Rehab Copenhagen - How Denmark Changed Me #grownup

My crazy pot and beer addiction ended around five years ago. A lifestyle I followed for about seven years; and around seven years ago, I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

I’m not talking about a sociable addict, someone who gets together with friends to have a little smoke and a drink. I was of another breed. A breed that needed to roll a fatty every day to take the edge off. But the edge remained always sharp and jagged in my ribs.

I wonder, what was it that drove me to it? What was it about life that I couldn't deal with? I still can’t answer. Life’s tough I guess.

Now, I feel like a different person. I don’t recognize my former self. I wish I could travel back in time and show him what life could be like. If only he’d stop wallowing. Stop expecting life to give him something. Life never owed him anything.

But I don't look back, not now. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

So how did I change? I did it like anyone would, I flicked a switch in my mind. I’d had enough. The thought of continuing to float around in a cloud of dusty weed smoke made me yawn and cringe. I found being lucid wasn’t so bad after all, and I started to love it.

You could say Denmark saved me, although I prefer to say I saved myself. But Denmark played a huge part. Denmark and a family of Danes. How? They gave me a chance.

My passion for Denmark, the Danish language and my determination to change kept me moving; faster and faster. It's pretty hard to learn a language when your high as a kite. The weed had to go! I've also been super lucky. I’ve had a number of breaks given to me by people who didn’t even know me, and that is the greatest feeling in the world.

When you land a job looking after two boys, you’d better be sober, otherwise you’re gonna be revealed as a phoney pretty damn quick and be pushed back into a plane.

I sobered up fast. I quit beer, weed, and cigarettes in the time it took to fly over the sea. Not an easy thing to do when your plane is due to land in the city of Carlsberg and Christiania. You can buy weed here as easy as a stick of bread at the local bakery. The excitement, new possibilities; and kind people are what saved me from a life going no where but down.

I experienced so much in such a short time when I first moved to Denmark. But I felt like I was taking everything and giving nothing. I moved back to the UK for just over a year, and that’s when I knew I had finally freed myself from the marijuana chains. The chains that had held me back for almost ten years. I settled back home with my family and continued a life of sobriety. To the extreme.

I have this problem where I go to extremes. It’s either all or nothing. People always say, “there’s nothing wrong with the odd beer,” but for a recovering addict, it isn’t so easy.

After a year back at home in the UK, I eased up on myself. I started to feel normal; like those sociable drinkers I'd always found so curious. It hasn’t been an easy search for the line between sobriety and addiction, but by putting my head into new avenues and taking risks, I finally found it.

I also missed Denmark, my second home. I visited often and with each visit it became harder and harder to leave. I knew the second time around I could give more than I could take. I'd been reborn and I was ready to do it properly.

Better start stuffing money into the piggy.

I did. Actually, I filled a wine bottle with folded bank notes. There's a metaphor here somewhere. I no longer stared at the bottom of an empty bottle, but one full of money. I saved for months; and it was a fun day when I finally smashed the bottle and ironed every note.

Now I'm here again and I’m feeling quite philosophical and artsy as I stare out my window in Amager, watching a thin piece of cloth flap in the Danish wind. A red and white piece of cloth. Two colors that mean so much to me.

This adult living isn’t at all the way I thought it would be. It isn’t anywhere near as scary or impossible. It’s actually quite easy and a lot of fun. I wish someone would wash the dishes and vacuum the floors for me though; where are you, Mum? Life throws a lot of shit at us, but at least if we’re sober, we stay relatively clean. #voksen #grownup

I’m still an addict. I’m just addicted to cleaner things: cycling, healthy food; writing; music, video editing; and learning Danish. I’m back in Denmark and I’m standing on my own two feet, earning money and paying the bills. Just another average Joe; or Johan --as the name is more common in Denmark.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

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