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Like most stories of recovery, mine is filled with despair, desperation, hope, and miracles.
This is not my recovery story.
This is about what I found on the other side of hell, not my walk through it. There is a day to share that truth, but today is not that day.
I truly believe all humans are recovering from something. If we are not in the current act of healing, then we are stuck in the act of suffering. This is the human experience as I know it.
There is no middle ground. I am suffering, or I am healing.
Long before the addiction came the shame. My suffering was always caused by shame. I don’t think I was born lacking self, but it has been with me for as long as I can remember—a darkness, a sticky black void that made its way onto everything. Blame trauma, abandonment, society, addiction, all of it contributed to my feeling of worthlessness.
I spent a half of a lifetime hiding, avoiding, medicating, and bandaging the ick I carried. I can say I wish I would have done it sooner, but I had to be brought to my knees in desperation before I was willing to do all the work healing requires.
My first lesson was to identify my emotions. Then I had to learn to feel and express those feelings in healthy, appropriate ways. I either suppressed my feelings all together or let go of the reins completely only to wreak havoc in all the wrong ways and on all the wrong people. I knew nothing of expressing emotions in a healthy way. I never learned as a child.
My second lesson was that I am the only person responsible for me and my choices. I had to drop the blame axe and own my own sh*t. Damn did that suck.
The most important and rewarding part of this journey is that I have found my herd. I have always felt like I was on the outside looking in. I’ve never known acceptance like I do today.
By being authentic and raw, I have found amazing friends and met incredible people. I spent half of my life trying to muffle my spirit. To make others comfortable and for the sake of fitting in, I dulled my shine. I have been outcast for being just too much.
I talk loud and fast. I’ve been told I speak in ALL CAPS. I get super excited about things I’m passionate about—which I lovely refer to as “Bat Sh*t Passionate.” I’m overly sensitive and apologize way too much. I can be brutally honest but never with malice intent. I will spend days drenched in worry if I think I’ve offended someone. I’m terribly awkward in any social setting. I am no good at small talk and make the worst first impressions. I leave a little sparkle and a few thorns wherever I go. My people love me just the same.
The lessons continued and still do. I’m loving the broken child inside me, forgiving the woman she became who was just trying to survive. I now claim all of my life—the tragedy, the mistakes, and the wins. I own my sparkle as well as my grime.
There lies the miracle of my recovery. I crawled through the fires of hell. Stood up and found me. The shame I once knew—I don’t live there anymore. I call myself a badass but that is just code for being unafraid to be my perfectly imperfect authentic self.
I will forever be my own project and today I’m loving it.