- Mental Health
I would like to start off my story with a poem that I wrote not too long ago when reflecting on my journey:
“I watched you so long, my dear
I watched you grow weary with every year
You really lost yourself
From my third eye
I watched you die
Bleeding from your throat
Through skin and bones
A skeleton with flesh tones
Your face all sunken in
And as your body grew weak
Your demeanor became meek
Your lifeless eyes just stared
You severed your tongue
And punctured your lung
Your weeping was never hear
From my third eye
I watched you say goodbye
You weren’t ready for it at all
You were so close to her
You missed her allure
You can’t seem to let her go
And after you lost him
Your voice sounded grim
Your heartache grew strong
You lost a piece of your soul
Your heart an empty hole
You’re alone again
Your hands hugging your knees
You only spoke in pleas
You lived in regret
From my third eye
I watched you cry
Your tears just wouldn’t end
You wailed in so much pain
Your suffering in vain
Your smile never reappeared
Fighting through the storm
Became your norm
You never got any rest
Your demons started to thrive
You stopped being alive
I knew you wanted to give up
From my third eye
I watched you get high
You tried a mental escape
You swallowed a bunch of pills
It really gives me the chills
You wanted to forget
You had too much to drink
Your personality started to sink
You weren’t the person I knew
You lived your life in a haze
Of a substance-induced maze
Did it really numb out the agony?
From my third eye
I watched you try
You really needed help
You wanted to move on
You began a new dawn
You started looking up
You learned from your past
Though it didn’t happen fast
Your heart started to heal
And some days you would cheer
And some days you would fear
But you moved through the turmoil
From my third eye
I watched you get by
How did you survive?
You speak your truth clear
As of this year
You’ve grown a lot
Your eyes are filled with light
You’ve won back your fight
You’ve overcome so much
Though your story is incomplete
And life isn’t an easy feat
I’m so proud of you.”
I lost my mind over and over again and once I lost it, life was a constant battle for my sanity. I was losing hope that I would have any peace of mind. I was trapped for a long time and couldn’t find my way out. My story was originally supposed to be very long and detailed. Like cultural traditions, everything stems from something in the past. I have deep issues that haunt me to this day and were triggered by several events in the past 3 years. Luckily, recovery is giving me the second chance to stand strong and fight my demons… I feel like one of the lucky ones. To sit here, grateful to be alive when at some point I wanted to die is a virtue I cherish today. Though one day I want to tell my story, as it is, details and all, I condensed it for this time around and it’s still pretty long! Also, I’ve changed some names in my story to protect people’s privacy!
As I child, I remember thinking to myself “I exist” and it overwhelmed me so much, what a grand responsibility it is to be in existence! I had problems sleeping from a young age. Insomnia when you’re young is a scary thing, for I had no means of distraction. I guess I found myself having extra time to myself to think, which makes me think I struggled with an existential crisis from childhood. When I was 16, I thought to myself “I exist and there’s no way I cannot exist” and was frightened by it. Through my addiction, I found a way that I could avoid existence.
I struggled with my identity through middle school. I was unpopular and painfully shy. I wanted to fit in, yet I found that I couldn’t. I felt different from everyone else. I’m rather eccentric if I fully portray my personality traits without holding back, yet that wasn’t the thing that would make me fit it. I was very lonely and found out how to retreat in my mind.
In high school I found a group of friends, but we all went our separate ways junior year. I started to think deeper about life in general that year. My identity crisis was growing and my anxiety for being me was at points too much to bear. I wanted to find myself, yet I was trapped in a teenager’s body and society’s pressures were getting to me.
Senior year I found marijuana and fell in love. My life became all about when I could smoke again. I started caring less about fitting in and felt more or less comfortable with myself. I guess I was able to really be myself that year and gratefully I won “Most Unique” in my high school class, something that I have a bit of pride in. Eventually I was arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana, having a felony charge at age 18. Though I’ve never done coke before, it didn’t matter, it was in my purse. I was sentenced to 18 months of probation, 100 hours of community service, and 6 months suspended license. Luckily the case was deferred and I got off probation February 2011.
