Wednesday, December 6, 2017

But, how do you live life sober?

I have butterflies in my stomach as I type this. I'm about to share something so very personal in the hopes of it helping someone else.

I am a drug addict. I am an alcoholic. I spent 79 days in treatment getting sober and learning (and continuously learning) how to live life on life's terms. It was hard. It was messy. I was ungrateful, entitled, spoiled and humbled. COPAC saved my life. This is how...

In 2014 I began taking some medication to help ease the stress of wedding planning. Once my marriage fell apart, so did my sanity. The alcohol increased and so did the medication. They were "legally and lawfully" mine (as I liked to say), so how could I have a problem if my name was on them? *I had a problem*

In 2015 my mom got sick. I fell apart. I pretended I wasn't crumbling, but I was. So quickly. I began taking my medication, my mom's medication and anyone else's medication I could scramble.

In 2016 my mom died. My whole world shattered. I didn't care if I lived or died. I had no husband. I had no mother. I thought I had no purpose. I wanted to die. I tried to do that several times, but each time I'd wake up and think "damn it... still here."

By 2017 you'd think after over dosing alone in my apartment a few times would scare me enough into reaching out for help. It didn't. I would have days or weeks I just blacked out on. I didn't remember conversations with my friends and family and soon it caught up to me. I lost my job because of my addiction. Keep in mind, I didn't think I had a problem. I didn't even realize I was blacking out. The holes in my memory were forgotten as soon as I remembered they were there.

I fell into such a deep depression I didn't leave my house. I had food delivered. I made up excuses as to why I couldn't see people or do things with anyone. I had become physically dependent on the drugs and was taking them in such large amounts that when I did not take anything, I became sick.

On July 11th I had a job interview... an important job interview. One I really wanted. So, I did not take any Xanax that day. Unfortunately, my body was so used to it, I had a seizure in the middle of my job interview, because I was going through withdrawals. It's safe to say I didn't get the job.

I can remember being in the ER at Baptist Hospital and my dad just so angry with me. He's been angry with my in the past, but he was ANGRY. He made several phone calls, said I was coming home with him and to go get my dogs. I was too scared to talk back and too selfish to see how scared he was.

I woke up the next morning and my dad was just getting back home from driving out to COPAC in Brandon. He gently, ever so cautiously, asked if I would consider going to treatment for 30 days. I had nothing left to lose. I agreed.

For the first 21 days I was at COPAC I was on detox meds. Usually you detox for a few days or a week. I had so much Xanax in my system it took me a little longer...

At first I didn't mind being there... I was also high on detox meds so that helped. When my 30 day mark was coming up, I had not made enough progress to get to go home. As much as I talk, I keep anything and everything serious inside my own head. I cried. I sobbed. I yelled. I pitched a fit only an entitled brat could. I embarrassed myself and later apologized to my counselor for doing so.

When I got to the 60 day mark, I had made more progress, but not enough. I realized I resented my mom for dying. I was angry at my dad for not making her go to the doctor sooner. I was jealous of my sister for having her life more together than me. This is when it got really good. I realized I didn't want to die. I understood that my dad already buried my mom and he didn't want to bury me too.

I was getting close to 80 days and my counselor- Bobbie Love-Johnson- said we would talk on Monday about my discharge plans. I prayed all day Sunday about what it was God wanted me to do. What he wanted my next step to be. I had a peace with whatever Mrs. Bobbie said I needed to do, I was going to do.

The next day, Mrs. Bobbie came in and said "how about Austin, TX?" I said yes. My dad came and picked me up 3 days later and drove me straight here.

I'm alive not because I wanted to be, but because I have a family that loves me and a counselor who didn't give up on me. Mrs. Bobbie told me she would be my life jacket until I realized I could swim. She helped save me when I didn't even know if I wanted to be saved.

I share this in the hopes of helping someone else struggling. I've been SO embarrassed. (I mean, I disappeared for almost 3 months. Did anyone miss me??) But today, I had a nudging feeling to write a quick recap of the last few months and years. I don't wish the pain I went through on anyone. But, if you happen to find yourself feeling that pain, I can relate. I understand. I am forever changed because of it.

Life is precious, life is sweet. I am 146 days clean. My family is PROUD of me again. I have a job. I have friends who love and support me. I have Oliver at the foot of my bed snoring and a God who gave his only Son for me. He didn't allow me to die, when I so badly wanted to and tried to. I'm not sure what His purpose is for my life, but I plan on to continue seeking Him to find it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Even If You Don't My Hope Is You Alone

I have such a heavy heart today. Actually, if I'm being honest, I've had such a heavy heart for weeks, months and now it's coming up on years. With each new coping mechanism I try, medication, exercise (which lasted all of a week), to professional therapy the result is the same. I'm sad. So now I'm learning to live with the grief and hoping happiness will make its way into my life again. I long for the day I can say "it is well with my soul". It just does not seem like that day is coming anytime soon. I have recently related to and obsessed over this new MercyMe song shared to me by my best friend Emily.

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I'm losing bad
I've stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it'll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can't

It's easy to sing
When there's nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I'm held to the flame
Like I am right now

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well, good thing
A little faith is all I have right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

You've been faithful, You've been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You're able
I know You can

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Why does God keep allowing the pain of loss? It's so easy for Him to just say "enough" let this child have a break. My therapist asked me what I would do in a hypothetical situation that would be seen as yet another trauma, I laughed and said, "add it to the list". Apparently, humor is not the best coping mechanism. Whatever. I find it fine for now... I'm working on that.

It is my job to work closely with families here at the hospital, and today I had the opportunity to meet a family who lost their child last year. They raised a substantial amount of money for the particular hospital center that treated him. I can't help but be in awe of their strength because the last thing I want to do is go to St. Dominic's cancer center. It makes me physically ill to think about going in that infusion room again... much less raise money.

I've recently thought about how to answer people when they ask "how are we doing?" when I honestly want to be like "how do you think I'm doing?" But, I refrain, and politely say "ok". But the more articles I read on grief and how to grieve and the "proper" way to grieve the more I realize, I'll always grieve. It's just learning to live with it. How do you learn to live with such a hole in your heart? I don't know but again, I long for the day I can honestly say "it is well with my soul". Watching those parents today give so joyfully made me really think and stop throwing such a pity party for myself. Yeah, life is hard. Dying is easy. But, for some reason, I'm still here and there's gotta be a reason.

I've had the opportunity to help place a cavalier in his forever home a few weeks ago. The joy that opportunity alone gave me shown all over my face. Even if it is helping to rescue these crazy pups my mom so dearly loved, that's something.

April is going to be a hard month. For all of us. I miss my mom so much it hurts. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. I can't wait to see her again. I make sure there are flowers on her grave- even though she isn't even there. It's something small I can do... actually, it's so people know we love her. She would probably laugh and say don't you dare waste money on flowers. But I can't be seen as not caring, can I? ;) I still don't know how to grieve, but I'll let you know when I figure that out- if ever.