When I got sober in 2008, I wondered if I would ever laugh again. Not just a giggle, but the good belly laugh that hurts your jaw.
Not all my memories of using were horrible. In the beginning, I could find those amazing belly laughs many times throughout the day. I felt a freedom and I truly believed I found myself in drugs and alcohol. It was perfect. I was a traumatized young girl and now I was free. I didn’t have to think of the times I was violated and hurt. I didn’t have to think of the friend that I lost. I didn’t have to think about the anxiety that riddled my head and stomach. And I could have fun.
Then one day it was not fun. The days were filled with even more anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. So, what’s the point? The laughter was gone. My friends and family were hurt and concerned. I couldn’t function like everyone around me. I didn’t feel like I had an addiction to drugs and alcohol. I was just alone and terrified. This is when I wanted to give up. Not just stay in my bed give up…I wanted to be gone. I wanted people to grieve me because I was never coming back no matter what I did. There were people in my life that would tell me things could be different. They would tell me there was help.
Help. I needed help.
I was so scared the “help” wouldn’t work. A power greater than myself pushed me onto a plane to fly across the country and explore this idea of help. Arriving I was an empty shell. I felt like a puppet with strings being moved to the next group and therapy session. I was surrounded by people in the same boat. I would think to myself, “They’re doing it. Maybe there is a chance for me.” At the time, I couldn’t fully relate with the obsession of using. I could relate to the desire to feel free from my thoughts and anxiety. I listened and tried my hardest to learn how to express the thoughts inside my head. I realized throughout my process that I could want the pain to be gone, but that just wasn’t enough. I had to be willing to do whatever it took. Slowly willingness became an idea that I could get behind. I wanted the pain gone so badly.
And so, it begins.
I started to see a common thread. I would experience a little bit of relief each time I would surrender an idea I held so close. I was not willing every day. I was just so tired. I wanted to laugh and have fun again. I wanted to not disassociate. I wanted love and security. The days started stacking up. And with each day a little bit of fairy hope dust was sprinkled on me. I tried to believe people that would tell me “trust the process”. I guess at the end of the day, I trusted the process more than not. I found a group of people that I respected. I used those people to bounce my ideas off of. The hard part was letting go of what I thought were great ideas. I connected with a woman who took me through steps that brought me a great amount of relief. I gave back the shame that never really belonged to me.
The days are still stacking. Now what was fairy hope dust is just HOPE.
I had the hope that I would recover. I even started having those good ole belly laughs. I was discovering a sense of peace that seemed so foreign to me for so long. It got to a point I didn’t want to risk losing that feeling.
An instinct came over me… I needed protect this little girl at all cost.
I wish I could say this was easy. I wish I could say I never wanted to give up. It wasn’t easy. It was hard. I wanted to give up many times. But I reached out to those people I respected. I started to discover my personality by trying new things. I found out that being of service was actually one of the most selfish things I could do, because of how great it made me feel. I answered my own question “So, what’s the point?” Each year, there was more and more to live for. Each day, there was more to lose. So, I would evaluate what I was willing to risk. Twelve years later. I am doing life sober. I experience pain and loss. I continue the work. I make mistakes.
I am free.