At the end of high school and that summer, I learned how to have fun without smoking weed. I started college Virginia. I had my two best friends by my side that year so I was always with them or gallivanting somewhere on my own. I just never really felt lonely. I was in art school and had all these cool projects. I really had a lot of fun that year. It was an extremely carefree time for me, a year of discovery, fun, and art projects.
Sophomore year I moved into an off campus house with my two closest friends at the time. I also started my classes in graphic design. This is really when my existential crisis started…I did not know if this was the right major for me or if I was on the right path. My insecurities were also getting to me. The second half of that year I discovered self-harm. I started cutting to deal with feeling ugly, anxious, or trapped. People noticed but I always knew how to deflect them. Or I blamed it on my cat.
That summer I started questioning my path more deeply because I got a bad review on my sophomore portfolio. I didn’t want to be in the graphic design business, I wanted more life, more humanity, more struggle, and more purpose. I could not relax, I was so wound up and my insomnia was getting worse. To deal with this, I started abusing my meds. I was prescribed Xanax and Ambien at the time and I used these excessively to deal with my anxiety and insomnia. I always would lose track of how much I took though, one pill would suddenly turn into 10.
I had my first intervention that summer. A group of close friends all told me to be more careful with my meds one night after I got home from work. A little later I contracted mononucleosis and was sick for a month. In that month I became helpless and forgot how to live or take care of myself. I went back to Richmond to live alone. The way I remember describing my state of mind then was that I felt like “half a person.”
I couldn’t deal with my reality so I started abusing the pills more heavily. I would binge on them; all 60 pills would be gone in a matter of days. Every time I would refill the prescription, this was always the case. When everyone came home I had my second intervention. My friends convinced me to drop my graphic design classes because they thought that was the cause of my substance abuse. Thus began my “year of discovery.”
I kept on refilling my prescriptions every month and every time it was the same thing: all pills would be gone within a matter of days. I decided at the end of 2011 that enough was enough and stopped getting the prescriptions.
2012 began and was the year that everything in my life completely changed, from the beginning of the year to the end. My life was turned absolutely upside down and I experienced extreme emotions within that year. This is where I can be lost in the details and one of these days I would like to tell the whole detailed story but now is not the time. It’s an extremely complicated situation that involved a lot of drama, heartache, depression, confusion on everyone’s part. It was a mess of intricacies that a whole book could be written on this situation.
Basically I fell in love with one of my best friends, who was living with me at the time. Then she broke up with her boyfriend of two and a half years and him and I got close and fell in love. It was extremely confusing and it all happened over a short time span, but love and being in love with him was my favorite drug I’ve ever experienced. I knew it was wrong, but my brain was full of all these lovely natural chemicals and I really cared about him so I was out of my head.
Once I told her about it, everything was confusing. I had to make a really big decision of what I was going to do, but my head was so messed up that I stopped eating and convinced my psychiatrist to prescribe me Klonopin and lorazepam. My pill binges started and got progressively worse.
Instead of doing the right thing, I was in active addiction even when I was not on pills. Every month all 60 pills would be gone in days. I was living only with my other best friend at the time and she kept on catching me and confronting me about it, yet I didn’t stop. I was very, very sick, I did not know what to do about anything and I was not honest with her (the friend whose ex-boyfriend I was in love with) during the whole time. I was on pills that Thanksgiving around my family and don’t remember any of it. I was beyond myself, so scared of the future, so depressed, my heart and my head were all mixed up.
I finally decided that I wanted to date him and that nothing was going to stand in the way of our relationship so I had to break it to her. Of course she was extremely mad. I assumed she hated me, I saw some nasty things she said about me and a picture she drew of me that depicted my death. I lost her; she cut me off for good. I immediately went into denial, regret, and extreme depression and refilled my pills again after school ended to deal with it (or NOT deal with it).
I went home for winter break and the friend who was living with me wrote a long letter to my parents detailing my self-destructive behavior. She told them about my cutting, my eating disorder (I was EXTREMELY skinny), and especially my addiction to pills. I never once thought I was an addict because I never used for longer than 2 weeks, I usually used a legal prescription, and I could always stop. My parents decided that I should take a semester off and focus on my health.
