It can be overwhelming to look into the face of addiction and vow “never again.”
I remember when I left Dallas headed for rehab in New York. My intention was that I would be gone from the city and people that I loved for the minimum required stay of 6 months and then I would return. My plan was to go clear up the pesky cocaine business I’d so apparently lost control of and then get on with my life. I had no concept of reality. I had no way of knowing that when I changed, everything would change.
I didn’t know, as I was driven, weeping, out of the city that day, that I had become an alcoholic. I didn’t understand that, in my addiction, I had built a world around myself that supported my addicted behaviors and that helped me stay as sick as I wanted to be. I had no idea that beneath all of the drugs and the drinking, beneath the promiscuity and the violence, underneath everything that created the life that defined me, was a self-loathing little girl who had done everything she could to avoid fixing herself. That sort of awareness only comes with hindsight.
I’m certain that had I known ahead of time that my sobriety would encompass alcohol as well, I never would have gone. I wouldn’t have been able to wrap my head around the idea of a future without drinking – what a boring, pedestrian life that would be. At the time, I couldn’t imagine a world that didn’t include all of the excitement of the nightlife, all of the dangers of the sparkling underground.
I’ve gotten several emails from people looking for… something. There are questions about how I did it, how I manage to do it still. There are confessions of individual failings and struggles. There are people looking to just tell their story, people looking to know that someone understands the chaos that comes with the dawning awareness of a problem needing attention. These people are afraid. It is an overwhelming thing to look your addiction in the face and say “never again.”
I certainly have no easy answers. There is no simple solution that leads to joyful sobriety and guarantees a successful future. The path to sobriety that I know involves a lot of saying goodbye, a lot of heartache and turmoil, and a lot of learning humility.
I believe a few things, though. I believe that addiction is most often a symptom of an emotional injury and that it takes more than willpower to stay sober, it takes healing of my heart and mind to stay well. I believe that when I fall, I must get back up again. I believe that I would not be able to stay sober without my diverse support system. I believe that I would not be alive today were it not for God.
I believe that sobriety is the most worthwhile thing that I have ever achieved in my life. I believe that it is worth every moment of heartache, past and present. I believe that each and every person who desires wholeness can ultimately achieve it.
I believe in your ability to be whole. I hope that you do, too.
- I want to drink. (I do not drink). (redeemedsocialite.com)