“There were many days that I woke up feeling hopeless, and like doing this was pointless.”
I have to be honest, I’ve putting off writing this for a long time. I’ve been trying to find the right words to explain, but it never seems like a good time to mention a subject like this. It’s still such a sensitive topic in this world, and you have to be careful who you tell. Almost like there’s a giant mole on your face and you don’t know if you should just tell them why it’s there, or hope they don’t ask you about it. It’s been said that 27.4 million people in the U.S. alone who are above 12, disclosed that they were trying drugs since the year 2014. In that same year, about 140 million people in the U.S. over the age of 12 started drinking alcohol, 8.6% of them ended up drinking heavier doses. This is ravaging not just the U.S., but it’s now become a universal issue and people are desperately trying to pick the brains of their troubled loved ones. The thought leading up to the fix is different for everyone. Some do it to, of course, be popular, thinking a little GHB couldn’t hurt for a weekend at EDM. Others do it because that’s all they saw when they were kids, so now it’s become a sort-of learned behavior. Others, like me, didn’t know how to handle all of the emotions coming at them at once so they tried to cover them up with a temporary relief.
My story isn’t a riveting one like some may have. Just one of a girl who wanted to experiment with some things, and then experimenting turned way out of control. I never thought I would be one of them. For years I thought I was normal, and that everyone else did the same thing. That this was just the way I was. Something inside me that couldn’t be changed. I was a functioning addict, which meant I could pretty much hide the fact that anything was wrong. Or at least I thought I was hiding it. It worked well for awhile, I did my thing on the side to cope with the problems I was having, and nobody got hurt. Whether it was heartbreak, stress, depression, or heavy anxiety, I always had the cure. It really hit it’s peak in high school. You know how it is. Puberty and anger and sadness whirling around inside you like a complicated rush, and man was I a sucker for pain. I won’t get into everything that happened, but at some point, I had to take a step back and think about what was best for me. And by a step back, I mean moving clear across the U.S. to live with my aunt. It was a huge culture shock for me, and every kept asking me the same question over and over. Why was I even there? The truth was I wasn’t even sure, I just wanted something different. I didn’t want to meet anyone new, because I wasn’t ready to trust anyone again. I just stayed in my little bubble, still thinking I was okay.
Well, meeting new people was inevitable. It’s funny because I’m actually very extroverted, but keeping to myself just felt safer. Fast forward about 5 or 6 months, and I started going to this church after testing a few. It was the only one that I felt comfortable in, all the rest were a little too loud for my taste. I still hadn’t gotten to the point where I wanted to meet anyone new, but my aunt forced me to put myself out there. So I started going to this small group for young people about twice a month. That was a big step for me to actually BE there. I was scared to share anything with anyone, so I just sat there awkwardly. When I finally made about 2 friends, I discovered something amazing. People might actually be trustworthy! I was reopened myself up to the possibility of feeling at home again, as I heard people’s amazing testimonies. And then something else happened. I went to this event for people who had overcome addiction. Their testimonies were even more amazing! The more I heard people talk, the more I started to realize that maybe there was something wrong with me. I remember coming home one night and thinking very hard about what I was going to do. I had tried this before many times just to see if I could do it and I’d always failed. But one thing I remember is vividly is the prayer I prayed to God: “Lord, I don’t want to stop, but if this addiction isn’t of you, please give me the will to want to stop.” Then I gave in one more time before I fell asleep with a nauseous stomach.
I won’t go into all the gory details of the whole process nor will I say what the actual addiction was, but I will say, it was pretty brutal. There were many days that I woke up feeling hopeless, and like doing this was pointless. Many times I felt like it wasn’t enough to just have God and I beating this together, and I wanted to go somewhere else. But I was so scared to tell my family and disappoint them again, so I just held it all inside. Sometimes I was angry at things for no reason at all. Other days I just cried from the loneliness of not being able to talk to anyone. I still wasn’t comfortable sharing with the people I’d met, even the ones I’d grown close to. It probably sounds stupid, but it felt like I was mourning the loss of a friend. A friend I had to completely forget about. When that’s the only thing you have to help you get through life, you literally don’t know how to live without it. It wasn’t until a couple of months into my recovery that I found the strength to confide in someone I knew would understand. Another big step for me. I was so nervous and afraid of judgment but I got to talk with people who had the same fears as me. It was encouraging rather than embarrassing. The point of me sharing this with anyone reading is to hopefully shed some light on my personal battle with this disease, and to let people who may be struggling now that recovery is possible. It’s the hardest thing in the world to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but my light has always been God. I would say that I’m about 95% recovered and I’ve been clean for a little over 1 1/2 years. I’m just now learning how to be okay again, as well as relearning boundaries. Some people have said that I’m unfocused, and that details sometimes escape me, but they don’t understand how amazing it is that I’m even alive. Focus is actually one of my strong suits, and I’m regaining that, too. It’s insane what this illness can take from you. Your self-esteem, your emotional stability, even your ability to do the simplest of tasks. The enemy has fought me tooth and nail with all kinds of distractions, and I feel like I’ve suffered 1,000 heartbreaks along the way, but that’s a story for another day.
Today, I urge you to share this with someone you know who has difficulty with this disease. And yes, it is a disease. It’s a disease of the mind that kills families, friendships, and marriages. It takes away brothers, sisters, and husbands too soon. It puts children in CPS while mothers go through years of off and on detox. It causes fathers to have intestinal failure, unable to live the rest of their lives to the fullest. It can all feel like a haze sometimes, and the days jumble together, but literally by the grace of God it can all come to an end. I’m alive today to say that there are many places you can go to get treatment that will help you recover, but HE is the only one who can completely fulfill you. I would have never made it without him guide me every second, minute, hour, day, week, and month. I still rely on Him to guide me that way. One of the first things you learn as an addict is to stop blaming other things and people for the way you are. I now know how to take responsibility for my own actions, and how to create a healthy environment on my own that will facilitate my recovery. It takes dedication, it takes a kind of strength you have to push through. But once you do, you find out it’s worth it to live life again. It’s worth to feel free and have your mind focused on other constructive things. One piece of advice I can give to anyone who’s battling this is to not rush yourself. Don’t worry if there are things you can’t handle anymore and DON’T let anybody shame you or peer pressure you because can’t. Trust in the one who is stronger than you, He will always provide a way where there was no way. I’ll leave you with a scripture (that is now one of my favorites) that someone very dear to my heart gave me when I first started out on this journey:
Galatians 6:9– And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Places For Recovery: