Monday, 19 October 2009


I wanted to dive into a vat of champagne. With a straw. Inhale coke, speed, ecstasy, trips. And sweet, sweet smack. Swill bottles of rum and gin, and I always hated both.

The tricky thing about the disease of addiction and alcoholism is that it creeps up on you when you least expect it. Deal with hubbies cancer, chemo, subsequent remission? Check. Crying newborn who sends you to Crazytown? Check. Childhood issues that will always cast shadows, the length of which is proportionate to where the sun is at any given time? Check. Step-parenting, parenting, wifering, sistering? Check. Easy. Come on.

But - have no car for a week, or my laptop plays up, or I feel a bit down ..... then get me the hell out of this skin, I want to give up on life and take as many things as I can to numb myself.

In meetings, it's called "Broken Shoelaces." You can deal with the big things, but the little things - one day you look down to see that your shoelaces are broken, which sends you running smack bang into the nearest drink or drug.

One night, towards the end - when I knew the party was way over but still could not stop, I remember not making it to the bathroom in time to vomit. Which was nothing new, but I was in a club at the time and I vomited all over this poor unsuspecting girl. She was all dressed up for a big night on the town - blonde, young, glowing, looked pretty. All the things I was not. She went ballistic, and rightly so. I stood over her, glowering like the mean dark twisted soul I was, menacing. Snarling. She backed away, probably went home.

I finished vomiting in the toilet, which made me feel better so I could keep drinking for another few days straight.

This story is not funny. It's hardly anywhere near one of my worst. It's just one of many that I have, tucked away in some space in my brain entitled "FUCKED UP THINGS I DID BUT NO LONGER WISH TO TALK ABOUT BECAUSE IT'S EMBARRASSING HOW FUCKED UP I ACTUALLY WAS."

It was all second nature to me - the booze and pills and drugs and smokes and guys. (Oh, the guys!)

How on earth I am ever going to manage my three boys going out into the world and experimenting with drugs and alcohol I have no idea. (Again, thank God I do not have a daughter.)

No longer do I have bulging ashtrays on my bedside table. The first thing I do in the morning is not light up a smoke and wonder how the hell am I going to manage another day on this Godforsaken earth. I don't only have one pair of dirty shoes. I don't sleep around. (Oh, the guys!) I'm not lonely. I don't spend all of my money on substances to take my mind off the fact that I have no money, no job, no friends, no family, no self-respect, no hope.

But I used to, it was all I ever did, all I ever was. And all of that black and bad is still underneath, swirling around. I call them vultures. The negativity, the sad, the doom. The opposite of All Good Things.

We all have our crosses and our demons, I know this. I always fuck up and try to run from mine, and then give up, and after three days or so, get resurrected again. It always happens, then I go on for a while, get fucked up, forget, remember, get resurrected again, etc.

I laughed on the phone to my sister last week, told her how I want to drink the vat of champagne. This is not usual - I actually hate it when people assume that because I am in recovery, then I must be suffering or lacking in some way. I'm not, and can often be more together that most. But when the desires come, they come like the second Die Hard .... WITH A VENGEANCE. My sister reminded me that I always hated champagne. "Pfffft. I don't care. I never met a drink I didn't like. Hey maybe I can drink 10 Redbulls and go clubbing with Dave and give him a lapdance and then go get a tattoo. I can do that can't I? That's not hurting anyone??" My sister just laughed. I sighed. "Man. Why do I have to be so hardcore?"

I hate how I can't just go the gym. I have to pump it HARD, and load weights on and tear calf muscles. I can't just eat one chocolate - every so often I need to sweep the house of any wrappers and large empty boxes I've hidden from the guys. Anything I find in life that I get enjoyment out of, I use and abuse until it makes me sick. A friend of mine just opened an Asian store - I got addicted to the organic chicken rolls with coriander and chilli. Like, every fucking day, weeks on end. I can't eat them anymore because now they make me sick.

Last week I went to recovery meeting, in a different town. It was packed - there was about forty people. And I was the cleanest one there. Which was strange, considering the state my head was in. I got asked to share, which I did. A lot of the early parts of my story came out. Things I had forgotten about, things come out of my mouth and I think, "for realz??" No WONDER I am a maniacal idiot, sometimes. But I always try to gear my share towards the newcomer in the room, give them hope that they don't have to live that kind of life anymore. There is a way out. And you only have to change one thing ...... everything! I find myself always saying one thing to them.

