If you had asked me a few weeks ago whether or not I thought I was going to make it to my 3 month mark in sobriety, I would have said no. Not because I thought I was going to relapse - I had no desire to drink. My depression had brought me back to that hellish landscape where it felt like the devil was on my back and the weight of it was going to sink me. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't sit still. I couldn't stand the sound of music, people talking, or the feel of the sunshine on my face. Everything hurt. Literally everything.
Instead of allowing myself to be swept away by the rising tides of anxiety and hopelessness, I did something different this time. I did something that went against every fiber of my being. I asked for help. Lo and behold, people reached out their hands and proceeded to pull me out of that dark, lonely hole I had been digging. They came over and drank coffee with me. They let me cry, they made me laugh, and they gave me as many hugs as I needed to feel okay again.
It took a lot of hugs, guys. A LOT.
This community has given me unconditional acceptance and love. The people I have met have welcomed me with open arms, and I am eternally grateful. I owe my life to them, and I hope to take what they have taught me so far and begin to do the same for the next person who walks through our doors, lost and in distress. You see, we know what it feels like to be monsters. At my own personal worst, I have done awful things and have hurt a lot of people. I will be untangling some of those messy knots for a long time. I have hope, though. And that makes all the difference.
When you take someone who feels like trash and tell them that they are beautiful, or loved, or smart or funny, you are letting them know that they are worth the air they breathe. You are allowing them to be themselves, however flawed or broken they may be. You are helping them to become whole again - sometimes for the first time in decades. It is a truly awesome experience to go from a nothing to a something. I felt like a nothing for a very long time. Addiction does that to you. It robs you of your sense of self and completely strips you of your dignity and moral strength. I, myself, wondered for 2 decades what my problem was. Why couldn't I just STOP?? Why wasn't anything enough to rid me of the desire to pick up a drink? My kids, my job, my husband, my home....none of it could alleviate the incessant need to pick up a drink. It consumed me, as I consumed it. I was a shell of a person. I was barely a wisp, struggling to survive the only way I knew how - by drinking.
I don't have to live like that anymore.
I am so blessed these days. I have people who genuinely care about me, and who know how I am doing without even having to ask. They have learned my quirks, my mannerisms. They like me for ME, and I have discovered that love is by far the best medicine. I am following my program, chasing sobriety and finding peace. My life is beautiful today. I am still flawed, and in some ways will always be broken. It doesn't matter. My tribe loves me anyway.
Find your tribe. Love them hard.
Thank you to each and every one of you - even those of you I have never met. You are appreciated, you are worthy, you are loved.
Happy Tuesday, friends.