I’m driving to Battle with my friend Martin. He’s a recovering alcoholic and we’re laughing about how, at the height of his drinking, he could steam up the windows of cars because his sweat glands were working so hard to try and break down the alcohol.
He noticed obsessive tendencies early. The need to keep toy cars in their boxes, counting on his fingers until units of seven ended on a thumb.
On nights out he would suddenly disappear without saying goodbye so he could go and keep drinking somewhere else, for longer, without supervision. I didn’t know any of this at the time even though he was one of my closest and oldest friends.
By the time he was packing away two litres of vodka a day and hiding bottles in the filing cabinets at work he was also refusing to answer the door.
Simultaneously I was putting sick notes from the GP into my pocket and refusing to talk to anyone.
At the time when connection is most needed, we have a habit of rejecting it.
I have brought Martin to talk to a group of fellow therapists about addiction, recovery and finding a way out of the chaos. Now a long time sober he is a founding trustee of a charity that runs peer support groups for others in recovery.
There’s something incredibly valuable in having someone you can’t fool anymore because they know you too well. Relieved of the temptation to lie to yourself the truth feels compelling and invigorating.
In many of our discussions, we have bemoaned the absence of ongoing support for people in recovery so we decided to do something about it. We made a podcast.
“Sideways” was launched this week and is nothing more complicated than Martin and I talking about addiction, recovery, and our friendship. I think you’ll find it informative and, hopefully, entertaining. You can also hear it on Spotify.
Let us know what you think.
Back in the car after the meeting, I feel grateful for my friend and that there is no longer any danger that Martin will be steaming up the windows of the car.