A poetic tale of spiraling into the dark and becoming my own heroine.
I don’t recall much, only memories of moments.
Moments of anguish, despair and emptiness.
When I close my eyes I am there again.
Enveloped in darkness.
My heart beating sooooooo slow, I think I might die.
It was then that I faced reality.
Life was not my friend.
Help and relief,
I thought they weren’t mine for the taking.
I needed someone to save me from myself.
Or so I thought.
What had become of my light?
They had been crushed under the weight of shame.
Palpable shame, for I sought to salve the suffering of my soul
with a huff, a sip or a taste of anything promising to scramble my brain.
I was seduced by the blur.
Blackouts were my time to be bulletproof,
to turn life upside down.
Turns out I didn’t turn shit upside down;
I was bloodied and battered beyond words.
Only to realize that the void had become me.
I wept for all that I had given away without a fight.
Moments like these are rare,
A choice bubbled up.
From where, I don’t know.
I saw that if right then, I sought help,
if I saved myself, I might have the opportunity to feel something else,
something beyond this familiar desperation.
I wandered into dark, smoky rooms filled with strangers who spoke my truth.
Their lips told captivating tales of resurrection and transformation.
Their eyes glimmered with specks of hope despite trauma.
I was sold.
These nameless people had found something I was missing.
More than that, they appeared to experience relief, even joy, in life unaltered.
Day after day they would gather to hold and support one another through mission impossible: abandoning reckless self-medicating for real life.
It’s in these unknown places that I’ve shared secrets and listened to the depths of the soul with folks who often appear to have nothing in common with me. But I’m no fool.
Not a day goes by that I don’t feel the most sincere appreciation for the gift of recovery and my own strength to face the dragon(s) within.
Perhaps, though, I am most grateful to have experienced momentary transcendence of our outwardly human differences to genuinely embrace (and be embraced by) people whom I would most likely never rub shoulders with, in the name of a sacred, common bond.
It is that very feeling of pure connection, love and understanding I’ve chased my whole life.
In the twelve years that have passed since I last drowned my sorrows with drugs and alcohol, I’ve uncovered some concrete truths…
The dis-ease of addiction doesn't discriminate.
She doesn't care what shade of skin you wear or how smart you are.
She equally diminishes the light of the rich + famous, the enslaved workers who don’t even dream of exercising their human potential because they are stuck on surviving, and everyone in between.
Addiction is a master of disguises.
He wears many faces but equally strikes us where it hurts the most, at the core. He dwells in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to reclaim his power over your perspective, unless, of course, you are wide awake and not afraid of the darkness. Peril awaits those who forget where they’ve come from or ignore and reject the hungry wolf.
The void is both what we run from and what we seek.
Ask any addict and they will tell you they know the void, that deep well of emptiness inside.
Those of us who are fortunate to find our way out have no choice but to face this abyss, and we find that the void is both the problem and the Source.
Recovery offers us the chance to not only meet ourselves but to reclaim, love, nurture and integrate ALL the parts of ourselves, which in the end is what we so feverishly seek.
Recovery is a movement, a shift in global consciousness.
In a world that values hype over heart, money over meaning, cures over consciousness, and facts over free thinking, it’s not too terribly difficult to see how and why one might seek solace in numbness.
The individual plagued by addiction, distraction and drowning out their sorrows is simply a mirror of what is happening on a greater level. On the flip side, this means that when one person tends to his or her own misery and unmanageability, we all benefit.
Recovery from addiction is much more than quitting the dope; it’s a shift in consciousness.
Even as I write this to you, baring (some of) my personal struggles, I hold my head high. I know that this tumble to the depths of hell is where I uncovered a resolve and strength that cannot be taken from me.
If today I could plant the seed of possibility, it would be this:
Be your own hero/heroine.
Reject the stigma society places on you. There is no shame in finding yourself hooked on a chemical, but it is unwise to wait for a savior.
Ask for help.
Don’t give up.
There are many things in this life that seem impossible. But, more often than not, possibility is merely a matter of mindset.
Derailing the harmful and vicious cycle of self-medicating can be done and you don't have to go it alone.
Not only that, but the light within you still burns. Find the folks who will fan the flame.
Here is a handy link to a comprehensive list of 12 step programs.
Of course, if you know someone who would be touched by these words, please share them.