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Two sides of the same coin

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About a week ago I had finished at a client and I called him to say I was heading back to the office; he answered the call in a fairly customary 'Hiya' and I was immediately shot back in time.

There was my life, and it seemed like just yesterday for the vividness of my memories, and that life consisted of the voice at the end of the phone being of Jekyyl the well known alter ego to our Hyde. The moment he was left alone - or rather I wasn't around - his mind would immediately be pulled to his dealer and we'd lose him either to a craving or the giving in to that craving - either way the results were exactly the same - he was gone and in his place would reside a panicky, devious, gibbering, paranoid shadow of himself.

And last week I was reminded of those days - the panic I would feel when I knew I had to leave the house - I remember so clearly planning my day and days, weighing up the benefit of running all meetings in one day even if that day meant it would run from dawn 'till dusk because at least, then, the fall out would be just one day. But it was never just one day because a bender would start days before and end weeks later. It was cyclical. It was debilitating. It was all consuming. And it was my life for so long. I never thought we'd see the light of day.

Not so long ago he asked me if I ever thought he'd be rid of the drugs, the cravings, the alter egos and, in taking my time to respond, I said No. I had to admit I'd not allowed myself that optimism. It had permeated our lives - and the lives of many other people - for so long that I don't think I hoped that it could ever be different.

Life is different now - he white-knuckled his way through it working endlessly and tirelessly to rid his life of almost all of his triggers and I know the effort it took / takes; always looking to be more, say more, love more but you see the truth is an addict is always an addict; whilst the cocaine was replaced by coffee, cigarettes, sky-diving, running, mountain-biking and now booze it’s all different sides of the same coin.

It took me a long time to understand that addiction isn’t weighing up your options to make better choices it’s just an action and a reaction - the thing is that there are always choices then consequences and people being caught in the middle.

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