You know a lot of people have normal lives and they don’t have the problems we do. Like today, I’m innocently watching a film – Butterfly Effect 2 – and the guy in it reminds me of my ex I left behind in New York City.
Suddenly I’m back there in his apartment having sex. Now, if you’ve watched the movie (I’m only halfway through as I took a break from the sex having!) they’re basically making out in every scene. I’m transported back to NY, the city of all the drug taking and where I had the spiritual awakening following all my, you know, drug taking.
A normal person can watch a film and not have this happen. But if you’re an addict – or a hopeless romantic – you can’t do anything without thinking about drugs, or fantasising about some guy on a white horse who’s going to be your next Richard Gere.
Luckily I have TFT (Thought Field Therapy) and a bunch of other energy modalities under my sleeve to release trauma and hurtful memories, so I don’t have to live in the past. But for the first two years out of recovery, nearly every day I thought about my ex and cocaine. How both of them would make me feel. And no matter how much I planned to stay on the straight and narrow, a conversation about cornflakes would have that nasal feeling of the drip at the back of my throat and in my mind while someone else is talking. And suddenly I’m feigning interest, whilst snorting 17,000 huge fat lines up my nostril. Theoretically speaking, of course.
** My friends used to refer to me as “a hot mess” and “God forbid you might have children, Dheep, else you’d probably feed them cocaine for breakfast”. Nice. That was me.**
Whenever I think about a party, my mind would say, “Ohhh, Charlie” (slang for cocaine in case you are new to this game) and I’m back in my own lifestyle. I would astral travel back to my old apartment or a club, jittering over the sink with a big key. Or popping crushed Adderall and Charlie, on the twenty-sixth floor of New York City, chasing it with 17,000 mochas whilst my ex and I make music and pretend we are kings. Boy, I miss him.
This has to be the single biggest self-sabotage in recovery. The stupid fucking human brain. Astounding, isn’t it? You try to get “clean” and your amygdala, responsible for mirroring old memories, shows you a freakin’ slideshow of your best highlight reel taking drugs while in real life you’re trying to wipe your invisible runny nose while serving cake at your niece’s first birthday party. Triggered by some mundane joke, or reference to something barely related and instead of focusing on the cake, you’re in a bathroom stall licking Charlie off the sink. Fantasising about coke with every fake smile. No wonder there is a high rate of relapse in the UK. Our precious brain reminds us of only the good times and never the day after, self-harming, waiting for death, shaking like a toothbrush, nervous AF times. Just like memories of my ex. I only seem to remember how much he would say, “I love you” repeatedly after saying, “you are gorgeous”. And not the days on end he pretended I didn’t exist.
And whenever my memory is triggered by something even vaguely related to my “old life”, I miss my ex, my old job, and how much drugs I used to take. Then, despite the fact I hated my life most of the time I lived that life, I can only remember the good stuff. Oh, and I want to use again.
Thankfully, there is a way to release old memories and no longer have them affect you. I like to try a little memory flipping, using a combination of TFT and other healing modalities. Focus on the feeling or the memory and do a simple tapping exercise to release the memory of wanting to use (or think about your ex). The one I’m tuning into for you here is actually a code for “fear”, which is actually similar to anxiety. While you’re thinking about it, tap on the following sequence to the release the fear associated with it: under eye, under arm, collarbone, 9g, under eye, under arm, collarbone. Do this until the fear / feeling is no longer there and becomes a 0. You will no longer have the urge to use or think about your ex when that part of your brain gets activated.
Try it and let me know. Needless to say, I keep a few memories in there… you never know when you might need them! 😉
Peace, out. 🙂
Dheep Matharu is an ex-investment banker turned author in 2018, who found her purpose with the assistance of God despite her addictions. She is now a best-selling author of A New Kind of Love, speaker, and coach, and inspires others to live a life on purpose, connecting deeply to their Spirit. Dheep is a fearless warrior and encourages men and women to find their inner strength. You can find honest and raw memoirs on her journey through addiction recovery through Amazon: dheepmatharu.com/anykoluk