The last 13 weeks of my life have been incredibly grueling and to be honest there are days where I have not coped very well. There have been times when I wanted to pack my suitcases and run screaming for the airport, which is only ten minutes down the road. But I’ve endured and through doing so have learned more than one lesson. One of the biggest might be that by persevering when times are incredibly tough and digging really deep, we find a source of additional strength that we didn’t know we had. I make no excuses for the copious tears I’ve shed over the last three months. I embraced homesickness and separation and wallowed in it on certain days. I’ve honoured the fact that I was feeling miserable at times and took to my bed for a couple of weekends. But the one thing I didn’t do was give up!
And the beauty of it all is that it has taught me that I can endure. Some days I feel that I use all my strength and tenacity to stay sober, but these last nine months in this country of sand has shown me that there is more determination in me than I realised. There were moments that it took every ounce of my willpower not to hurl verbal abuse at someone because my frustration and stress levels were off the charts. However, I’ve held my tongue, kept my integrity intact and can leave for a short break from this incredibly soulless country with my head held high. I’ve also crossed the half-way mark of my contract and on return from eight days’ back home, I will have a mere four and a half months before I return permanently to home. When I look back on my ten years away from South Africa I marvel at the things I’ve accomplished, the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had. It might not always have been the most stable existence, but it was in the midst of this tenuous existence that I got sober.
I left in August 2003 (probably incredibly hungover) and will be returning in June 2014 a very very different person. I believe that my time away has brought me more than a stack of photos, a collection of memories and a wealth of friends. It has also given me a new life. Somewhere on an island in Asia, where I spent years not understanding everything that was going on around me I found complete clarity. When I wasn’t able to properly communicate I found my own voice and my personal truth.
And I’ll be returning with far more than the luggage I carry, because over the last six years I believe that I’ve found my true purpose. The more I move towards my goals, the bigger they get. The more I build on my dreams and aspirations, the more exciting and inspiring they become. At times they feel downright scary and even a little unattainable as I keep taking them to new levels. Before I got sober I could hardly pull myself out of bed in the mornings, now the majority my days are packed with forward-focused actions. I aspire towards the greatness that I used to only glimpse on a very good day, but now feels like it is constantly bubbling within me. As I visualise, verbalise and record my plans I can see no reasons that I cannot become the person I’ve always had an inkling I could be. In sobriety I know that there is nothing that can stop me except me!
Drinking robbed me of my motivation, my ambition and my determination but now I am going to achieve all those things that I didn’t have time for when I was drinking. Now I am going to go out there and accomplish the things that I know I can. It’s invigorating and exhilarating to think that even though I might have wasted a few years, that doesn’t mean that I can’t still go out there and make the difference in the world that I’ve always felt I was destined to make. So believe in yourself and create the life you might only have imagined could be possible when you were trapped in the hell of addiction. And if you have some bad days (or weeks) along the way be gentle and kind with yourself, because it’s all part of the process. I’ve come through the bad times stronger, smarter and more focused than I was before and I know that there’ll be tough times in the future, but I am prepared to keep moving forward with an clear head and an honest heart.
‘Til next time