I started this post in the middle of May and it was titled ‘Becoming Content”. This is what I wrote: “Lately I’ve been noticing things more – the birds singing, the colour of the leaves against the sky or close to the earth, the smell of the blossom after the rain and the sunlight casting shadows in the woods when I walk the dog. The taste of my coffee and food, the smile on someone’s face, the warmth of C when I snuggle up to him. Each day is full of these precious moments and I’m noticing them and appreciating them more fully than I think I ever have before. I’m becoming content right here right now and it’s wonderful. Simple pleasures that make up a day and ultimately a life”.
Contentment is defined as a long lasting deep feeling of satisfaction and gratitude as opposed to happiness which is more about experiencing positive thoughts and emotions which are less enduring. Attributes of contentment are satisfaction, lack of envy, humility, discipline and abhorrence of greed and corruption (https://www.kofastudy.com).
I didn’t publish or finish the post because there was a nagging sense of a lack of authenticity. Why? Because I was smoking cannabis again on a daily basis. It felt fraudulent to talk of contentment on a sobriety blog whilst using. I’d had a significant break but it had crept back in. At first just occasionally and it was fun again with seemingly none of the bad effects – my senses weren’t dulled, I wasn’t tired and lethargic but I found myself wanting it more and more. I avoided my blog and others as I knew they would increase the conflict in my mind. I was having the best of both worlds and I wanted to keep it that way. I started to avoid yoga and other spiritual nourishment too. I continued to smoke and over the next few weeks my pleasure in life dulled and discontent began to get hold. During the day I would look forward to my evening spliff, then whilst smoking I would think ‘is this all there is?’ I felt bored, apathetic and fed up with myself. My head filled with the conflict – ‘don’t smoke tomorrow, limit it to the weekends’ etc etc knowing full well that I wouldn’t. I was back in the thick of the forest of addiction. My ‘friend’ cannabis was taking more than it was giving once again. I should have known; I did know this would happen but I wanted to be able to have it all. Addiction doesn’t work like that as we all know.
This week we ran out and I’ve stopped – hopefully for good. I’ve been emotional, critical and negative. Less physical withdrawal than last time but I’ve still felt raw. I’ve thought about drinking again – seeking a replacement for the substance I’m grieving. The sense of life being futile and everything being mere distraction and therefore pointless has returned. I’ve disconnected from my soul and my true self and become absorbed in the selfish chatter of my own mind.
I had a dream the other night. I had a tiny baby and was away somewhere. I rolled a spliff and left it on the side whilst I went out. When I came back the police were at the door and of course the first thing they saw was the spliff. In the dream I thought ‘I’m going to lose everything’. The police breathalysed me and I was relieved I no longer drank alcohol. They talked to me and left with a request that I go down the station. I snuggled my baby and fed her. I think the baby represented my sobriety: a little infant that needs a lot of care and nurturing and the warning was in the one spliff – it’s a threat and you can’t have it. Not even one.
As I write this I’m strengthening my resolve and reminding myself that there is life beyond substance misuse. There are other ways to quieten ones’ mind after a day of hearing the woes of fellow humans – a major trigger for me. There doesn’t have to be an obvious point or purpose to life beyond the moment we find ourselves in. All I need to do now is focus on staying sober and allow that to take me where it will. Out of the forest and into the light.