Growing up, a sense of security was never something I was accustomed to. An only child; destructive with no rules and two alcoholic parents, I learned early how to shut the world out and put on a big fake smile. I wanted the world to think I was perfect — that I could handle anything. The truth is that I was always inches away from falling apart. I remember always thinking I’d never turn out like my mother, I’d never live through the same struggles as my parents, and that I’d be better. However, feeling unworthy and alone led me into a downward spiral of self-sabotage.
In that spiral I found myself in institutions, jails, putting needles in my arms, and self-mutilating, it nearly cost me my life. A hollow shell of a human being was all I was. A girl who once had dreams no longer could see the light. It’s true what they say, “when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, that’s when you know you’re ready.” I was tired, defeated, hopeless, and for the first time I spoke to my higher power for something more than a foxhole prayer.
It took a bit of listening, of looking outside the bubble that I called my world to realize exactly what I was missing. The security that I had always wanted and that I thought I had found in drugs was merely a lie. The only truth was what was hidden inside me. I was the only one who could change the path of where I was going to where I am today.
Today life is good. With a little over two years clean I couldn’t imagine living any other way. I have learned to accept me and have come to realize that no one is perfect. The world is full of imperfections, yet it places no judgment — so who am I to judge myself so poorly?! Recovery has blessed me with a keen sense of well-being, an amazing sense of belonging, and a true sense of strength. The blessings that have been put in my path are beyond my wildest dreams. I thank God every day for giving me the life that I have and for showing me another way. It’s safe to say that not every day is sunshine and rainbows, but I’ve learned that those struggles are what make you who you are. Without everything I have gone through and seen I wouldn’t be so grateful for all that I have. The world is mine for the taking. I only get one life to live and I’m no longer going to live it in a chemical fog. Today in recovery, I choose to grow rather than to rot.
At 25, I feel like my life is just beginning. I see the world through a new set of eyes, yet they’re still my own. I get choked up over the beauty and mystery life still has to offer. It’s amazing how the air even feels softer — as if it were touching my face for the first time. I’m not exactly sure how to explain it, but something happens to you once those chains are lifted. Something I couldn’t even fathom trading for my best day high. My past is a part of me, but it does not define who I am. Who I am is no less than anyone else. I choose to hold my head high and be a face for all of those who may be ashamed or scared to let your addiction be known. We are never alone and there is always a better way. Today I am alive, I am proud, I am free, and I am the best me!