The Respect I have For Us Today
I am so in the mood to go somewhere great and truthful and full of love and hurt, and above all honesty because that is what I get to do today. I get to be honest and think things through and take part in my life and my life’s decisions today that will shape my tomorrows.
I am going to start with the normal things that occur in my world every day; the things I could hide behind and toss off and pretend don’t matter and that are not important. The truth is that they do matter and I do have the rights to feel, question, and go with the gut feelings God gives me. And, I have the right to turn down opportunities that are put before me because that is who I get to be today. I am a recovering addict and I get to stay that way today and you’re welcome to all who are reading this piece.
In my active addiction, I was not a good person; I was a very pain filled and angry person. All of my decisions were based on getting and using more to numb the feelings of pain I so needed to not feel. Most days that was way more than the person not suffering from addiction would feel. On my mind daily was to get everything into me via any way I could and doing anything I had to make that happen. In my head, I lied to myself day after day, telling me that it was just party central; I just loved to party. Except when the party was over I would get angry because I still hurt and then it was time to bring the big guns out and convince everyone it was time to go on. A lot of times I ended up going on by myself and then I became mad at you on top of being mad at me and that just came from being hurt that you did not want to support me through the hell I was living. As I sit here writing this, I must say I am a little shaky and feeling very vulnerable at this moment even though I know this is what I want to do for me and for you.
In my active addiction, there were no friends or respect for me or you and certainly no understanding of what I was doing to me and you. The only thought prevalent in my head was to stop my heart and soul from hurting which as the years passed became every waking moment of every day. Imagine running from something every minute of every day that you are alive, and like the dog running in circles after their tale; neither of us could catch their tail or my being able to fix the hurt. I did not see that I was hurting you while trying to make my hurt stop. I did not notice that one by one you started to leave me where I was because you did not know how to stop me or help me and watching me became too painful for you. I did not care that you were doing what you had to do for your sanity because what I saw was one more person leaving me, which meant one more reason to use more to try and stop the hurt I felt. And when my pain became too encompassing and too heavy to bear; well that was when I started wanting to die and started trying to do just that. After many years of trying many combinations that did not work, obviously; I started to feel that even God didn’t love me because he wouldn’t take me home no matter how hard I tried and how much I begged. So, the next day and the next day became all one lonely and pain filled and numb and lonelier and pain filled and numb. I was chasing the numb and it was getting larger and harder to quiet. This was what my life had become or reduced to; it really doesn’t matter how it is looked at, the end is always the same.
And then, through a series of events that I either walked through or got drug through; I made it to the rooms of recovery. It was not where I wanted to be, but neither heaven nor hell seemed to want me and I was so tired of unsuccessfully trying to die.
I came into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous with only one wish and that was to stop wanting to die. And that happened almost immediately. The beginning of this journey was painful in a whole new way and I had to feel these feelings while I learned how to live a new way, feel through something, smile through tears, and be okay with a past that didn’t have me anymore. I faced my past and forgave myself and others for things that were wronged by me and then I made amends to all those that I had wronged. I learned how to like me and then as time passed, I learned how to love me. For the first time in my life, I loved myself and valued myself. I was finally worthy of the life I get to live each and every day.
This may seem like I am delving into too much of the past, but for those of you who don’t know my past, yet are a strong part of my life today; I want you to know where I came from so you could understand decisions I make today to keep myself safe. I continue to do whatever it takes to guard my recovery and my life and put my safety first. This is about me and so not about you, the viewer reading for the first time or even the reader getting to remind themselves why we addicts do what we do today to stay in recovery every day.
Where I get to work and play today with so much love and gratitude; well, that is a gift I treasure beyond anything I could have imagined being able to do my whole life. I never could have dreamed I could be a productive and proud employee within a team of doctors, nurses, and other equally talented people who I get to work with every day in the cancer center where I work. I get to rise every day and go to a job that I love working with the best team I could ever dream of. This is a huge gift of my recovery and today I have lots of gifts of my recovery. There is a means to an end of this piece though, there truly is.
I get asked to partake of events and to be included in events that are very kindly taken and I so love being included in. I would maybe feel left out or an outcast if I were not included. And I honestly will weigh each and every invite separately and on its own and have a conversation with God if this is a right or wrong thing for me to go to. Today I get to accept that I am an addict, and to keep my recovery, there are certain things I must do to guard that recovery. One of the biggest things is to allow myself to think I am not an addict would be dangerous to my recovery. That is something I will not do. I am an addict.
To meet somewhere public with my husband for dinner and then leave is something I would consider and do in the future. To go to someone’s home as a girl’s night out where there will be people drinking, is not something that is safe for me today. And let me explain something about today. It is not about using anymore and it has not been for quite a long time. Today it is about being there and the addict mind saying next time we will stay just a little longer and then next time and then the bad day comes where for one minute it doesn’t look that bad I can make it go away and be okay. That is not a tape I am willing to play with or risk today. I get to make decisions for me today that keep me safe and out of harm’s way. Having said this, I am human and love laughing and having fun today right along with the next person. Having said that, I have to understand that I am not a person without addiction and I will always be a person with addiction and I make decisions for my safety because I didn’t always get to do that. There are moments when I feel a twinge of longing to have been there when I listen to the funnies that happened in your events the previous evening. However, today I am grateful to hear about them and laugh with you at a safe distance for me. So, if you are reading this and you are thinking you should stop asking me to join in things; please do not do that. As I stated earlier; I do look at each event and weigh into each, and there will be things I am comfortable being a part of; and will do at that time. There will be others that give me a certain uncomfortable feeling and I will go with said gut feeling every time. That is the respect I get to show me, you and all involved today. That is how I get to live my life, alive, today. There is no other option and I am okay with that.
So, do I want you to keep inviting me to the events? One hundred percent I do. However, when I make the choice to not go; know that I am making the best decision for my recovery, my life. Understand that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with my safety needs that must come first. And when I make the choice to go; I will be there in mind, body, and spirit.
It is out of respect I did this piece, this way, today. And there is a period at the end of this last sentence. I do not owe anyone an explanation of why I do what I do or why I make the decisions I do. To my own self, I am true. You, my reading public get the benefit of having a good, honest, caring individual in your life today because of my recovery.
I have to say that this piece has kind of hit me in the face with feelings I haven’t had to feel for quite a long time. The self-loathing and painful memories of feeling worthless and useless and less than everyone else, just reminded me of a dark house on an even darker street with nowhere to go and even less to live for. I am so amazingly grateful I lived through that and got to be here in my life today full of light and colors; not just dark blacks and grays. I am so amazingly grateful I get to have beautiful and kind people in my life today.
So, here we sit at the end of another piece and I still want to continue with my New Year’s desire of finding commonalities amongst us all, and I believe this piece it seems fitting to go with kindness. We all have kindness within us, even though it may get lost sometimes behind very busy lives, tragedies, sadness, and just getting lost in life, it is something we all share. Maybe we need to be reminded sometimes that all lives are not great and some are downright tragic; but a moment of kindness can make the difference between someone having the crappiest day of their lives, to not wanting to end their life that day, after all. Kindness is one more trait we all carry within us.
So, as with every week, I will write… If you enjoyed the read, please like, share, follow and comment if the mood so strikes you. I hope your week and mine is filled with kindness both by you and for you.