2013 began, a year in which I reached an intense depression and was trapped in obsession. Instead of doing the right thing and getting help, I just went back to work. My anxiety was killing me and my friend was invading my thoughts and my dreams. I was living in so much guilt and regret and I missed her so much. We were best friends for years and we had a very unique connection. She was weird and different too and we really bounced off of each other. I missed that specific type of fun when I was with her.
I was still very sick. I wasn’t on pills, but I was still cutting and limiting my eating. My relationship with my boyfriend was fragile. I was in no shape to be in a relationship and he did all he could to show me love and care. It went nowhere; however, I was out of my mind. He and my friends were very annoyed at how much I thought about her and how depressed I was.
All in one month, I tried heroin for the first time and bought pills from a friend and went on another pill binge. I tried going to NA for once and finally admitted I was an addict, but only went once a week and did not take any suggestions. My boyfriend had had enough; he decided that we were not dating anymore so I could focus on getting better. I was thin as can be, all these cuts on my body, and coming out of a pill binge when I returned home from a trip to Richmond in May 2013.
I was so obsessed with Her and in complete denial that she was gone. I wanted her back so badly. I could not stop thinking of memories from our friendship together and practically lived through them. I deserved all this depression because I hurt Her so badly. I was a terrible person and didn’t deserve happiness. Eventually it drove me to start thinking about suicide. It was the first time I ever thought about killing myself in my life, but it was the only comforting thought. I was extremely depressed and hopeless. I would cry very easily, I wouldn’t eat. I did not understand how anyone around me could carry on living when life was just full of suffering. I did not feel like a person anymore, I lost myself entirely.
I remember visiting my aunt in Boston and looking at a picture of me from 4 years ago when I was 18 (I was 22 at the time). I did not know that person anymore, she was completely gone. I did not know how to find my way out of this intense depression, but my aunt helped me during my short visit and I was able to feel a bit normal again when I got back home.
Around July 2013 she sent me an email condemning me for hurting her. I was very caught off guard, it was malicious, but fair considering I was not right by her and basically chose a guy over her and was dishonest. I tried being polite and I tried being honest but she didn’t bite and we weren’t able to work it out. I then realized that maybe it’s better she’s not in my life. She needs her space to heal from everything that happened and maybe one day she will learn to forgive but it’s necessary we’re not in each other’s lives anymore.
I felt like I was freed from my obsession with her, which meant my boyfriend and I can be in a relationship again and I can fully appreciate it. However, he was being extremely distant and said he needed space when I tried reaching out to him. The reality hit that we have broken up and weren’t in a relationship anymore. It happened months ago but I was too obsessed with my ex friend to care. Heartbreak hit me instantly and I could not stop crying. I could not stop listening to “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted,” reading quotes on heartbreak, and trying to find a way out of my mind. Although, I was already down and almost out by this time.
I tried everything to distract myself from my heartache but once again grew more and more depressed. Eventually it hit a point where I was thinking of suicide again. I felt like I had lost a lot. I lost one of my best friends, a lover/best friend, my sanity, my peace of mind, and my direction in life. I was not well. I remember one night I tried doing yoga and as we were doing the meditative part at the end, I felt that I HAD to kill myself that night, I was bawling my eyes out and felt that I NEEDED an escape. I was on my way to get a mixture of pills at Rite Aid when something inside my head told me I needed to live and to go to the hospital. I came home and bawled my eyes out to my parents, telling them that I wanted to die, I wanted to die so badly and I did not know what to do.
The next day they took me to the mental hospital. I stayed there for two weeks, met some friends, played a lot of gin rummy and smoked a lot of cigarettes (they still had a smoke room). I was discharged into the hospital’s eating disorder program due to how emaciated I was. I was there for 8 weeks and gained about 20 pounds to a healthy weight. I met a lot of beautiful people there and it was really an eye-opening experience for me.
