Do I have to hit rock bottom? Can there be a soft landing? Truthfully I don’t know.
I found my relationship with alcohol bewildering and complex. It was a destructive love affair, something I would have to break off eventually. The longer I remained addicted the greater the harm to my life. Each day, little by little a small chunk of my physical and mental health would be destroyed. Minuscular pieces of me disappeared unnoticed. Away went small slivers of my relationships, possessions and then my self-respect. With each morning’s hangover came lunchtime relief and just for today the harm went unnoticed.
That place called Rock Bottom long escaped me because of my own sense of denial. It was a defence mechanism I cunningly used. I am an alcoholic and that awful, stigmatised truth was too harsh for me to truthfully face. I grew comfortably numb and my drinking grew predictable and known. The idea of leaving the cosiness of my addiction was an unattractive proposition because it involved taking a step into the unknown. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my always companion. Towards the end little by little started to gather momentum and became more and more. Even though my life was falling apart I was always able blame this on other factors.
In the final stages that momentum had gathered sufficient speed and body I found it difficult, if not impossible to stop. There I discovered my own Rock Bottom, there was my Catalyst. Finally the truth revealed itself and I was willing to seek help. Things had become so bad that it was impossible to deny my problem anymore. In my case hitting rock bottom presented itself as a particular event but I know it can also be a slow decline over time. It is a subjective term because some of us are willing to suffer a lot more in life than others.
The complexity of my relationship kept me addicted. The mellowness of love, comfort, escape, poetry and philosophy was blended into aggression and bombast. I couldn’t leave my lover on my own terms. I don’t believe anyone realistically can. I was a prisoner in a velvet cell with the door wide open. I could leave at any time but there was no escape. Outside in the harshly lit corridor Catalyst spoke. “Let me know when you want to leave, I’ll come and fetch you.” Many times I disregarded the call, I was too busy. Preoccupied with my delusional world. On that eventful night, fate collided with circumstance. Catalyst looked on with unsmiling certainty as I lay drunkenly on the floor, a loved one injured and wailing. “I am ready.” I croaked.
“Come” Catalyst stretched out his hand, “I have so much to teach you.”