Sometimes we wake up one morning and struggle with comprehending how we got to where we are right now. This is something that happens to me nearly every morning during my morning coffee as I sit at my kitchen table and reminisce about the "good ole days." The days when I knew exactly who I was as a person. Today I can honestly say that I do not recognize the person that I see staring back at me when I look in the mirror anymore.
There are so many things about my recovery that I have not shared with anyone, not even with my family. Not even with my therapist. It is hard to believe, I know…I have written about every other topic that you could possibly imagine including my virginity and my love life. Heck, even failures and criminal activity at one point have all been fair game thus far, because after the life I have lived, I really have no reason to hold anything back anymore. But parts of my recovery hold a great deal of sadness, so I hold back a lot on that topic, as I am sure many other people do.
The most challenging thing that it seems I am still struggling with has been mourning the loss of time. Grieving for the childhood that I never had, the adolescence that I never had, and the young adulthood that I never had a chance to have. I mourn for the young girl who lost her innocence too young and never was able to have a normal life. And for the young woman that I once was before that vibrant part of me died a horrible death. That girl never got a chance to love, be loved, laugh, and dance. I had to mourn that loss and part of me still does. I mourn the life I didn’t have a chance to live with my addiction, which, for those who aren’t aware…my drugs of choice were Liquor, Vicodin, Percocet, and Marijuana. But I did occasionally smoke crack, snort cocaine, snort Ritalin, and other pills. Anything to mask the emotional pain I was in
Which, as I found out, all drugs do is mask the pain. They just numb you for a short while and when you wake up the next morning, you realize that the pain is still there, so you have to do more. There is no running from your problems…you just have to face them head-on. The fact is, I spent a good five years enslaved by my many addictions; destroying my body and soul. Almost killing myself three times—accidentally, of course, because I had lethal drug combinations mixed in my system and eventually my body started to give out. On the sixth year, I was barely living. My mother knew of course but she is an alcoholic herself so she did not much care.
So instead of growing into the beautiful young woman that my father had expected me to be, the woman that I was supposed to be, and pursuing my dreams of being a journalist – I was bound by a chaotic schedule. I was haunted by a past of my childhood that did nothing but cause me pain; crippled with the obsession of trying to numb myself to all my past memories and the pain that came with them; spending every last cent on drugs and having people buy me booze because I was underage. Most of the time I would get drugs for free too by just giving my friends rides to places. Instead of gas money, they gave me drugs. I would drive under the influence constantly since I was at a different party every night. I am not proud of it, but I am so lucky that I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else. There was no life inside me; I was an empty shell – from the moment my eyes snapped opened in the morning to the anxious collapse at the end of the day. There was never a moment of peace.
A huge challenge is coming to terms with what I can’t get back. And that is something that I realize that I am probably not alone in. Before my battle with addiction, I loved music, writing, playing music, and singing. Now I can’t bring myself to do any of it. I feel like a completely different person than I was.
Truthfully, if I spend a lot of time thinking about it, I can still feel my chest tighten in anger. But I rest in the hope of something that is bigger and greater than me is waiting for me in my future. Hoping that maybe all my hard work of getting sober and working through the pain in my past will pay off. Hoping that maybe getting through college will pay off. Fantasizing about my future after college is really the only way I am coping. I have come a long way in therapy and getting clean/sober. Hell, I am even going to college now. But I am frustrated that I haven’t done it sooner. Because all my friends that I grew up with have all graduated college, are married, have at least one child, and some of them have even had their first divorce already. And no; I don’t hang out with the party friends anymore, but I feel so left behind by everyone else. Even my little sister is in college now and she is seven years younger than me.
I still carry a lot of shame as well as feelings of inadequacy – believing that because of my past I am broken or less than. Because I couldn’t live up to my father’s expectations; which is something that every now and then he reminds me of. He is one of those kind of hard-ass parents. But the truth is that I can't honestly say that I regret anything that I have done because, at the end of the day, it made me who I am as a person as of today. Even if I don’t feel like a good person; I know that I am smart, semi-good looking, talented, and I think that my future is bright…but only if I make it bright. Our choices are our own and, yes I made some that weren’t the best ones, but I didn’t have any guidance or anyone there for me growing up. So I stepped in the wrong direction to cope with my issues but, eventually, I found my way again. And if I can do it then so can anyone.
My advice to anyone who is going through an addiction or dealing with abuse of some kind; reach out. There will be someone to grab your hand. You are not alone and even in the most hopeless situation there is hope…things will get better.