Addicted to Accountable 

In a decade which became famous for the population of a whole planet being encouraged to ‘make love not war’ I arrived kicking and screaming into the world in April 1960, an unintentional biproduct of my parents doing just that. The honeymoon period was short lived and the ‘warring’ between the two of them quickly became the norm. One which would serve to shape, not only my childhood, but instil in me the belief and behaviour patterns which in adulthood would ultimately become the root cause underpinning a lifelong battle along life’s loneliest of roads. That of mental ill health

It’s fair to say that my childhood was at times traumatic at the hands of a mother who at best tolerated me. And at worst used me as a whipping post upon which to vent her frustrations and subject me to years of mental and emotional ‘manipulation’. A combination which by 2012 had seen me endure four nervous breakdowns, descend into full blown alcoholism, and be admitted as an emergency to hospital with end-stage liver failure. A six week battle to survive followed and much to everyone’s surprise I was sent home to rebuild my life from the ground up.

In the initial weeks following my survival I had little energy for anything other than to think.  I found the ‘key’’ to all my woes in just one word, responsibility, and the journey toward finally finding the courage to become who I was always meant to be began in earnest.

The woman I had blamed for everything my entire life, whilst not blameless, certainly wasn’t the reason I’d all but drunk myself to death. Not at all. The story I’d spent a lifetime telling myself was! The one that had read everything that had ever happened to me was her fault not mine. My lifestyle, my choices, and more importantly the consequences, were all her fault. Therefore I could have another drink and she could go to hell. In the initial, slow, dawning realisation that followed, I realised that my mother had, had zero influence on me for three decades, she’d been dead for thirteen years and moreover was teetotal! None of what had happened to me in my adult life was her fault. It was mine. All mine.

For sure I’d spent thirty years blaming the wrong woman, but I now knew without a shadow of a doubt that not only would I never drink again, but I would take full and total control over a life that was mine alone to live. Including both the choices I made and their consequences. Would I do things differently if I could do it all over again? No, simply because everything that happened to bring me to this point has made me who I am today. And this person is someone I’m proud to be, someone who had to understand that learning to love ourselves, is the greatest love of all.

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