There is a little plaque hanging on my kitchen wall that says “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”. This is a sentiment that resonates with me, especially because, looking back at my life, I see that my guilt and shame over how I had chosen to live the perfect, blessed life I was lucky enough to be born into, kept me sick for a lot longer than necessary. Ironic, right? I felt so bad about my choices that I chose to continue making poor choices. You know, thinking about all of that, it makes me tired, and it makes me sad, and it makes me feel yucky. It’s a feeling I’d like to wash off of me forever.
But it’s a part of who I am, and if I ever forget, (as if that were possible) I’d be in danger of repeating those mistakes, I think. That is one thing I can say about my life, at least. Once I got clean the first time, through all the relapses that eventually followed, I never made the same mistakes. I did the same drugs, and I lived the life sort of, with one foot in and one foot out the door. I literally lead a double life. I kept my job and tried to maintain the facade of a “normal” life. What I learned there was that, for me, the misery created by living a lie was even greater than just being an all out, bottom of the barrel, dope fiend.
Eventually, I reached the point we all have to reach before we decide that a change is worth making. Usually, it is when everything becomes so painful that we cannot make it through a day without crying like a baby. I have been there many, many times. I don’t want to go there again, but if and when I do, I really hope it is for some other reason. If I have to be miserable, let it be a new misery. I know that if I am clean, I will be able to deal with it so much more capably.
The first part of this “return to earth” is intense. Our bodies are depleted, and our souls are just overflowing with the feelings we have been busily anesthetizing for…way too long. We are tired and frazzled, moody, and terribly afraid. I am thinking of my little brother who is in treatment now, as I write this. He has had such a hard time. When he called to tell me he was headed off to rehab a week or so ago, I was so proud of him. It is so goddamned hard to admit that we need help, especially if it isn’t the first time. May you never know the way that feels. I was too afraid, myself, but boy did I need help. I was afraid of losing my job, my kids, my house. I didn’t want anyone to know what a spectacular failure I was. I was so concerned with how I looked to the world that I actually preferred to continue killing myself rather than surrender, to admit that I was not doing well.
Thankfully, it has worked out alright. I have so much gratitude for everything good in my life right now. I want so much for everyone I know, and everyone I don’t know, even, who is caught up in the the madness of this spirit consuming disease to find what I have found. Some of them definitely will. Some of them won’t, not ever. And that is their own personal path, I know that. I understand that some people I can love, but I have to do it at a distance. I have finally learned that in this way, I must put my own best interests first. It is an incredibly delicate balance.
It is 6:22 in the morning, and I have been up since a little before five, like I am almost every day now. I am close enough to my latest disasters to still feel overjoyed by my relatively unscathed escape. I regret being angry zombie mom to my kids, angry asshole daughter to my mom, angry negative Facebook poster to my friends. I regret being a fake ass liar to the people at work. I am sad that I can’t really even tell them the truth now, and ask them to forgive me. All I can do is be this girl, today, and make a silent amends…make my life an amends, even, by being the best I can be at all times.
And when I mess up, I start over. Mess up, start over. It doesn’t have to be a backslide or a disaster, another sad chapter in my life. It’s just a little misstep, and then a correction. Have a beautiful day.