“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
During a traumatic event in my chlidhood, a ‘horrible monster’ invaded my psyche. Since that time, I have always been quite the pessimist, often struggling from crippling anxiety.
Addiction: My Only Option
If the glass is half empty—or totally empty, as I saw it, then what did I have to loose? Why not risk my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being for an escape? The world is such a frightening place, so why not take advantage of the means to alleviate that fear?
So I drank. A lot. I popped pills. A lot.
No one made me drink or use pills. No one encouraged me to continue once I became addicted. I did that all on my own …and I was damn good at it.
I was hurting. My emotions were raw and my life had become a travesty. Looking back, I now see that there were other options—options I chose not to utilize.
I Chose Poorly
I could have gone to my physician and told her all the sordid details, but I was embarrassed. Instead I wet the bed and had other assorted and equally gross mishaps while wasted.
I might have met with a clergyman and told him of my confusion and yes, anger, at God and with religion. I picked becoming an agnostic as the way to handle those conflicts.
I could have chosen to lose weight and get in shape to mend my hatred of looking in a mirror. I ate a box of Twinkies as an alternative.
I had choices, yet I chronically picked to travel down a dark and deserted road, alone. Why? Why did I choose stumbling, slurring, and driving under the influence as a way to cope?
Crippled by Fear
Now, I’m not pretending to play a psychologist or other mental health professional. I have no Dr. in front of my name. I do know this answer, though.
I was just too damn scared.
I was frightened that I would not be important. That I would never find a mate. That I wouldn’t make enough money. That I would be laughed at because I was heavy.
And worst of all, that my monster would find me again. Living life as a functional, content adult seemed out of my reach.
I didn’t care about those issues when I was drunk or high. I didn’t think about those issues when I was drunk or high. And so, I continued to use until I was one step away from death.
Healed by Sobriety
I finally made a good, healthy and sound choice. I got sober!
I did not want to die because it is just so… permanent. As I learned in AA, “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Living a life where each day I connived as to ways to get alcohol and pills was certainly no life.
Simply put, I decided one day to hold my nose and jump off of my boat called, “Addiction,” into the ocean of uncertainty. It was truly only a conscious decision that turned my life around.
AA and NA taught me how to swim. There were neither great white sharks nor where there Man-of-war jelly fish. When I found sobriety, I also found that the water was temped, calm and soothing.
My Choices Mattered
I allowed myself to become important. I found a sober mate. I made enough money to survive and buy an occasional tchotchke. I ate nutritional food. And I found that the monster was not hiding under my bed, nor did I need substances to hide from him.
I learned that life wasn’t too scary, particularly if you shared with others, the dirty laundry and all.
I learned that everyone has dirty laundry. And while I can’t heal from the past on my own, together, in fellowship we can chase away the monsters together and find the happy, joyous and free life we were searching for all along.
Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.