t obey”
These words came with the saddest smile I have ever seen, as if all of this had become a routine for her.
“Would you like to tell me how it started?”, I asked cautiously. “Or does it trigger something?”
“No, no, that’s the part I’ve successfully cured. There are no episodes or craving when I talk about that at least.” She pauses and gazes up, trying to recollect her story. “I think my alcoholism, just like every other addiction, was the effect of a traumatic childhood. This is the most common source of addiction in our AA meetings, the root cause behind this deadly habit.”
I nod and eye my surroundings carefully. She picked this place. Neutral coffee shop, quiet ambience and warm colour palette of the wallpaper. “It helps with the emotional resistance against the craving”, she says smiling again. “Comfortable places give you some stability”. She is a beautiful woman; 40, but hardly looking that age. Her face looks tired, as if it has aged the most and the rest of the body is still catching up.
“Addiction to alcohol starts very slowly, it’s hard to understand the difference between liking to drink and needing to drink. It’s like a tiny cloud in your mind, casting a shadow on everything till you give it what you want. Most of us think that drinking regularly won’t make us addicts and it’s true, it usually doesn’t. However, it’s the amount of alcohol you consume. Or the frequency of it. Everyone has a different tendency to start depending on the substance, and before you know it, you’re relying on it for the smallest of things.”
“How bad does it get?”, I ask her while sipping on my coffee.
“The symptoms are pretty visible once you identify yourself as an addict. The restlessness, the temper spikes and losing track of time and thought is pretty common. You start thinking about having it the moment you wake up; you start justifying everything you do for getting drunk. For me, I went to the extent of blocking out my family and friends because they brought awareness with them. See, I think that’s the hardest part before the realisation sets in- what if they’re right? You’ll do anything to convince yourself that they aren’t. Funnily, you’ll resort to intoxication to convince or to simply distract yourself.”
“Where are you right now with it? Is it easier now?”
“Yes, I’m much better. Mentally, the most. I’ve started to work out, meditating and simply talking is clearing up that… cloud”. The smile is back. “The meetings help, as you can guess. Understanding someone else’s problem through communication gives me an insight into my own alcoholism. We give each other hope.”
“Thank you”, I say to her. I really mean it.
“Just tell everyone who will read this that they’re stronger than they think. There is no problem they can’t solve as long as they are ready to accept it.”
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