Category Archives: addiction

Addiction,Recovery, Relapse

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Addiction, recovery, relapse; it’s a loop which grips you like a noose. That first step to recovery is painful and frightening. Many addicts are in two minds about it when they take the first step, so it comes to nothing; in no time they are back on the street scoring. It’s claimed that you have to hit rock bottom before you’re ready for recovery, but rock bottom can be an awfully long way down, with untold dangers on the way.

It’s unusual for an addict to go into permanent recovery at the first attempt. They often get into that familiar pattern: addiction, recovery, relapse, addiction, recovery, relapse. This is traumatising for everyone who cares. Each time the addict relapses they are at high risk of overdose, as their tolerance for the drug has gone down. Family and friends often give up on the addict, but they need to know that with every attempt, there is more chance of success, just as every time a learner driver takes a driving test, they are more likely to pass.

So, addiction, recovery, relapse is a loop which grips you like a noose, but a noose can be untied. The circle can be broken, placing the addict in permanent recovery, though only time can tell if this has occurred.

Addicts get clean every day, and stay clean for the rest of their lives. Some of them go on to work tirelessly to support other addicts through recovery, though their hearts may be torn over and over again. I have great admiration for all recovering addicts.

Today, I pay tribute to recovered addicts everywhere; in particular, two brave young women who will remain nameless (it’s enough that they know who they are); a local man called Jimmy, who has become an inspiration to many in this town; Adam, at the Bideford Lighthouse project, and, of course, my daughter Laura.

I live in hope that I may add my son’s name to this list at some point.

With Grateful thanks to Sumyanna, whose thoughtful suggestion has given me new hope, and who may be pleased to learn that she inspired this post.

The Daily Post #Loop

©Jane Paterson Basil

Roseate

…………………………..I count the days,
……………each night keeping track of the remainder,
…….like a child subtracting each sleep, awaiting
..the thrill of waking on Christmas day,
and yet…
and yet her arrival
 .is like the delivery of an unlikely gift,
..  .one that I expected to be a lipstick in an excruciating shade of pink,
……   .sent by a dotty aunt; or a vase that has been shattered in transit,
…………   .but turns out to be the book that I was longing for,
……………….even though, until I held it in my hand,
…………………I hadn’t known of its existence..As I unwrap the packaging
…………………..I sense…
………………….I sense that it holds a key —
……………….or more than that, it is a key —
………….]which will unlock a lifetime of doors,
…………each one containing a new secret to happiness.
………..This book has a life of its own,
………..and it does not renage on its promise.

…………….She arrives, delivered
…………….. ….by her rugged protector. As I hold my risen girl, her smile
………………………reminds me: the dotty aunt has been banished.
………………………..Her shocking jokes of cosmetic horror and broken glass
………………………..lie buried beneath my daughter’s safe castle.
…………………. …Each visit…
…………………each visit is like a revelation;
……………she is well. She speaks flowers, and when she goes
…………my words sit upon the petals of happiness that she has scattered.
………..I gradually gather them up, until I have enough
…………to describe my gratitude and love.

……………..I write…
…………………I write of her rehabilitation.
…………………..My roseate words and phrases
………………….fall fragrantly upon the page,
…………….echoing feminine grace.

..rose-stem

The Daily Post #Revelation

©Jane Paterson Basil

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When you reach the apex

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I used to watch you clucking your skewed way toward routine danger –
two brutal daily stabs if the cash could be accrued —
felt like crying, yet ate up the sight of you,
hungry for a clue that something had changed.

I waited for a glance, maybe a wave —
but, blind to these stale-lemonade eyes that filtered rainbows from my life,
you strode toward a spiral destiny, as if hell-bent,
your sagging clothes a locomotion of holes,
displaying scraped parchment, stretched thin over sharp bones.

Was that really you, and was it so recent?
Seems no more than a bad dream
that left me weeping,
long, long ago.

The streets hold no echo of your desperate trips.
Shamed alleys contain no ghost of your guilty visits;
so brief and so frequent, with whispered exchange…
and though I hanker to see your face,
I am glad you are safe, and far out of range.

Each moment spent with you feeds  into my memory;
I soak up your words, to keep ’til I see you again.
They murmer as I go to sleep, raise me as I wake,
speak to me in the silence of work, and aid sweet meditation.

Your very being gleams as you speak of where you have been,
what you have seen, done, will do, and will become,
days became weeks, soon to be months, each one noble and clean.
My heart rises as you share your love of life,
and meets yours when you say you love me.

You have burnt the empty coffin of an abandoned destiny,
kicked away the ashes, that they may nourish healthy seed,
thrown away all you don’t need, embraced wise selectivity,
and set your spirit free.

May the hills you climb rise gently to welcome each brave step,
and when you reach the apex, may you gaze upon a calm sea.

xxx

©Jane Paterson Basil

My Reprieve

flowers_two

Lost in a mire
for half their lives and more,
two children, their maturity halted by addiction…

…and I could point my finger at causes,
or take the blame upon myself.
I could break down in shame and remorse,
but the past would remain the same.

I could try to turn back time
and change the way their lives became;
as if I may find relief in the madness
of that aspect of grief.

I could do all these things and more;
these sad practices I acted out a thousand times before,
but they relieved me of my feeble susceptibility,
when they exchanged lies and deceit for honest fight.
Each day they draw clean swords, and slash at their demons,
and with each clash the demons get weaker.

