When I went to treatment, I had no idea that when I came back I would be planning on living the rest of my life in sobriety. I thought I had a drug problem and never considered myself an alcoholic. I knew that I drank a lot but I always compared myself to people who had the same drinking patterns as me, justifying my actions. It was the most confusing time that ultimately led me to a life of joy and happiness. This post is going to be a glimpse into what I left behind.
My education on addiction pre-rehab was alarmingly little. I had no idea that I could have a brain aneurysm or overdose from Cocaine/MDMA. Fentanyl was just getting into the scene and I thank God every day that I got out when I did. I had this God complex that I see a lot of people have, this idea that it will never happen to me. I believed that because I looked like my shit was relatively together and physically I was in shape, I would never die from drugs. Even though I would wake up after some nights with blood on my face or had seizures, I STILL never thought it would get worse than that.
Finally, fear started kicking in 4 months before I went to treatment. I realized I truly couldn't stop and it was really starting to scare me. I began addiction counselling with the intention of still drinking but not doing drugs. I managed to stop doing cocaine for one month but quickly replaced it by snorting MDMA, thinking it was the lesser of two evils. I could barely have one drink without my mind being triggered to get drugs. My life was spiralling and the people around me were either leaving or scared of what was happening.
When I think back on this time I always feel anxiety. The anxiety of still being up after a night out and the sun has come up knowing the party is going to end soon, not knowing how I was going to fall asleep, and stumbling home to my parent's house at 10:00 AM. I was aimlessly going through life feeling constantly anxious, scared, and unsure about how my life was going to unfold. These feelings haunt me to this day and I believe they keep me sober. I think of the saying, "Remeber When," often because I need to remember how bad it was. Obviously, there were times that it was fun but the fun quickly was trumped by my disease. The need for more, to control, to never stop. It was an endless cycle.
The further I went, the more delusional I became as a person. I actually convinced myself that I was good but in actual fact, I was a master liar and manipulator. I did this to loved ones, friends and my parents. I hated myself so much that I needed others to validate me and make me feel better. I was so mentally gone that I made decisions that I am not proud of. This is the part I feel the most shame around. I have made my peace with my past and I am okay with how I lived but working through the pain I caused people I cared for was the hardest. Through the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have gotten to make amends to many of these people in my life. Some have been amazing, some refuse to see me. It is, unfortunately, a part of this disease that you will lose people in your life. It can be devastating and seemingly impossibly hard but I believe everything happens for a reason. There are people that are only meant to be in your life for a period of time and I have accepted that.
Time can be an amazing healer. The longer you stay sober, the longer you can work through these internal issues. At the end of the day, I realized that I had a problem with myself. A spiritual defect that I was trying to mend with alcohol and drugs. Getting sober was the first step, after that, it is all about taking a look at your life and trying to see how you have lost yourself along the way.
I am now almost two years sober and I feel like my heart is whole. It has taken time and patience but recovery is possible. I was lost for so long but I eventually found my way. It took me being open-minded to a life I never thought was meant for me. It took me being brutally honest with myself and uncovering many wounds that never healed. It took me accepting who I am and being proud of my journey into a healthy life.
There are still times where I feel lost and confused but I know that I have a solution to the ups and downs of life that isn't substances. I think back to what it was like and it reminds me of how far I have come. There is no instruction manual on how to live. I always thought things had to end up a certain way but if things had unfolded the way I thought they should, I would be in a very different place then I am now.
I always say that I never expected this to be my life but I am so grateful that it is!