I am not the most unique nor the most boring person. I am not the most beautiful, but definitely not ugly either. I did not come from an impoverished family but did not come from riches. My life has not been something from a Hollywood movie, but I can assure you it has not been without entertainment. I am not anything special. I am just me.
While much of my life has been the direct result of bad decisions, some have simply been a case of misfortune. One of the largest components of my recovery has been having the ability to take ownership of my mistakes. I own my part, and I move on.
All of that being said, I don’t know anyone that wakes up one day and decides that they are going to be a drug addict or an alcoholic. I have no memory of anyone in my kindergarten class drawing a picture of a crackhead as their future employment goals. I have no recollection of anyone bringing a jug of vodka in for Career Day. Some say it’s in our DNA. Some say that it is a result of our environment. I am not exactly sure what drove me down some of the paths that I chose. I can honestly say that at this stage of my life, none of that really matters.
Life is complicated and at times painful. I don’t care who you are or what your background is. Perhaps some of us enter the world better equipped to handle the painful part. For the longest time, I simply wasn’t. While the details of my story are different, every addict’s story is the same. We often feel lost in what feels like a herd of people constantly moving. Everyone is moving, but us. I always felt one step behind even when I was ten steps ahead. Some us have a low self-esteem, while others have the largest ego possible. And while there a few of us that quite simply are just bad apples, most of us are good people that took a wrong turn.
Me? I took several wrong turns. My only hope is that my story can help others to see that it is never too late to start over. As long as we are still breathing, there will always be a chance for change.
I recently celebrated seven years of sobriety. As many of you have promised, I have come to know a new freedom and a new happiness. That is not to say that any of it has been perfect. There has been a lot of pain along the way.
During the last seven years, I have received countless phone calls about people from my past being found dead from either drug overdoses or suicide. One was my ex-husband. In the last three years, my husband and I have endured two miscarriages and countless failed fertility treatments in our attempts to start a family. In sobriety, I have been confused, pissed off, scared, and lost. It is not always a walk in the park and not always that pink cloud that it was in the beginning. I don’t say this to be negative or to deter anyone – I say it because it’s honest and it’s life. It’s painful sometimes.
I have also experienced immense joy and an appetite for life. I have accomplished things that I thought I never would, and I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today.
I finally met a man that valued me as much as I valued him, and I married him. We have built a great life together.
I have made lifelong friends and seen the good of mankind.
I have started taking responsibility for my actions and stopped blaming others. So yes – I have found a new freedom and a new happiness. The biggest freedom? The freedom to be me.
I am not perfect, but I am better than I was. I’m not the smartest girl, but I’m not without intelligence. Today, I try not to strive towards extremes and have found contentment with being right in the middle. I’m just me.