Over the years I’ve detoxed a lot of things. Ice Cream. Crushes. Peanut Butter. Alcohol. Even family members.
Somewhere along the line, you just realise that the thing you love is no longer good for you. You realise that if you don’t limit it or cut it out of your life, it may control you forever.
With January upon us, I am reminded of why detoxing can help keep us from losing our direction. Whether it’s a one-week, one-month, one-year or lifetime detox, it helps us realign our priorities and take back our life.
In this thought, I am transported back to my twenties and a life I no longer recognise.
My glass is empty. I don’t need any more but I instinctively move to the fridge. There’s enough vodka left in my ASDA’s own-brand bottle for one more drink. I shake the last drips into my glass and top it up with diet Coke before moving back to the table where my friends are finishing up our poker game. It’s been a fun evening but it’s just a repeat of every Friday night.
For me, it’s an opportunity to drink more than weekdays. To numb my brain from everything. It’s socially acceptable at the weekend. No one notices or cares that I drink a small bottle of vodka to myself and then polish off any other drinks that aren’t claimed in the fridge.
Weekends are an opportunity for me to go to the depths I crave everyday but can’t because of social obligation.
I drink as much as I can. I go to bed, pass out and start the cycle again.
It’s exactly what I crave.
Weekdays are different. I wake up and go to work. My job is so stressful that I don’t have time to think about much else. On the odd moment that I pause, I am filled with the constant chatter that is waiting in my mind.
It’s Monday. I’ll get beer. It’s acceptable for a weekday.
I try to stick to 2 or 3 but it rarely happens. I convince myself every day that the alcohol I consume is acceptable and that’ I’m OK. I’m no different to anyone else.
I follow this cycle for years, convincing myself it’s not a problem. Hell, it sounds like most people’s twenties. But I don’t want to get into the messier moments. The ones where a large bottle of vodka wasn’t enough. The ones where my knuckles are left bloodied from punching walls on my walk home from a pub. The ones where I find myself alone, sitting on a curb, swaying in the cold winter night so that I can feel anything other than anger or pain. The ones where I sob into my pillow so my housemates won’t hear and confront me.
For anyone who has suffered with addiction, they know the torment that happens every hour of every day. They know that food, sleep and even people take a back seat to their addiction. They know that they are not a whole person anymore. They are just a billion fragments kept together by the thing they crave.
But somewhere along the line it has to stop. You’ll either break or you’ll keep going until the end. Luckily, I broke.
After years of abusing my body and mind, I got fed up. I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t keep it up any more. I began to take slow small steps in recovering. I never wanted to fully admit I had a problem. I still drank. I just drank less. I began to detox more than just alcohol. I stripped poisons from so many elements of my life. I got healthier. Eventually I got happier too. And finally, after years of this, I realised I no longer thought about alcohol all day every day. I no longer fuelled the addiction. I was no longer an addict.
This isn’t the way I would recommend anyone to go through addiction or any other dependancies. You don’t need to go through it on your own. You can share with someone. It doesn’t have to take years to recover. You can make change now.
My story is not an example of what to do. It is simply my story. Told to encourage those that have demons or have addictions that there is a way out. There is another life at the other end. It is a good one and it’s worth fighting for.
Hopefully you don’t have the problems I had, but maybe you flirt with boundaries. Alcohol, cigarettes, toxic relationships, not sleeping, eating unhealthy foods, not exercising, not eating, not taking time for yourself. There are so many elements of wellbeing that are neglected most of the year and for some reason, we allow ourselves to focus in on them for this one month.
So don’t let January slip by. Don’t let your life slip by. Don’t let old habits define who you’re going to be in 2021. Consider what toxins you need to shed. Consider what your life would look like in 6 months time if you don’t change. What about a year? Five years?
Now is the perfect time to value yourself and to make those changes.
These things do not control you. You are not a billion fragments like I once thought I was. You are a billion possibilities. Take charge of your life again.