I wrote this in my journal at 60 days clean from substance use.
It felt terrific this morning to attend a 12 step meeting and feeling the support and love in the room was a great way to start my day. I am exhausted, however, and moody and tempted. I feel tremendous resentment presently toward my addiction. It has been a long week. My emotions are sneaking up on me like never before. I dealt with a grief filled anniversary on Tuesday and realized I have never faced these things without a substance to escape to. I am not comfortable being unable to hold back tears when sharing the story of losing my Dad. Its not that I don’t show my emotions, I just do it with a control I am not feeling presently due to the nature of early recovery and emotional instability. I was 18 when he had a massive heart attack and shockingly died. I made all the calls to family and friends with strength and ensured I was there for my mother and my family.
This is how I deal with things, by supporting others and for the most part denying myself. I have carried that practice throughout my losses, of which there have been many. I had a funeral home director tell me he should not know someone so young so well. It is now many years later and I view the first losses as preparation in regard to handling more. The ultimate loss of a baby, was something I was convinced I could not live through, but by that time I understood how to experience and move through grief. It was the single worst experience of my life. I chose to deal with it alone and knew I had to truly feel it and move through it, giving to myself the courage I had previously given to others. I needed to do it alone because I believed that was the only way I could really open up to what I was feeling. I have faced loss with strength and grace, but at the same time alone and with substances to soften some of the pain when I chose to escape for a moment. I realize now choosing substance over the compassion of others was false.
My heart still has empty spaces for each person I miss, and for me I wish they did not have to move on before I was ready to let go. I believe, though, they were a part of my life for the time that was meant to be and I hold the beautiful memories I have close. I realize before I crossed a line into harder drugs, I managed my life, falling only at times into alcohol or marijuana, deluding myself to the first degree. Choosing that escape as a temporary relief did not compromise my values, although it could lead to confusing my thoughts and gave me opportunity not to feel. Once I opened the door to deep addiction, I crossed a line that makes it impossible to risk looking to temporary escape in any substance, as it will give my addiction permission to again control my emotions. The temporary escape was an illusion anyway, and it lead me to welcoming the absence of feelings brought on by using crack and cocaine.
Having feelings back in my life and having to live them on their own terms is, at times, debilitating. Even the smallest irritations seem overwhelming presently. I know this is only temporary and I reach for the days there is more space between myself and my addiction. I accept this frustration is a natural part of my recovery and it makes sense that I ride a roller-coaster of emotion that feels beyond my control. Control has been the biggest driving force in my life and my addiction. Need for control is the catalyst for the addictive behaviours that led me to hard drugs.
At 60 day,s I am seeing myself open up to the support of others and it is not my norm. I understand much of my irritation today is resistance to the possibility of having my needs met by giving up some self-reliance. My ego does not allow me to think I need the same things I give to others, and I know I have to change that. In order to find true recovery and to live a life that is real I need to reconnect with myself, people and spirit. It is all around me for my acknowledgment; and I am willing. Lack of patience is not an easy human trait to overcome, and I am realizing I am human, and need to be easier on myself. Strength and courage has longevity in acceptance and unity.
It is after midnight now, so it is day 61 and I will make my focus today on simplicity and being in the moment. I am grateful for the possibilities that are ahead and the hope recovery brings to my future. The resistance to change is part of the process, as is the feeling of being exposed to the world in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable way. As I move through the anniversaries of clean time and of loss, I will open myself to the support that is all around me while continuing to feel the joy of giving to others in the same way. I initially titled this 60 days and NOT what I am reaching for and I just had to take not out of it because as I wrote this, I moved through it and came to an understanding that will allow me to fall asleep peacefully instead of fighting myself and my thoughts.