However, I was still dealing with this obsession with my ex. I could not stop thinking about him. I would listen to love songs, hear about other people’s relationships and it would fuel my heartache. I missed being loved and having that closeness with someone, I wanted it back so badly and was living in these memories that haunted me.
He got in contact with me and we started catching up. My hope returned in full throttle that we would get back together. I started this wishful thinking that if I worked on myself and became “well” again that he would get back together with me.
Once I was discharged from the program I went back into the same situation: living with my parents without much to do. My therapist told me to cut off contact with my ex but I didn’t listen. It didn’t take me long to be triggered again by him and become suicidal again. I begged my mom to take me to the hospital ER, where they referred me to a group home in a town 30 minutes away. I stayed there for 10 days and barely recovered and immediately went to a Halloween party afterwards. My friend and I were throwing it; it was always a tradition for us to throw Halloween parties.
I was not emotionally prepared for it though. I was so used to treatment, to close and deep conversations with people. Throughout the year I lost myself entirely with my depression and obsessions that I forgot who I was in relation to the world. The party was huge too, maybe like 80 people (mostly strangers) filtered in and out of our house. I was also triggered by a conversation I had with a friend about my ex, which somewhat diminished my hope that we would get back together. I spent most of the night hiding in the only room not dedicated to the party and tried to distract myself and hide in my head from reality. I did not know who I was anymore and could not hold my sanity. All hope seemed to be lost for me.
After I returned to treatment again I felt apathetic and defeated by life. I stopped taking most of my medication, which threw me into a deep, deep depression. I had no light left inside of me. I had no thoughts, no mental capacity, no energy. I was a blank wall of a person and did not know how to find my way out once again. All I could do was to lay in bed hating my life and feeling sorry for myself.
I made myself busy though. I got a new job and went back to a PHP for general mental health so I was at least trying to deal with my emotional numbness. After my 23rd birthday, I was really triggered that my ex did not say happy birthday to me and I saw that he was talking with another girl, which drove me insane so I started self-harming again. My psychiatrist, in the program, responded to this by handing me a script of Klonopin. I didn’t tell her that I had a problem with it, though I thought about it. I was happy to have the escape again. Of course I pill binged again several times. That New Year’s Eve I remember taking more and more pills and when the clock struck 2014, I went up to my room and threw up. Cheers to 2014!
I went back to Richmond after my long year off and was starting classes again and living with my best friend. I was still extremely lethargic, had no mental capacity or creativity, and was very empty. I was quiet and still didn’t find my personality. I was excited to return to Richmond and built up all these expectations in my head of my ex and I getting back together and my life would fall into place.
However, when I texted him he told me that “too much has changed and that he has stuff to return to me.” My heart broke all over again and the whole reality I built up in my heads shattered through one “heartless” text message. I had one refill left of the klonopin so the next day I refilled it and binged. My best friend who I was living with caught me and, of course, she wasn’t happy.
All I did for a month was cry, spend time alone in my room and waste time on the internet and sulk to myself. It’s all my mind could handle. I was depressed, alone, isolated, heart broken, and numb. I still didn’t know my way out of my own hell. At this point a combination of numbness and insanity was my baseline. I could only carry out my daily routine of classes without any thought.
Eventually the anti-depressant I was prescribed started working and I slowly got my personality back. This also meant I got my emotions and thoughts back, things that I immediately wanted to avoid. I did not want to think of the past, my heartache, my demons, my insecurities. Through this, I found solace in the bar scene of Richmond. I started drinking all the time, going out and having all this “fun.” I justified to myself that I needed it because I’ve been in such a low point in my life and I needed fun and adventures in my life.
Thus began my alcoholic lifestyle. I went out on the weekends, all with a different friend so I can get away with “social drinking” but I always drank until I nearly blacked out. My behavior was out of control when I drank. I was always looking for people to kiss and eventually kissing turned into going further. It was usually with random strangers, people I just met that night.
I felt really confident in myself and felt like I was the one in control, but really I was out of control with my drinking and my behavior. I had many nights where I would wander the streets of Richmond black-out drunk. I felt that all my problems were behind me and that I was so grateful that my dark days were over. So I thought.
