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I was reborn seven years ago.
Not reborn in the Christian sense, but reborn in the life path sense.
This rebirth I speak of began with me letting go of my best friend. My best friend knew exactly how to care for me when I felt low. They were always there when I needed a pick-me-up, when I needed comfort, when I needed help and guidance, when I needed to forget. My best friend never wavered.
I met my best friend when I was 15 years old. I was reeling from years of childhood sexual abuse and had finally come to the not-too-far-off conclusion that no one was going to help me. No matter how much I spoke out, the facts were always covered. My secrets shoved under the woolen blanket of life, no room left to speak, to breathe.
In came my best friend. They swooped in on the coattails of a family acquaintance who promised me she would take care of me. But she never took care of me like my best friend—only introduced me to them.
My best friend never robbed me of my teenage innocence, or so I thought. My best friend never left me for dead in a house I couldn’t pay for when I was 16 years old, like my caretaker did. My best friend never ignored my calls when I was begging my family to bring me things like food, toilet paper, and feminine products.
My best friend was with me when my period first reared its ginger head. My best friend was also the culprit who made that pesky period go away for years.
What an amazing friend I had, right?
This friend made sure I never had to relive the atrocities that childhood had left me with. Whenever they crept into the darkness of my mind, my best friend was there to take these thoughts away. My best friend even kept me up most of the time, to avoid the nightmare playground that fell upon me when I slept. They took all the thoughts away, rendering me numb. At the time, this was the best gift anyone could ever give to me.
After nine years with my best friend, I had to let them go. While they offered me exactly what I asked for, the relationship we had was toxic. The relationship we shared was frowned upon by society, and I could no longer make excuses for my best friend. We parted ways January 9th, 2013.
I call this a parting of ways.
Most call this a sobriety birthday.
You see, my best friend wasn’t another individual; it was my drug of choice, methamphetamines. Crystal meth I casually called them; we were on a nickname basis.
I spent most of my teenage and young adult life in the throes of addiction, and I have two things to share that many people won’t share with you when you begin your path to recovery.
The first being: You will grieve your drug.
I do not mean you will miss it; I mean you will literally grieve the loss of something that gave you such comfort, whether that comfort was healthy or not.
The first year of recovery, I went through all five stages of grief.
I denied that I had an addiction problem; I just liked to get high.
I was angry that this one, small, rock-like substance had to leave my life while simultaneously being angry that I needed it. How the f*ck was I supposed to cope with life on life’s terms if I didn’t have a buffer?
I bargained with my supports, asking if I could just use a little to fend off the cravings, to fend off the emotions, to fend off the feelings, to fend off the impending doom that was the shambles I had split my life into. Would you believe those bastards told me no, it doesn’t work like this?!
Then, the depression hit. The sadness drove through me. I didn’t get out of bed for weeks. Something I found humorous, as I had just ended a lifestyle where I didn’t even see a bed for a week at a time.
Lastly, I accepted it. I didn’t accept that I was an addict; that took a few more years. I accepted that I could not live a productive life when I was tied down by the proverbial ball and chain that was my drug of choice.
This leads me to the second thing no one will tell you: you will always miss this drug.
Like a living, breathing best friend, this drug is something you will miss. I do not mean miss like that cool aunt who moved far away or that dog your doctor’s office used to have.
I mean you will long for this drug. You will seek out other ways to feel high in life in the hopes that you will ever feel the way this drug left you feeling.
Will you miss it forever? I can’t tell you yes or no, because everyone is different—but I still do. I have been sober for almost eight years, and I still miss the euphoria my “best friend” gave to me.
I missed it when my partner cheated on me. I missed it when I was beaten for my sexual orientation. I missed it when my grandmother died. I miss it.
Now, this all sounds like a bunch of great reasons to not stop using. This is not my point. My point is you should know all the facets of sobriety. Even the nitty-gritty ones that aren’t so pleasant.
So, let me share with you the reasons that I got and stay sober. It is not the cliché reasons: because it is healthier, because it keeps you out of trouble, because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and so on.
I got sober because my community needed me. My community being those who have, and are, walking in my footsteps, who are looking for the light when all they have are the clouds. I knew I was greater than that needle in my arm, and I also knew no one would ever care if I wasn’t sober.
I got sober because I have three younger siblings, two of which are battling addiction now, who would never have a mentor or someone to look up to if I stayed in the streets.
Lastly, I got sober because I was tired of hearing all the naysayers state that addiction isn’t a disease and people can simply choose to quit. I got sober to scream from the mountains how very damaging this point of view is.
Do you know how many times I chose to get clean? Every time, I failed.
Because gaining sobriety is more than a choice; it is a lifestyle overhaul and you are the only driver.
I got sober to help give the driving lessons.