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Cathryn

Cathryn

Cathryn Kemp is author of Painkiller Addict: From Wreckage To Redemption which charts her descent into addiction to prescription drugs and her eventual recovery.

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

There is a promise, with recovery, that somehow life will be solved, sorted, fixed by not using anymore.

Of course, when we put down the drink, or the prescription meds, or the illicit drugs, or the sex, gambling or food, we meet ourselves and our own lives head-on. There is a saying in the rooms of fellowship meetings, that we have to live life on its own terms, but this is something we have to learn as our recovery grows. The immediate aftermath of recovery, if I can put it like that, involves looking at ourselves as we really are, in whatever state we happen to be in. And most of the time, it isn't pretty.

So what happens if we come off, then find ourselves broke, isolated or in pain, as was the case for me?

When I went through the painful process of weaning off fentanyl lozenges, I was greeted by my own pain at the end of it. That was my 'prize' if you like. And I have to work hard every day to accept that pain and the limitations it places on my life.

I have to accept the tiredness, which sometimes feels like being hit by a truck, deadening and weighty. It floors me, and accepting that is very, very hard. We say in the rooms that acceptance is the 'golden key', but accepting life as it is, involves a process of grief. I had to mourn my pre-illness life, before being able to fully accept my lift as it really is today.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

We all speak 'from the heart' don't we? It's something I considered I did all the time. I never gave it much thought, but I assumed I was communicating with the people around me in my life, work and play, with truth and integrity.

That's where I was wrong.

I found out in rehab that I speak from the head, not the heart. And that's where it all went so horribly wrong. As they say in some of the recovery fellowships I attend, 'my best thinking got me into addiction'. I'd like to add that 'my best feeling got me into my recovery'.

I realised once the prescription drugs were taken away, that I was terrified of feeling anything. ANYTHING.

I didn't want to feel sad, angry, humiliation, fear, resentment, longing, grief. The list was endless. It also includes all the 'good' emotions such as love, happiness, joy, bliss, excitement, passion or fulfilment, because they were scary as hell.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

When Cate asked me to be the addiction 'expert' this month, I was seized with anxiety.Do I have anything to say? What if I can't think of anything to write? What if no-one wants to read what I have to say?

It took me a few minutes to realise I'd gone back into my default setting where it was all about me. As an addict, I am hell-bent on self-sabotaging most aspects of my life. The most pernicious aspect of this, though, is the way I make everything feel that it has to gravitate round me.

I see it with my toddler son. The world gravitates around him, and he expects it to with fierce determination. That's the stage he's at, and I know he'll grow and develop and leave that stage behind. But there is something about being an addict that speaks to me of arrested development.

That toddler stage never quite seems to go, however much work I do around it. That's why it's essential for me to speak to my sponsor daily, and attend all the recovery meetings I can. I need perspective. I need to hear, daily, that the world doesn't revolve around me, nor should it. I need to fess-up to myself when I am caught in that self-limiting cycle of introspection and fear.

That's why, today, I'm proud be here with addictionland, fessing-up to you all in the hope that it strikes a chord. This month, it's not all about me, it's about you, and the recovery journey you're on, and I feel blessed to be here to share it in some small way.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Hello my name is Cathryn Kemp and I became addicted to my prescription painkillers following a severe, life-threatening illness.

Despite years in hospital, and an addiction which pretty much destroyed my life and relationships, I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

I survived many attacks of acute pancreatitis, I survived a terrifying descent into full-blown addiction to fentanyl lozenges, and I survived the withdrawal process in rehab.

I lost pretty much everything along the way, my relationships, my self-respect, my home, dignity and nearly my family.

As a result, and because I wanted to reach others who have found themselves in the terrible prison of pain and addiction, I wrote my book Painkiller Addict: From Wreckage To Redemption.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

It’s been four years since I emerged from rehab, blinking into the new light of sobriety, a shivering, puking, frightened wreck. That terrified wreck is still inside me, I don’t suppose she will ever go away, and I don’t suppose I will ever want her to – it’s that part of me that keeps me sober. Keeps me sane (ish) and centred, no matter what life throws at me. But what has recovery given me? What have I learnt so far?

Recovery has given me everything – a life. End of.

It has also given me everything that comes with a life ie a profound realisation of my failures, my fears, my insecurities, my disappointments and expectations, my long-held resentments, my pride, my vanity and, for good measure, my greed. It has given me loss, a deep grief which has become a treasure chest of wisdom, and hope as clear and sharp as a sunny winter morning. It has given me difficulties and strife, chaos and uncertainty punctuated by glimmers of deep resonance, kindness, friendship and love in every possible permutation. It has given me, me.

So, today, sitting here with four years’ of sobriety and (relative) sanity behind me, and a present filled with opportunity and potential, I want to share these small pearls of wisdom gleaned from the recovery trenches:

1) Sometimes you need to do the wrong thing to get to the right place

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