My friend living with me of course did not think I was dealing with my demons at all and was not doing any of the right things to get my life together. She told me she didn’t want to live with me anymore. I understood, but did not change my lifestyle at all.
I had so many moments where I thought, “that was the last time I’m drinking.” I was embarrassed by the person I was when I drank; I was sexually aggressive, loud and obnoxious, reckless, and apathetic about everything not regarding drinking. I went on many dates yet found nothing in them. I met so many people in a short amount of time that I felt as though I was losing myself. Truthfully, I think I lost myself long before that that I wasn’t losing myself, I was already lost and just wasn’t finding myself.
Eventually, the shallowness and emptiness of the lifestyle was becoming too much for me. The demons that I failed to deal with were catching up to me and I started to feel ugly, unwanted, lonely, empty again. I rediscovered self-harm once again the day I finished with my classes.
There were two guys that I met during my time partying that play a huge part in my story and my downfall: I’ll refer to them as “friends with benefits” (FWB) and Taxi Driver. Taxi Driver was 10 years older than me. I met him when he picked me up in his taxi one night in March. He seemed intelligent, unique, interesting, so I wanted to get to know him. We became good friends and had long deep conversations when we hung out and texted all the time. FWB was some dude I met when I was on a kissing spree at a bar. He made sure to put his number in my phone, buy me a drink, and try to hang out with me again after our encounter.
Early on in the summer, Taxi Driver kissed me one night when we were both drunk at his apartment and it started confusing feelings between the both of us. Neither of us was in the place to be in a relationship, yet we were drawn to each other. He ended up cutting me off because we were bad influences on each other. I could not stop cutting and I knew he didn’t want me to be his burden. I felt like a lost a piece of me when I lost him because we had a good friendship and I only wish we never crossed that line.
That summer I was out of control. I was out of my mind, drinking, spending money I didn’t have, cutting occasionally, recklessly looking for an escape. I didn’t know what to do for the summer. I knew I wasn’t in the right mindset but my two choices were to spend the summer with my parents or go to Richmond. Neither seemed to be good for my well-being, but I tried to get by.
I focused a lot of my energy on FWB after Taxi Driver cut me off. We started fooling around a lot and he was a sexual teacher of mine in a sense. In my right mind I would have never given him the time of day. He was a shallow womanizer, sex-crazed, a misogynist. However, he gave me the attention that the insecure part of me craved. I was starting to have feelings for him that were more than just lust, which was really dangerous because I knew he was emotionally unavailable.
There was one night when we were doing our thing and he basically told me, “I want to have sex with your friends… I want to have sex with your roommate.” He later told me that he said that to make me jealous. It worked. I heard that in a vulnerable frame of mind and after that I LOST IT. I felt incredibly broken inside once again. I was feeling everything that I avoided for a while and was an emotional wreck.
I was riddled with anxiety, insecurity, fear. I had lost all self-worth and became incredibly self-destructive. I could not stop drinking and I could not stop cutting. The drinking was an attempt to numb myself out and the cutting was to reflect how low I felt inside. I knew I was out of control and tried going back to the psych ward. I only spent 4 days there because I could not smoke and discharged myself.
I did not make any positive changes in my life after that, though when I cooped up in the mental hospital I told myself I would. Soon after, I went to a party in Richmond and got blackout drunk again and saw FWB all in the same weekend. He sold me pills so I binged for a couple of days.
I started a graphic design internship back in Northern Virginia, I thought it would make me feel like I had a purpose. I would show up to the internship, do a couple hours of work and go to the nearest bar and drink all that I could afford. I would immediately leave to go back home and continue drinking. This happened every time I would show up and they were disappointed in me and called me out. I knew I had a problem, yet I did not know what exactly to do about it. I was just spiraling.
I finally hit my bottom the weekend of July 4th, 2014. I started drinking at a bar on the fourth of July. At this point whenever I drank the urge to cut would come. That night I had plans to see FWB, I didn’t know if I was more looking forward to his company or the pills he would give me. The plans with him fell through and I got very agitated. I went home (at this point I was living in a new house with new roommates) and asked my roommate for Klonopin. She gave me some and I took it. I blacked out entirely and woke up the next day with bandages all over my leg.
