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Issue 120 [May-June 2019] RECOVERY

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Big red button

May 01 2019

Recovery is the focus of this issue of the Pavement. Here Rob Edgar explains how he copes with feelings of contradiction and struggle

Life when you’re in recovery is awash with great opportunities, some of which seem more desirable and welcoming than others. With the less attractive opportunities you might occasionally have to take a leap of faith if you’re going to find where that particular road takes you.

I know what is beneficial for me and I definitely know what isn’t, but the choices I make represent me at that particular moment. It’s a struggle that means I can sum myself up as “the most reliable unreliable person I know.”

The line between these two parts of me is in constant flux. I am always just a single thought away from a state of utter elation or absolute, unmitigated self-destruction.

People often use the label “sensitive” to describe me. In the beginning I thought that was their polite way of calling me a gay man. Recently I have begun to accept that I am a very sensitive man and it has absolutely nothing to do with me being gay.

Self-awareness and accepting what I find can be both rewarding and liberating. But the answers I’m looking for are shrouded in a fog of self-doubt pumped out by my own anxiety-fuelled fog machine. The more anxious I am, the thicker the fog becomes. Sometimes I stumble around in what feels like dense pea soup desperately searching for the motivations on a spectrum that has connect & survive at one end and isolate & destroy at the other. That’s why I can find the answer hard to trust. The simple solutions that most people find and seem to cope with effortlessly can be difficult for me to deal with. I’m continuously asking myself what is real and what is just an illusion?

It’s really difficult to explain, this feeling I have, but I know that I’m getting better at this “game of life”. I’m getting better at talking about this struggle as well, sharing the ups and downs, so that perhaps I can help others to help themselves as they try to recover.

Everything comes down to how I handle my big red button. If I push it, do I explode, taking the entire thing with me? Or does it trigger an alarm somewhere in a secret room where my friends are waiting to help me through the fog?

Need help?

  • Off the drugs: Don’t dismiss Narcotics Anonymous (NA) at the first mention of the word God because each meeting is very different, so shop around for one that suits you.
    - or helpline 0300 999 1212 (10am to midnight)
  • Volunteering: Organisations are putting more stock in lived experience so consider using your expertise to help and inspire others. This can also lead to paid employment.
  • Getting fit: Yoga is therapeutic. Have you had a go yet? Running through the streets gets you fit and gives you times to think and a way of connecting to the city you live in. Or find local sports clubs and do more of what you love, such as football, table tennis, etc.
  • Hobbies: The internet has thousands of clubs for all sorts of activities. If you’ve forgotten how to knit, sew on a button or focus a camera, get a memory refresh via YouTube.

Issue 120 [May-June 2019] RECOVERY