“In Restless Dreams I Walked Alone”

It is a dark and lonely place, sat in front of the keyboard, ready to write, knowing not how one’s words will be read, whether they will be read at all, but hoping, maybe, to reach at least one person who also walks alone.

That’s me. I want to share with you something I don’t easily talk about. Something that keeps me restless. Something of which I am ashamed.

Drove the night toward my home
The place that I was born, on the lakeside
As daylight broke, I saw the earth
The trees had burned down to the ground

It was twenty years ago that I stopped drinking. There have been drinks since then, too many, but I finally stopped for good about five years ago when I accepted that one drink was never going to be enough. And no matter how much I drank I would never succeed in what was driving those drinks. I needed to no longer be me.

To cut a long story short, declared an alcholic I turned straight to another addiction. Smoking. Actually it was endorsed by my doctor. And I kept adding addictions as I sought to no longer be me.

I stopped trying to kill myself (to be honest, I’m not sure why) about the time I stopped drinking, but while I might have looked better to anyone looking, I was battling myself so hard that I needed a vice.

I’m not going to tell you what my vices have been. No one knows and it would detract from the point of this post. You see the point is that no one knows. You think you know me well enough to know? You’re wrong. It has all been hidden. From everyone.

Paint yourself a picture
Of what you wish you looked like
Maybe then they just might
Feel an ounce of your pain

Years ago, when I was battling severe depression, my mother used to tell me that I had to tell people how I was because they had a right to know. A sideline is that what she meant was they had a right to know because they were praying for me. That was actually one of the biggest points that put me off Christianity, but like I said, that’s a sideline for another day.

What happened instead, was that I withdrew. Pulled down the covers and hid. If they didn’t know then they couldn’t hurt me by their judgments, their meaningless comments and their complete inability to ‘get it’. Because let’s face it, who does ‘get it’ …unless they’ve been there themselves?

And more important to this post is who gets addiction? Who understands what can drive an addict to destroy themselves trying to achieve some nameless and often unknown goal?

I need(ed) to not be me. I need(ed) to distract myself from what I’m feeling.From the pain within. Maybe even destroy that pain, or just feel better… for a while (in reality, maybe a second).

It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

It might seem boring, but the only visible sign of addiction now is my smoking, everything else is truly hidden (but still destructive). Even my smoking, I do alone. I’ve given up telling anyone when I try to give up, because there have been so many attempts. Too many. And now I’m not just ashamed of the need for nicotine, but also of my inability to give it up.

The thing is though, that there are two sides to me. Always. One side wants to give up. That side needs to give up because aside from my health, cigarettes are really expensive in New Zealand and there are other things I could be spending my money on.

But then there is the side of me that wants to smoke. Yes, really. She’s still there, and I know that it is her that stalls the ability to stop. She likes smoking. She likes it when people cast judgment her way. She laughs when her neighbour coughs as she passes. The New Zealand Government wants to do away with smoking by 2025, and she is determined to still be smoking past then. Just because. Because she can.

She wants to stop herself from feeling, stop herself from being …her. She knows there are healthier approaches to life, but she also knows that she can change to a ‘healthier’ addiction but that any addiction can (and will) become unhealthy. She’s stuck on a treadmill. No matter what it is, she will take it to the extreme. Just another addiction. Just another attempt to stop herself from being her.

In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail
No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my name, I’ve changed my face
But no one wants you when you lose
I never thought this would be me. You don’t even know the worst, but if you’d looked at me 30 years ago, you never would have thought it would be me either.
The short answer is that perhaps this is what trauma does to you. Trauma that keeps repeating, and keeps having you fight not to be you anymore. Because if you can do that, then maybe the trauma will end.
They don’t see the angel
Living in her heart

The good news is, there is an angel living in my heart. Actually, that angel is probably what nearly everybody sees. Because either they’re not looking, they see only what they want to see, or I don’t want them to see. Shame drives it all.

That angel wants to conquer her demons addictions. But it’s hard when shame pulls the curtains. Recently I metaphorically fell on a programme available in my area to help my angel conquer those addictions. All I have to do is go, at the appointed time. Tuesday at 6pm.

That’s not hard, is it? But it is. Three Tuesdays at 6pm have passed since I found the programme and I can’t get myself there. I can’t get there because I’m scared. The anxiety is enormous. There are too many “what if’s” and “yes, but’s”. Every Tuesday (so far) I choose to not go (because I know it is a choice) and choose to stay with my addictions. There is a fierce battle going on inside of me. I need the help but I just can’t quite do it. Yet.

So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow
Quotation Credits
‘The Sound of Silence’ by Simon & Garfunkel
‘Don’t Give Up’ by Peter Gabriel
‘True Colors’ Cyndi Lauper (Songwriters Billy Steinberg/Tom Kelly)
‘Skin’ by SiXx AM

10 thoughts on ““In Restless Dreams I Walked Alone”

  1. I know there’s nothing I can say that will make any of what you’ve been through or are going through any easier, and I won’t say I ‘get it’ because your journey is uniquely your own. I will say that I’ve had my own struggles with eating disorders, suicide attempts that I never went through with but nonetheless plagued my thoughts, and I also smoke, despite having health problems and breathing issues now and an upcoming surgery. It’s tough. It’s tougher than anyone knows, and they don’t ‘see’ any of that and the myriad of thoughts and emotions that go with what you’re going through. You’ve been so open and honest in this post, so thank you.  ♥ ♥ ♥
    Caz x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for what you said and what you didn’t say. It’s clear to me that you ‘get it’ for much of what is facing me (or has faced me). Here in NZ, when you’re seen by a nurse before seeing a doctor, they have to ask smokers whether you want to give up (and the offer help with quitting). Every time I get that question I explain that I am of two minds. They always say to me “well, when you want to quit, you will”. And that is the end of the conversation. What they say is completely useless, and not necessarily true. Arghh! Thanks for your comment, Caz. While everyone faces their own unique battle it is so good to know that there are people facing similar struggles. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This post brought me to tears.
    There are always two sides.

    It’s funny, can’t remember what words you used in this post that reminded me of it, but, I was thinking that if I ever would really want to go to a 12 step meeting, or open such a fellowship, it wouldn’t be for a specific addiction, but rather something like SDA Self Destruction Anonymous. Most of what I’ve used or done has been about self destruction. Some of it escape, some control, some the cloud, or whatever, but more often than not to dance the line between listening to the ‘I’ that wants destruction and the ‘I’ that wants life, and believes that I can one day live a life I love, and love the life I live. I hope you get there (to live a life you love, love the life you live).

    Love and light (coz’ I’ve nothing else to say and feel that all words are trite).


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Someone in my life actually suggested I work the 12 steps, so, *gasp, I guess I’m going to see if I can (and yeah anxiety says it all, especially because like which fellowship fits??). Thanks for sharing your blog. I appreciated reading through it (lol about trite, I didn’t comment on most because some of it is just words that mean nothing at all).
        Love and light…


      2. I guess we’ll find out…
        Went to a meeting last night and almost every single share was one I could relate to.
        I don’t think the 12 steps are the only way, I think they are A way. Let’s hope they really do help…
        Happy Friday!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Struggling with addiction myself I understand the struggles and sympathise dearly. I always remember a quote I heard

    “Don’t hate the addict as they already hate themselves”

    I admire what your doing Cate I myself struggle with BPD and PTSD. I stumbled across your blog looking for a Cate I met in 2007 she was living in Bristol as a teacher. I really connected with her and often think of her.

    Liked by 1 person

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