I saw FWB the next day and confessed to him that I had feelings for him. He told me we should take some space because he wasn’t good for me. He also gave me a bunch of pills, including kratom, phenibut, and more Klonopin. Throughout the day I kept shoving pills down my throat. My friend noticed and told me to stop, that I was slurring my words. After watching fireworks (and dozing off during the fireworks), I took a bong rip and immediately felt sick. I went home, simultaneously threw up and pissed myself. I didn’t feel relief after the first time, so I ended up doing this three more times. I guess I passed out. I woke up to a friend and his friend (we were supposed to hang out and the last thing I told him was that I threw up). He told me that they spent 30 minutes trying to wake me up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I definitely overdosed.
I went home a couple of days later and came out of my pilled-up trance. I was thinking that maybe I needed rehab for a month then I could go back to Richmond. After all, I only had one semester left before I could graduate. My roommate ended up calling my sister and explaining to her that I am extremely unwell, that I need help and I cannot come back to Richmond to live in that house. Apparently the night I blacked out, I was dripping blood everywhere and there was a party going on and she had to spend 2 hours with me helping me while her friends were visiting. I had no recollection of it.
It finally hit me that I really needed help. I could not go on living the way I was. A week later my parents drove me to Illinois, where I went into residential therapy. Luckily on the way there I told FWB that I would never talk to him again in the nicest way possible. The night before I went into residential I begged my parents to let me drink at the restaurant and they let me, but they only let me have one drink which was extremely hard. The second day in residential I bawled my eyes, I missed drinking and I missed everything about my old life. Eventually I warmed up to the place and was able to act like myself again. I was definitely not ready to give up self-harm and found ways to do it in treatment. I spent a lot of time there talking with the wonderful girls there, laughing, joking, and having deep conversations.
It’s strange, but it was fun and I feel like I learned a lot there in a small amount of time. Unfortunately my insurance cut after about a week and a half because they thought I was “too stable” to be there. I told the aftercare planner that I could not go home; otherwise I’d be going back into the same situation. So they recommended a recovery home in Charlotte, North Carolina. I didn’t really disagree, nor did I really know what I was walking into. But I got accepted and was ready to start my new journey.
So around the beginning of August I discharged and immediately went to meet my family, who was in Orlando, Florida on vacation. I didn’t realize returning into the real world right away without any mental support would affect me in such a short time. Even though I was apparently in the “happiest place on earth” I could not really enjoy myself that much. We went to the Magic Kingdom the next day and I was a bit overwhelmed with the people and the stark contrast to the life that I lived in the past two and a half weeks.
I discharged on a Thursday and went to the recovery home the following Monday. The place I went to residential in prescribed me Lunesta and I was discharged with 14 pills and knew I would not be able to have them in the recovery home. So what does an addict do? I went through all 14 pills in those 3 days without even realizing it. On August 11, 2014 I came to Charlotte to begin my new life, not knowing what to expect. That’s my clean date since it was the first day I was clean from my sleeping pills.
As part of the recovery home’s rules I had to go to a meeting every day and in doing so I learned how to ride the bus system. I started only going to 12 step meetings but later discovered some really good NA meetings that I really fell in love with so now I go to a mixture of both. Recovery is recovery for me. I went through a couple of sponsors before finding the right one for me. I discovered what I really need in a sponsor, which is love and empathy as opposed to the tough love approach. I decided to get an NA sponsor and I really love her and look forward to calling her every day!
Since I’ve been in recovery, I’ve still dealt with a lot of self-harm urges. Sometimes I’d feel empty and that would trigger me and sometimes I would feel left out. I acted on several urges since being here, but each time they have taught me how to deal with them when I have them. I’ve really discovered my love of poetry in recovery and a lot of the time when I’m feeling down I’ll write a poem which usually helps me make meaning out of my misery. I’ve also learned that I cannot do this by myself and to reach out.
