God, Drugs and Thugs – My Messy Beautiful

4e67614cfe13a73a2b81c15780fa8395I read something this morning that took me back 5 years, 9 months and 20 days – to a moment which is never too far from my consciousness. As I approach my sixth year clean and sober, the image burned into my mind on June 17th, 2008, doesn’t haunt me like it once did. That skeletal frame, covered with bruises and track marks no longer chases me, fearfully, toward sobriety. The hollow, lifeless eyes are no longer black holes threatening to swallow me whole unless I begin sprinting toward a spiritual life. No, today the memory brings up a feeling of sorrowful gratitude. The girl in the mirror has sunk to such a low point that she can’t even recognize herself anymore. Absolutely nothing in her life makes sense anymore. Once upon a time, she was really something. She “coulda’ been a contender.” On this day, though, she has finally lost her last shred of dignity. Unable to even locate a vein capable of receiving the drugs she has been using to numb all the pain of her guilt and shame, she sinks to the floor and sobs inconsolably for hours on end. I cannot begin to express the love and admiration I have toward this woman in this moment when she finally admitted defeat.

I slept through the whole next day and on Thursday, June 19th, I showed up at my first AA meeting with 40 hours clean and sober. I often describe my bottom as sort of falling off a cliff and then bouncing a few times. As stubborn as I’ve always been, I had to go off and do a few more stupid things before I finally admitted with every fiber of my being that I was the one who had brought myself to this point. I couldn’t blame anyone else anymore. This was my life and I had to take responsibility for it. It wasn’t until after that first meeting where I admitted not that I was an alcoholic, but rather a heroin addict (oh yes, I’m terminally unique) that I made some bad choices which finally cost me my job, drove me to uncontrollable suicidal ideation and landed me in detox. EVEN THEN, I had to have one more go at a night of partying before early in the morning of July 2nd, 2008, I finally realized, “I can do none of it. It’s not just the drugs; I can’t drink anymore, either.” I crawled into another meeting with my tail between my legs on July 3rd, eleven days before my 30th birthday, and I haven’t had a drink or a drug since.

“You’re only as sick as your secrets,” we often say in recovery. I knew firsthand how true that was. Nearing the end, I somehow knew that if I could just say the words, then I would be freed. I simply couldn’t let down my guard to show anyone the truth that they already knew. Those first few months sober, I HAD no secrets. I was so scared of ever going back to that lifestyle that I shared everything with everyone! Accountability was my thing now. I crossed the line of TMI so dramatically, so often, that the “normies” in my life steered clear of me for fear of what I may say next! I couldn’t care less, though, because the more people who knew what was going on with me, the more people I would have to hide any backsliding from.

I lived for sobriety! I did 90 meetings in 90 days (plus a few more, just for good measure). I got a sponsor. I worked steps. I read the book with a pen and highlighter in hand. I shared in meetings (I over-shared and spewed emotional vomit along with expressing my ecstatic spiritual realizations). I got a home group (and a second one, just to be sure). I prayed (on my knees, even). I meditated and journalled. I got involved. I even made my bed every morning because one of our old-timers always says, “Make your bed because you’re the one who slept in it!” (I’m sure he means this more figuratively, but I did it literally, too, just in case – and I still do).

The pendulum swings, though, and I eventually calmed down on the over-sharing and the radical sobriety, in general. Though I have not had to relapse (yet), I have hit many emotional bottoms through the years. I’ve also experienced extreme spiritual highs. I still struggle to find balance. Sobriety is not my everything anymore, but it is the foundation upon which I have built the rest of my life. The principles I have learned in recovery are the ones which guide all my thoughts and actions (at least when I’m not resting on my laurels or sitting on my pity pot). My rollercoaster life looks a lot more like a leisurely drive through the hills now. I still have my ups and downs, but they aren’t as dramatic anymore. And I don’t feel like I’m about to lose my lunch or be thrown from my seat!

The most important thing I’ve had to learn from this experience is that I can’t hide the ugliness anymore. The fears, the resentments, the guilt and shame, it all has to be acknowledged in the light of day. Whatever I try to hide will destroy me from the inside. You’d think after all the painful, horrendous consequences I’ve endured, that I’d have this lesson down pat. Alas, I am a stubborn alcoholic and I still think I can get away with things from time to time. I am not perfect. And it is okay to let you know this about me. I stumble sometimes and occasionally shoot myself in the foot. Life happens. And sometimes when it does, it throws me for a loop. So long as I remain Honest, Open-minded and Willing, though, I can survive any storm. Just like Glennon says, “Life is brutiful,” and that is nothing to hide.

