It’s my birthday today!

February the 11th 2002 was the first day of my recovery from drink and drugs. On that day I was a cringing, paranoid wreck of a human being, suffering withdrawals from heroin I was escorted by a social worker on the train from Watford to Blackpool where I entered a rehab facility. Not against my will because I had no will left. Oh brave new world that has such people in it.

And now, eighteen years on from that day, and the question is, what am I doing? There seems to be no reason for my move away from home, but I know that the ego is a cunning thing and my perception can’t be trusted.

When I made the decision to step away from my family it seemed to be what I needed so I committed to the course of action. Just because time has passed doesn’t mean that it is now the wrong way. It occurred to me that I have never looked after myself properly, perhaps this is why I am here in this place alone. All excuses have been removed and now I have only myself.

This set-up is like something out of a horror film. The house is a large 1930s place, it is set back from the road on a quiet country lane and surrounded by tall trees. At night there is almost no road traffic, it is very quiet and a little spooky. The people who live here are a couple with two kids, their children are in school about ten miles away and they also own a flat near the school, they often live there through the week. I need a clicker to open the large security gate on the drive when I need to come in. My room is in an annexe on the side of the main house. I have a small bedroom with a built-in wardrobe, there is a kitchenette between the bedroom and my bathroom. The kitchenette also has the family’s washing machine and their freezer, so i assume they will occasionally come in to access these facilities.

In the kitchen I have an oven with a grill above, a microwave oven, my own small fridge, several units with some limited food space. There has been basic crockery and cutlery provided. They have given me a shelf in the freezer too, which is nice.

Since I moved in on Sunday I have been completely alone here, the wind of the recent storm blowing through the trees makes a moaning sound which perfectly enhances isolation I feel.

For the past years of my married life I haven’t needed to think about food. It seems to appear in the fridge and the supply is topped up occasionally. It strikes me that the last time I lived alone I was really bad at it. The person who rented me the last flat I lived in commented that it looked like the home of a person in crisis, and it was.

At that time I had been clean and sober for about 4 years. At one year clean I had decided it would be a good idea to have a relationship with a girl much younger than me. That ended after three years and I was a mess. She left me in the flat on my own, and I tried to get over the pain by throwing myself into different activities. The debris from them was all over the place when the agent came to inspect, that was when he made the comment. But throughout the painful episode I did not use drugs to escape.

From there I went to live in a house with one of my brothers and my mother, and it was while there that I chanced to meet the woman who became my wife. We married and she moved to England where she has looked after me since. It may seem like a nice way of showing my gratitude, having an affair and then leaving, and it does feel pretty shitty, but I cannot see another way.

I am not a whole person, I am not capable of taking care of myself. It feels like that stage of a video game when you need to move to the next level and you find that you are missing the vital key necessary to gain entry. This is how I feel now, I have to retrace my steps to find the missing piece, maybe then I can move forward with my life.

I am an overgrown adolescent, not a real grown-up. Maybe this is how I come of age. Eighteen years clean and just opening the can of worms.

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