My IOP, my sponsor, my counselors, the girls at my recovery home, and my therapist have really helped me to get me to the point I am. I’ve been very grateful, happy, enthusiastic, and strong in recovery. To think I’ve been to dark places and to now have the opportunity to work on myself and fight my demons is the greatest gift I’ve ever received in my life. I’m grateful for everything that is going on in my life right now.
I mean, it’s not always easy. Sometimes I feel down on myself. Sometimes I’ll have mood swings and triggers. Sometimes I’ll have really emotional dreams in which I feel traumatized, something I’ve accepted that will come along with my conscious healing. I’m learning a lot about my mental illness, which is a form of PTSD. As far as my eating disorder goes, I’m still working on eating balanced meals during the day instead of binging at night but I’m at least grateful I’m at a healthy weight. I’m learning how to get through and recover from those problems and I’ve learned so much about life through talking with others and listening in meetings.
Also, sometimes I’m full of grief for people who left my life and I miss them. There are song lyrics by the Avett Brothers in the song “Through My Prayers” that goes: “Down in my mind where I don’t care to go/The pain of a lesson is letting me know/If you have love in your heart let it show while you can.” I never want to take anyone in my life for granted anymore because I never know how long a person will be in my life for. I have so much more appreciation to the people close to me now.
I’m lucky to have the support I have. I have an extremely supportive family, especially my parents and my aunt and uncle. I Skype with them often and it’s nice to appreciate them without being under the influence. I’m also grateful that I’m still extremely good friends with my best and I talk to her every week. I put her through so much, she saw the worst of my addiction and me yet she still stuck by me and I love her to death.
I know I have to stay vigilant about my recovery because I spent a lot of time in darkness and if I’m not vigilant I am vulnerable to falling back into the misery I used to be in. I go to a meeting every day and share if something is on my mind. I’m learning to “let go and let God” and understand that everything happens for a reason. I also remember learning a long time ago that emotions are very fleeting, yet are perpetuated and prolonged by thoughts. So when I get into a bad place or I’m triggered, I’m learning to take the appropriate steps to move past it rather than wallowing in it.
I’ve only done step 1 at this point but I’m really excited to tackle all the steps and really learn who I am and what role I played in my past. I want to let go of the past and move on, though sometimes it’s hard. I can’t say this enough, I’m extremely grateful to be in the position I am now and know I have a wonderful life ahead of me.
In a few weeks I’ll be celebrating my 24th birthday and am happy to say that I’ll be focusing on recovery most of the day. It’s truly a blessing.
I have a little over 100 days at this point and I know that I have a long and bumpy road ahead of me. Eventually I’ll have to finish my degree and possibly go back to Richmond. Then get a job as a graphic designer or get a Masters. Or maybe do something with my art of writing, who knows? As long as I build a good foundation and gain self-worth and keep my eye on the prize of recovery, I will be okay. Before I was close-minded when it came to a Higher Power of my understanding, but today I’m feeling more spiritual and have faith that my Higher Power is working for me.
I mean, of course I’m not perfect, “progress not perfection” they say. I still get down on myself. I still have lazy unproductive days. I still have pretty bad social anxiety. I still have a wacked-out appetite. I still am addicted to caffeine and nicotine. I still have A LOT of amends to make when the time comes. I mean reflecting on my life I hurt people close to me pretty badly and hopefully one day I’ll be able to give rightful amends to them all. The good thing is that I’m in the right mental space to do that and I’m already in the process of making living amends.
It’s strange to think that I some point I wanted to die so badly. I wasn’t praying for a better life, I was praying that one of these days I would get the balls to commit suicide. But I never did. Instead I feel like I reached the end of the rainbow and now I see how beautiful, yet fragile life can be. I’ll say this one more time, I’m so grateful to be alive and to be in recovery.
I’m excited to see what journey I’ll go on through my life now that I have the opportunity to live it sober and clean and be empowered by my choices, not brought down by them. The existential questions that used to bog me down now give me a lust for life and to I am excited to figure them out! I’m slowly gaining self-esteem and finding myself! Recovery is absolutely wonderful! I hope, if you’ve read this far, my story inspired you in some way. Recovery is possible and you deserve love and happiness!