They are retrieving their lives,
thereby returning mine to me,
and so I say, with gratitude and pride,
Thank you for all you have achieved.
Thank you for the reprieve.

A tribute to my two younger children, Laura and Paul.

The Daily Post #Reprieve

©Jane Paterson Basil

New Horizons

ship unmoored.jpg

Built well,
but not yet strong enough
to take the heartless weight of dark cargo
dumped deep in her unready  hold,
the beautiful boat became unmoored
from the harbour of her home.

Her anchor slipped through shifting sands
as the ship’s sails were buffeted
by each errant gust of wind.

The rudder broke, the bowsprit split,
the fo’c’sle ghosts awoke and moaned
whilst helplessly she floated to and fro,
sometimes so close that her landlocked crew
had high hopes that they may reach her —
but each time the wild waves beat them back,
leaving them treading water, and her bobbing on the sea,
growing smaller as the winds ripped her sails
and whipped her away.

Gails attacked her lonely deck.
Sea brine ate her failing timbers,
cracked her weakened keel, and seeped into her hull.

At the stroke of doom, a miracle occurred;
drawing her to safer waters.
The tainted cargo began melting away,
and her anchor finally held sway.

When the big ship sailed her way,
its kindly captain saw this brave, but ailing boat.
Throwing her a lifeline, he led her to a safer shore,
where he forged a golden anchor,
replaced her broken parts, reinforced her base,
and painted her in brightest shades,
that she may proudly sail again.

Dedicated to David. You rock!

PS Love to Laura. I see you sail and I’m proud of you. xxx

The Daily Post #Unmoored

©Jane Paterson Basil

Nectar

fruitsmoothie.jpg

Gone are those bitter years
of crunching pain and shame.
Those twisted years, I was crushed
by every heavy trouble.

Hunched up on hesitant legs
I hunted for shadows to hide in,
or stayed in my cold, lonely room,
that none may see the imagined disgrace
scribbled on my face,
and signed by my children in drug-tinted blood.

The horror of discovery is a spiked,
multi-gloved punch, slamming in from all sides,
attacking every organ, every limb and nerve ending.

It hurts so much everywhere
that you don’t know which bit feels the worst.

If you risk confrontation, you will be unprepared
when they claim it is only play.
You will not be ready
for the fear and impotent rage that may seethe,
clawing at all the places that still ache from shock.
You may say you have seen the needles,
and needles only point one way; to distance and decay.

Still they deny all question, or risk, of addiction.
Indignant, they walk away,
their pace quickened by a need for the next fix.

You scrabble to hatch amateur plans that never reach fruition.

You think nothing will ever hit you as hard as the moment
you first heard the news,
but you soon learn the truth.
It was just the beginning, an introduction…

Addiction is unstinting, unrelenting, indifferent to your suffering.
Addiction never stops giving until it is overcome by will.
Robbery, prostitution, and any way
to find the funds to satisfy the keening need,
fill the addict’s hours and minutes until they cease breathing,
or get so sick of the chilling temptress’s allure
that they are ready to heal.

These days,
these reborn days and weeks,
as he eats, clean food nourishes my healing frame,
as she drinks, fresh fruit sweetens my parched palate.
Overlaid by nectar, the bitter taste fades from memory.

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My daughter has replaced drugs with fresh fruit smoothies. My son has switched to a vegan diet, and become obsessed with healthy food. He may also be in recovery.

The Daily Post #Bitter

©Jane Paterson Basil

Debt

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In school, she dreams of giant leaps
…………so high that they bely belief.
Her hopes attend her as she sleeps
…………not knowing life, or fear or grief,
but as she grows the dreams are lost
…………beneath her stretching body’s needs
She pays no heed to future cost,
…………but follows fast where freedom leads.

Without a thought, she walks a trail
………..which leads to failures’s dark abyss,
her careless steps keen to travail,
…………and welcome each caress and kiss.
Behind her, childhood hopes are shed,
…………abandoned in the rush of will.
Before she knows it, she is wed,
…………to one whose heart she can’t fulfil.

She births two children, lacking base
…………for homely domesticity.
Her passion dead, she turns her face
…………toward a dank duplicity.
Another man steals her away –
…………a turncoat twisted to the core;
and though she rues her cruel affray,
………..yet she bears two children more.

Diminished by each subtle trick
…………designed to overthrow her mind,
she wakes each morning feeling sick,
…………too weak a brighter path to find.
Her mother’s death shakes her awake,
…………reminding her that life is short.
Determined now to make a break
…………she packs her bags without a thought.

She journeys long in dusty hope
…………oft tripped up by past errors,
holding fast a knotted rope
…………that’s tangled by her terrors,
whilst even as she climbs, she knows
…………she must unpick the troubles wrought
by all her childrens deepening woes,
………..and all the battles never fought.

If she had seen her fool’s lifestyle
…………would cause such trauma for her kin,
she may have paused in thought awhile
…………and not have let the evil in,
but she was young, and didn’t see
………..the harm her carelessness could cause…
The fool that lived so blind was me;
………. too cowardly to fight my wars.

I earned the grief, and every day, I aim to teach a better way.
Whatever kindly friends may say, I must try my debt to pay.

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The Daily Post #Lifestyle

©Jane Paterson Basil