I haven’t written in awhile.
I’m sorry for that. Life has been crazy and I’ve honestly just been in a funk for way too long.
It’s Friday night, and 6 months ago I would have just left the Milwaukee women’s prison after having a meeting with the ladies there. I would have just shared my experience, strength and hope with them. I would have just told them that despite their current circumstances, and those green jumpsuits they find themselves wearing, they are capable of change – and that they have every right to turn their lives around as any other person outside of those walls. They do not have to sentence themselves to a lifetime of addiction, and all those awful things that go along with it.
I miss those meetings. I never realized how much those women helped me in my recovery until the opportunity was taken away.
COVID has certainly made it more difficult to share the message with other addicts, but NOT impossible. We have found our way to each other through things like FaceTime and Zoom meetings and a dozen other ways that I never even thought possible. So, as I was sitting here tonight thinking about how blessed my life is today, I couldn’t help but think of what life would have been like had I been actively drinking when this pandemic hit.
My addiction isolated me long before this global pandemic ever did, and it still likes to try to isolate me today. I haven’t had a drink in years, but my brain still likes to play little tricks on me from time to time. Recently, quarantine has sent my depression into hyper-drive, and some days I am not OK. On those days, it takes a real effort to get out of bed and accomplish even the smallest of tasks. I take some deep breaths and sometimes white-knuckle it through until bedtime, but the second my head hits the pillow at night, I know I’ve made it!
Each day in recovery, is truly a miracle – and tomorrow is never promised.
If I take an honest look at where my addiction was leading me, I come to the stunning realization that I never would have survived this quarantine if I was still drinking. If the drinking didn’t kill me, the loneliness would have.
I say this, not to gain sympathy from anyone or even to garner praise for my ability to stay sober through this shit storm – but because I KNOW that some of you are struggling out there, and you are feeling alone and afraid, and you have never felt comfortable asking for help…so you don’t.
Trust me, I have been there! You are not alone!
I want to share a journal entry with you. It’s something I wrote in active addiction – 6 months before I finally found long-term recovery.
When I read this entry, I feel so much sadness for the woman I used to be. I wish I could reach out and hug her – tell her every thing will be ok. I wish I could tell her that it won’t be long until she starts to find her way, and that she will make herself so proud.
She never would have believed me…
Journal entry – April 3rd, 2014
When I tell you that I am scared. When I tell you I don’t want to live this way anymore. I mean it, even if my actions say otherwise.
When I tell you I don’t know why I drink. Sometimes, I honestly have no explanation for you because I don’t understand it myself. It feels as if the devil has hijacked my brain.
When I tell you I want help, because I might change my mind tomorrow, or even an hour from now. Every second that ticks by my addiction has already begun working to reel me back in. I cannot do this on my own.
When I tell you that I am afraid I will never have the strength to stop. When I tell you I never meant to hurt you – that I didn’t mean for things to end up this way. These words are the truth, even if everything else I say is a lie.
When my words are angry or hurtful. It’s not you I am angry with, it is myself. I am saying anything I can at this point to protect my addiction. I don’t remember when my disease took hold of my life, but it never fucking quits! I hate this. I hate myself. I wish you could hear the things in my head. Maybe then you could understand me.
I wish everything would just go silent.
When I tell you I can’t stop. I truly believe this, even if you don’t. Addiction has re-prioritized everything in my brain and now I am convinced I need alcohol to survive. Without it, I feel like I am suffocating, panicking…I feel like I can’t breath!
Most days I am afraid to leave my house. I live in constant fear that I won’t make it home sober.
Please hear the words I am saying. Let go of your desire to tell me what I should be doing, or what horrible things I have done in the past. I KNOW what I have done, trust me. I have not forgotten.
Please stop trying to fix me and just listen to what I am saying to you.
Please don’t give up on me…
Please don’t let me die like this…
There is so much divisiveness and anger in the world today – so much sadness and heartache. We need to check on our friends, even the ones who seem to have it all together. A “Happy Social Media Presence” can be an incredibly shiny shield for the wounded.
When I first got sober, I remember telling my sponsor that my ears literally hurt from all the shit bouncing around inside my head. The anger I felt towards myself, and the embarrassment and regret I was constantly obsessing over. She always listened with an open-heart and she still does today. On my worst days she still likes to remind me that I am doing a hell of a lot better than I think I am.
Lately, I’ve been feeling those same thoughts creeping back in at times, but it’s never quite as painful as it once was. I suspect that the longer I continue to grow and change, the less I will allow those thoughts to consume me.
Today, I am grateful for my recovery and the beautiful people who helped me find my way and my worth. 💜