"There's still a lot I don't believe in, in life. I got damaged beyond repair - we all did. But, I promise you this ..... recovery is real. It is. If I could dig around in my heart and pull some out and give it to you I would, but you have to do it yourself. It's the best thing you will ever do in your lives. I promise."

In the days since that meeting last week, I have been more present with my boys. I've tried to pry my Spirit out, because it keeps getting stuck. Working out what I need, what I don't, what I can change, what I can't.

And the wisdom to know the motherfucking difference.

I gave up nearly everything* to be this new Eden. I need to remember how bad it actually got, how horrid my stories I keep close to my chest actually were.

This week marks nine years, for me. Nine. Since the hab shuffle finally ended and I got a bit real, a bit cracked open. I've never really made that much fuss about recovery birthdays. But this one, I'm gratefully in awe of. And scared. I don't want to slip. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Sometimes you need to look back, before you can move on ahead.

The things that I have in my past are not pretty. It was not glamorous or fun or just so cool. It was an absolute fucking nightmare. Heaven and hell both coexist on earth, you know. I may not be in heaven a lot of the time, but my goodness.

I'm still clean. Many aren't. It's a hard gig, this recovery business. The road gets littered with relapsers and death. People - some of them my friends, who have gone back out there and paid the ultimate price.

Sometimes I feel like I stay clean for them - the lost ones, who found it too hard. As much as for myself. To experience all this life has to offer. All the joys and pain. The shit and the sludge and the tinkling of my sons calling my name, the sunny days of spring, the early Christmas decorations, the sweat, the tears from joy as much as pain.

And the sweet sweet smell of all of it.


*Except swearing, chocolate, and coffee. I will never give those up AND NOBODY CAN MAKE ME


  1. Those little things throw me over the edge, too. Line my path with mass destruction and heart ache and I can go on. Have my tv break or the screw comes out of one of the boys' glasses (as Jason's did today) and I totally wig out. Sigh.


    Nine years! That is a wonderful thing to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Eden. May you have many, many, many more years of celebration ahead of you. Much love to you today and always!!!

  2. Congratulations on 9 years. That's an incredible amount of work...very impressive. Keep it up - the small things get to everyone, even those of us without vultures.

  3. Happy-Not-Fucked-Up-Anymore-Day Eden!

    I swear sometimes you could be me posting. And you say it all so well. I could just every now and again link people to Eden with the word ditto. In fact maybe next March I will - it'll be my 8th NFUADay then.


  4. Do I say Happy 9 year anniversary or do I say Happy 9 year Birthday? Either way NINE years clean and sober is a fucking huge thing. I think for most people the broken shoe lace thing is true although many of us don't have the consequences or drive for self destruction that and addict does. If there was something I could do or offer to make those moments a bit easier for you I would do it. I admire you immensely. Both because you are an amazing woman and because you are living recovery when so many others don't or can't.

  5. Happy 9, my darling girl. I'm so glad you're here and I can know you - your presence in my life is a serious motherfucking blessing.

    I had a vision of you, while reading this post, in about 10 or 15 years. Being totally able to joyfully eat one single chocolate without even thinking about it. And totally astounding everyone around you with your magical ability to do so. And maybe by then I might be able to do that, too.

    You are doing splendidly. Vultures and all.

    The biggest love to you.

  6. Nine Years. That's fucking incredible. Seriously amazing.

  7. DH would never let me make a big deal out of his years, since he said Pride was part of the problem.

    So I will simply say that I'm glad you're still on this earth, sharing yourself, that special Eden-ness that I and others love, the YOU and the WHOLE you that makes the world a better place.

    And this: *Except swearing, chocolate, and coffee. I will never give those up AND NOBODY CAN MAKE ME"

    Amen, sister.

  8. Happy fuh-reaking birthday my sister. Thanks for choosing to live, getting to know the real you over the last 9 years has been an honour. You may be an addict who has to do everything to extremes (pump it hard, eat the whole block yada yada) but that also means you live life to the extreme. You don't dawdle along mate, you throw yourself into life's swamp and wallow in it in a way that would make even Shrek jealous. You LIVE!

    Nobody puts Eden in the corner...

  9. Joyful Nine Years, Eden! I'm so glad that you've chosen to share yourself with us and allowed us to walk alongside you. I've learned so much from you, my beautiful sister-friend.


    PS~I've been writing about dying and coming to life on my blog too. Must be on all our minds lately!