Today, I am proud to take part in the “Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project.”
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164 responses to “God, Drugs and Thugs – My Messy Beautiful”

  1. pamgood says :

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. asifemily says :

    I stumble sometimes and occasionally shoot up in my foot…well done for so long sober. It’s not an easy path x

    • littleman031103 says :

      No, it’s not always easy, especially in the beginning. But it is completely worth it. It’s a little pain for a pleasurable life. Much more fulfilling than the little pleasures for a life filled with pain. You can make it, but you have to want it more than you want the drugs. That’s a hard place to get to. I pray you do, though, before it’s too late. <3

  3. made2oneimage says :

    Thank you for sharing! “You are only as sick as your secrets”…that hit home. Powerful. Going on almost 6yrs myself

  4. dancinmoma says :

    Thank you for sharing your “Messy Beautiful.” Everyone has a story and I’m so thankful to have read yours.
    I was also a part of the #CarryonWarrior project and have been inspired to my core. Here’s my little more humorous post :) –> http://wp.me/p39Wdr-dl :)

    • littleman031103 says :

      Glennon was so amazing to do that for us! My tiny little corner of the blogosphere has just blown up because of the Messy, Beautiful Project! And thank you for sharing yours with me. Dance On, Warrior! ;)

  5. Eddie says :

    Thank you! U have inspired me to live a sober life.

  6. saveawoman says :

    Reblogged this on Save A Woman – Save The World! and commented:
    It’s good to come up kicking! Great blog!

  7. beautifulbipolar1 says :

    This coming up Memorial Day weekend I hit a rock bottom 4 years ago my family didn’t even think I’d survive. We’re here though and the show must go on! Congratulations on 5 almost 6 year’s sober lady! That is a wonderful accomplishment!

    • littleman031103 says :

      It’s amazing the depths we can sink to. And it’s even more amazing what we can overcome! Congratulations on the upcoming 4 years away from the lowest you’ll ever have to go. :)

  8. judyjourneys says :

    In an effort to help him, I revealed the family’s secret shame of alcoholism when my father was being overdrugged in a nursing home. After he died, I published it to the whole world in my book (http://www.amazon.com/Before-Door-Closes-Daughters-Alcoholic/dp/1490808949/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397763523&sr=1-1&keywords=judith+hall+simon), One of the reasons was that I want the world to know that alcoholics and the elderly are not throwaways. I want them to understand a man who did the best he could with the disease he had.

  9. indiansaffron says :

    Reblogged this on Indian Saffron.. by prenita dutt and commented:
    Brutiful, beautiful… honest..

  10. gnovember says :

    So emotional, thanks for sharing. All the best with your journey!

  11. vavavoom23 says :

    I love stumbling onto beautiful, inspirational blogs like this. Thank you.

  12. Dionne says :

    Thanks for sharing your story. My mom is approaching 15 years next month. My sister and I have been with her all the way through her recovery. Thanks for your encouraging words. I’ll be sure to share with her

  13. Megan L. says :

    I’m from class of “03” and every minute is a journey. My goal now is to leave the illusion of perfection and master the art of being meaningful :) http://meaningfulmommy.wordpress.com/

    • Laurie G.F. says :

      The illusion of perfection is just that – illusion. Chasing perfection was one of the biggest things which brought me down so low. Today, I just try to be as real as possible. Chasing after illusions just keeps me living in lies. Thank you for sharing. :)

  14. stardustlost says :

    Your story is the story of a warrior. I was looking for something like that. You are a very strong woman and like I always say : once u touch the bottom u can only go up. I wish I could tell and do that to myself

    • Laurie G.F. says :

      We teach best what we most need to learn, eh? We can’t do this life alone. Whatever you’re struggling with, swallow your pride & ask for help. It’s not easy, but it’s how we learn to live. <3

  15. T.KATLIN says :

    This is nothing but amazing and Such a great read! Thank you for sharing this !

  16. Heidy L. McCallum says :

    this is one of the best blogs that I’ve read in a long time, thank you for sharing your story.

  17. lloydnels says :

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. It is good to share our experiences with others. My sobriety date is Oct. 31, 1980. God bless you.

  18. lloydnels says :

    Reblogged this on Hot Reliable Health Reviews and commented:
    This is a beautiful testimony that needs to be shared.

  19. mariadennett says :

    This is a good read and an inspiration. X

      • mariadennett says :

        You are welcome. I have a brother who is a chronic alcoholic and a nephew who is/was a heroin addict and it’s so amazing to see you have taken control back over your own life. Life is really tough and with an addiction on top, that’s a double or in your case a triple whammy! Keep up the good work and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! All my positive vibes coming your way! X

  20. nicoleh26 says :

    You got this Gods got a great plan

  21. Michael Whelton says :

    “Messy- beautiful ” is such an honest account of your recovery.

  22. theunspokentruth12 says :

    Reblogged this on theunspokentruth12 and commented:
    “Whatever I try to hide will destroy me inside”
    Great Post!!!!!!!!

  23. sdhaw says :

    Keep going….all d best

  24. Michelle says :

    That was beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve been sober (alcohol) since June 19, 2006. I woke up that morning and just said no more…I can’t do this anymore. I’m sick of being sick. I’m tired of hiding and lying and being drunk every night. And I never once looked back.

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