November 30th: Bound First of all, I missed another day…I didn’t forget, I was just busy with my family. Sometimes we must prioritize. Today, I am coping with the silence of this house after everyone has gone on their way. For someone like me, who generally enjoys being alone, I find myself a little bit […]
Hi, guys! I started to make this a post for my other blog, but quickly realized this one belongs here, where my story has played out over so many years. I have a different voice, and a different story, and a different history here, and this one should live here. So here goes:
I woke up this morning a little put out that I’d had time to clean the whole rest of my house, but no time to clean my own room- the one place that should be my sanctuary, right? I felt bad that I had put myself at the bottom of my own list. Dumb, but that’s just my brain, trying to find something to be unhappy about. I was feeling a little better about life once I sat down here, in my neat, clean living room, sipping a hot cup of coffee fresh from the sparkling clean coffee pot (I even remembered to run the coffee pot through the dishwasher! I’m so proud of myself!).
I hopped on Facebook to see what I’d missed since bedtime, and I happened upon a post from…the brother of a friend of a friend. We don’t know each other in real life, but we’ve been social media buddies for a number of years, and…over the past couple of years, I have witnessed a slow and steady decline. Posts that are cryptic, yet somehow also overly personal, alarming and worrisome, but no real information being given. About a week ago, he posted a video detailing his woes, and I wondered what was happening. Was it a mental health crisis?
Today, I saw his post and I understood. He wrote about his recent struggles with addiction. He has lost all hope. He feels helpless, lost, alone, worn out, confused about where to turn.
An hour after that post went up, he posted a check-in at a hospital. It didn’t say for what, but I hope that someone there can guide him towards help. Of course, once I knew what was going on, I could no longer just lurk around and keep quiet. I sent him a message, told him I knew exactly how he felt and what he was going through. I encouraged him to find an NA meeting and ask for help. I told him not to believe the things his brain was telling him, but to listen to his heart and soul, because they were crying out for help. And I told him “One year from this day, your life can be completely different. You can be whole and happy and surrounded by family again.” I told him to reach out to me and I would help if I could.
Boy, did that take me back. As much as I try to separate myself from that part of my life, as much as I long to leave the past behind me, it is part of me. My life, those years and years of addiction, were not just a small part of my story. That was who I WAS, that was my identity, for the bulk of my adult life. I was other things, too. But before anything else, I fed my addiction. Before my children, before my family, before my job, before my bills were paid, before I made any other decisions, I fed my addiction. I cannot tell you the number of holidays I missed completely or ruined by showing up. I cannot tell you the number of moments I lost or stole from others. I couldn’t guess.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be where I am now. Right here, in my fuzzy pajamas, on Thanksgiving morning, in my own, clean house. My mom sleeping in Camryn’s bed on clean sheets, Camryn sleeping in my bed. And me, clean. Not worrying about how much dope I have left or how I’ll get more or when I’ll be able to sneak off to use more. Not angry for no reason, not making everyone around me walk on eggshells to keep from setting me off. Not making everyone sick with worry, but afraid to say a word.
There are not words to describe to you how grateful I am to be whole and here. I have gotten far enough away from my old life to forget, sometimes, how big of a deal that is. I have wanted to get away from it. But at times like this, when I see that pain in someone else, when I remember precisely how that felt, I am glad to remember. It makes the things I was griping inwardly about seem very small and petty, and shifts my perspective to one of gratitude, intense gratitude, and joy.
It took me a long, long time to get here. I had to work very hard at it. I suffered so many set backs and failures along the way. But I never gave up. I kept trying, and it paid off. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so eager to close the door on the past. Perhaps it is important to remember who I was, so that I can appreciate fully who I am today. Today, at least, this seems to be true. I have never been more thankful to be me than I am right now.
If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental health problems today and need help, you can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for guidance.
There are also NA and AA meetings in almost every town in the world. You can google “NA world service” to bring up links to anyplace you might be, and you can find hotlines manned by members who can tell you where to catch a meeting today.
Don’t suffer a minute longer than you have to. Reach out. Someone has been where you are and understands. Trust me on that. You are not alone.
As you can imagine, and I’m sure plenty of you can relate, I have been very, very busy today! I had a regular work day, had lots of housework to finish up, then my mom came and we visited here at my house for a while before going out for dinner- I seem to have […]
November 26th: Two Sides There is a me that I love, and a me that I struggle with. The side of myself that I love is quick to laugh, lighthearted, funny, and warm. The side of myself that I do not enjoy is cynical, angry, quick to take offense, difficult and sharp. She is always […]
November 25th: Extra Help Late post today- as is so often true around the holidays, I am busy doing all of the things I normally do, PLUS getting ready for Thanksgiving this week. Which I foolishly insisted upon doing at my house. Yikes. Anyway, I had a scheduled appointment with my therapist today, and I […]
November 24th: Choices You know, the older I get, the more complicated my perception of myself has gotten. I sometimes feel like I am all of the things I ever was, at every point in my life, all at once. This is not the case. Though my past experiences shaped me, and the memories continue […]
November 23rd: Slow & Steady Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that I missed a day- already! And though I could formulate a million reasons why, the truth is…I just plain forgot. Lately, I’ve been writing in a willy-nilly fashion, sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night. I guess I thought I […]
November 21st: Ubuntu So, if you have no idea what that word means, you are not alone. Pardon me while this gets a little bit weird, won’t you? I woke up this morning, and as I was standing there, groggy and bleary eyed, trying to gather the things to make coffee, I noticed that the […]
Today was long & draining, and I’m glad I can go to bed now. My advice for the day? When you are very tired, sleep. Everything else can wait. Goodnight. Sleep tight. 🙂
November 19th: Life is But a Game of Whack-a-Mole If you are anything at all like me, you will understand the title of this post. Look, I didn’t make the rules, I’m just over here trying to deal with life the best I can, stay grateful, nurture my spirituality, do things that feed my soul, […]