The moment I understood that I had transcended recovery and could articulate it properly was an interesting one. It was over 2 years into my recovery at this point and I had completed some training to become the facilitator of the SMART (Self Management And Recovery Training) Recovery group that I had been a part of. I had shared weekly with people, all that I had been through with a focus on how to get through the next week. It got to the point where I wasn’t concerned about myself slipping backwards, but I felt a strong sense of showing up each week for new people that might come along that they would feel welcomed and understood.
It was time for me to explore further this calling to help others. I completed training to be a speaker for the Gambling Impact Society and worked to try and be a voice where I felt there was none. During my years of struggle if someone was on TV or in the news re gambling, their face would be blurred or they would be disguised or totally ashamed. This was a huge barrier to cross over, as I started to feel nervous and afraid of what others would think if I took this public step forward.
So for months I was carrying out work in trying to help others but from the safety of no one really knowing about it in my world besides my family and a few close friends. Then one day it hit me. Everyone I actually care about knows what I am doing and the positive impact it’s having on others lives and so why am I afraid of what random people think?
So I stepped out, out of the final shackle of fear and I was embraced, but even if I hadn’t been it would have still been worth it because the amount of good that has come from it. People walking away from encountering with the truth about struggle, changed, shifted, hopeful. Reminded of our humanness in this plastic world.
What I was unaware of at the time was that I was still trying to make sense of what it all meant for me. I had been prompted to be very public about my struggle because I wasn’t owned by it any longer but I was trying to exist in a world and an environment that some people did overcome their issues but they were the exception, not the rule, so I would be constantly managed like I was fragile and could be broken at any moment. “How is your recovery going?” all the time.
I felt like nothing I said would be enough to justify how I was truly feeling. I felt whole. I felt restored, but more than that because I was conscious and intentional in my life and I hadn’t been that way for 15 years.
This point had come in my life because I was free of shame, had restored my self esteem, had become incredibly reflective and self aware and was practicing daily self care.
This wasn’t a fluke and it wasn’t luck, I had used bits and pieces of all the therapies and influences on my life. I had implemented change that made sense to me on two grounds, it had to be achievable and sustainable.
It was something I had brought in from my mothering, don’t start something that you don’t want to continue. Like don’t rock your baby to sleep every night if you don’t want to do it every night until they are three. If that IS what you want to do then go ahead, they are choices each parent has to make.
I had wanted to do daily self care but I couldn’t guarantee a time each day and I didn’t want it to impact on the children or my husband, so I thought outside the box and wake up 1 hour before everyone wake up and that is my time.
I just realised something important then about the beginning of my addiction. My brother sat me down when I was 13 and said “Kate, just don’t take drugs! Promise me you won’t do it, when have you ever known of someone’s life that was better when they became a drug addict, so just don’t do it!”
That made total sense to me and to this day I have never gone near them. Yet when I sat down for the first time in front of a pokie at 17, 18 I had no clue that they were dangerous, that they were as addictive as cocaine. The manufacturers and industry and government did, but no one said a thing.
There are many seemingly benign products and influences on our modern world and they are having a devastating impact on families, society and the mental well being of millions. We can become Awake and aware of what we are leaving behind and repair society and thrive as a culture of inclusion and acceptance is adopted.
Restore hope and kindness follows