I see you. Sitting there, reading this… searching diligently for the sign or phrase I’ve written to help clearly determine if you have an addiction problem. I was you. I get it.
I hear you. That loud voice inside your head that you try to quiet each morning as you wake hung-over, fuzzy from the night before. And each time you uncontrollably pour a drink, pop a pill, or snort a line. That voice that you try to quiet as it questions “why are we doing this, again? How did we get here, again?”
I feel you. The deserving you. The one that says f*ck it, “I showed up for work today, I cared for my kid today, I did my duties today. I deserve it.” That same deserving voice quickly switching to a self pitying one saying, “I have done nothing today, I am so useless. No one cares, no one sees, and no one understands. This is what I get for all the wrong I’ve done. And I’m hurting! You would be too if you knew my struggles and my past. I deserve it.”
I know you. The real you. The tender heart inside that wants to be seen, heard, known. The one that wants to start over, clean and fresh. The person that has lost hope, direction, and energy. The one that doesn’t know how to even start.
But then time carries on, and you stumble across this essay. Maybe you’ve read others, but nothing stirred you before. Yet as you’re reading this one, your heart starts beating a little faster, you palms may even perspire, and that voice starts to get a little louder.
It tells you to keep reading.
Then suddenly you ask yourself “how does she know all this about me?”
Because I am you.
I sat there too, day after day, trying to drown out that small voice that always questioned me. I wanted too, to be seen and heard, to be known for my heart… to start over new.
I knew that voice was right, the one asking me why I couldn’t go very long without numbing. And I knew I had to stop eventually, but I was scared. I had never gone long without it, nor did I know how to go without it. Using was my safe place. My best friend. My source of comfort. My ego booster.
Me and that voice would fight often:
I’d plea: “How can I seriously not drink or use? EVERYONE does. Parties, pedicures, brunch. I can’t be THAT woman at gatherings without a cocktail. And I definitely don’t want to be that woman known for having a problem! How embarrassing! And weak! Plus, I have more fun when I drink. And I’m more approachable, likable… and funny! I’m way more outgoing- less shy. And there are nights that I don’t even drink. Weeks even! Remember when I went months without drinking so I could do that fitness competition? Ya, exactly. I even trained for the damn NYC marathon. A person with a “problem” has to use everyday. A person with a problem loses their job, their family, gets into trouble with the law. So, I’m fine. No problem here. But wait, why do I keep wondering if I have a problem? Isn’t that sort of a sign? I mean, most people don’t think this much about drinking. I practically plan my day around it. I look forward to it. I stock up on it. I hide it. I obsess about it. I lie about it. It’s my only release, my only way to decompress and relax. But I really do hate the way I act when things get out of control… after I’ve had one too many. I say terrible things. I think terrible things. I make bad choices… choices that cycle the drinking. The shameful, regretful, black out and not remembering types of things. Not all of the time, but most of the time. Ugh, I don’t know what to do. I’m sick of not showing up. I’m tired of living half present, half available. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Okay, so I’ll have just one from now on. Wait, but I’ve tried that. It never lasts. What about only drinking wine? Or just on the weekends?”
The voice would then gently reply: “Court, it’s time to be real. You’ve done all of that before. It always spirals back out of control. When is enough, enough? Must we continue having this conversation? Does it have to get worse, before it can get better? Who are you trying to fool?”
The amazing thing about light, is that no matter how much it is covered, it still shines. Just because it can’t be seen, doesn’t mean it has lost any of it’s brilliance. I no longer could see or feel my light, yet that voice would continue to tell me it was there, just waiting to be uncovered. I believe that we each have a light inside, connected to that small voice directing our unique journey. I choose to call it God. You can choose to call it whatever. But I didn’t know how to trust that voice, yet I desperately wanted to. I needed to believe there was more for me. For this life.
And so I decided it was time to do something different. You see, the pain of changing became less scary then the pain of staying the same. I wanted my light to shine. I wanted to feel it’s warmth. I knew I was meant to be more than just half awake for this ride. I was created for more. To be more. To give more.
I had a choice: to continue drowning, hiding, lying, avoiding… or to show up.
I decided to finally SHOW UP.
I know you’re scared. That’s okay. It just means you’re right where you need to be. Reading this. Feeling all of that. Feelings can be scary, but they won’t kill you.
I can’t give you all the answers, or the “how to.” I can only share my experiences with you. I know for me, tuning into that voice was a good place to start.
Your light is still shining friend. I know that’s hard to believe right now. But I promise you, it is still there softly burning beneath that battered surface of yours, underneath all of the wreckage of your past mistakes, buried below the shame and worthlessness… just waiting to shine bright in this life. I see, hear, know, and feel you. Because I am you. It is not too late. No, you’re not too broken. The past is left behind. The future is before you. Look ahead friend… this life is waiting for you to show up and offer your honest, messy, beautiful self too.
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