  10. I have been thinking of you lady.

    I read this last night when I woke up at 1am unable to sleep -- and then I had dreams about you!

    You write so beautifully and honestly.

    You have a gift you know, truly.

    The last paragraph made me cry -- for the joy and pain of it all -- for the very fact that you are proof that it can happen -- and I cried for all the people who could never make it happen for themselves.

    Working without a net --you know what I mean? You've been working without a net and are fucking brave and strong -- there's a Kahlil Gibran quote I know I've written here before -- the one I used to read in my room -- tears streaming down my face when my mother's rages were over -- and it says something about how when sorrow carves into your soul the more joy you can contain.

    You are a vessel of joy my friend --sister.


    My love,


  11. Happy Nine, Love!

    This was such an excellent post; I have no excellent comment. I hear every terrible-beautiful word and have nothing to add. Except X's and O's.

    D. Was Here.

  12. You were truly born 9 years ago. You started a new life. A life you chose for yourself.

    I am always in awe of you sweet sister. Always.

    Never had an older sister- but have decided to officially adopt you as one- bec coffee and chocolate unite us. That and fucked up childhoods.
    love you form across the pond.

  13. Fantastically well done on the big's to many more!

  14. Congrats on the birthday. 9 years is awesome!!

    Hope things continue to get better, one day at a time. :-)

  15. Recovery is hard. Nine years is no small feat. Of course, the thing about recovery is that you roll out of bed tomorrow and it is just as hard as day one. You go girl!

  16. 9 years is truly amazing! You are amazing. Congrats and much love on this anniversary, and may you celebrate many more years to come.

  17. You are so fucking full of awesomesauce. Not just (JUST!) 9 years, but every single day, swearing, coffee and chocolate included. Here's to 90 more.


  18. 9 Freakin years my bro sheesh, what a loooooooooooooooong journey (see!). Happy birthday sister, i am SO proud of you man, I find it hard enough to resist a piece of cake let alone the odd cheeky smoke and a can on days when i wasn't going to. Respect to you bro, you're living life, you're resisting those demons man, you're flipping them the bird and chucking them browneyes every day. You're raising those boys and you're blowing that husband, you're doing SO much more than you ever dreamed possible in those dark days. You rock bro - sincerely. Walk on xx

  19. Congratulations! That is something to be proud of.

  20. I think I want to borrow the term "vultures". A friend of mine says the devil prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour...I often feel that way about addiction.

    Congrats on 9 years!

  21. wow, eden, that is incredible. congratulations! I know it is very hard work.

    I got chills when I read what you tell people about recovery at meetings. what a force you are.


  22. Happy 9, my friend. Do you have a 9-dance? If not, I suggest you make one up. And record it. And post it here for all of us to see.

  23. Sorry I'm late here, love. You should be VERY damn proud of yourself! Giving up is the easy way out, but working on it? That's the toughest way to go! And you my friend haven't had it easy. But you're STILL fighting and that's becuase you WANT to fight. And of course, because you're amazing!

  24. Nine years. Congratulations my dear one!

    I believe having an awareness that it's the small things that trigger for you is so healthy. And I hope that one day you will get through some of those broken shoelaces without a thought of what would make it better.

    In awe of you as always!

    Pixx xx

  25. Congratulations on having the courage to change! you write something that get me thinking for days:
    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Sometimes you need to look back, before you can move on ahead."
    I so glad that your mind is clear so that you can bless you with your wisdom!!!!!!
    Be proud of you have done, it is nothing less than AMAZING!

  26. Yup, it's those broken shoe laces that are the unexpected killers. Pain and grief can usually be borne but let someone take my parking space and I shake with anger, and spend the rest of the day in a foul, destructive mood.

    You are an inspiration because you know this and it still happens and yet you are winning the most important battle. I admire you so much for your determination to get through this. You're my hero!

  27. Happy 9 year birthday. In a few weeks, on October 25th, I'll be 12 years clean.

    Congrats on not only knowing your demons, but dealing with them. For me, I own them all. But one big huge important thing - I don't regret. Sure, lots and lots of things that are embarrassing and shouldn't of happened, but without all those terrible things, I wouldn't be the girl who sits here typing out a response on a blog I love so dearly, with her 9 month old son standing holding onto my leg, trying to get my attention.

    You now own your life and it's amazing.

  28. whoops, I meant 13 years clean.


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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