Recovery Event. I wish you had been there!

Tonight I took 4 of the sober living house ladies to a recovery event in my hometown. I listened to the woman that took me to my first NA meeting for school talk tonight & give her story. Inspirational doesn’t capture her! Amazing to hear how she went from using to getting arrested to going to jail, to being mandated into Detox & 28 day treatment program. Back to jail but then…. once out. She connected with NA. Changed her life. I attended her 25th year sobriety NA meeting the most profound thing she said was… Hi 25 years, I am an addict! After 25 years of being sober from crack & cocaine she still sees herself as an addict. This same woman heads up a Crisis Intervention Team, she now and I quote her…. *25 years later I now train the officers that arrested me; on how to interact with mental illness & addiction clients* She is one of the most powerful & inspiring women I have ever meet. She advocates & empowers staff, clients & community members to do more, be more, see the need & acknowledge the fact & possibility that every single one of us could be where she once was!

Then this young guy got up. He is from was from a neighboring county; and told his story. He started using at age of 10. Ten years old! I can’t imagine….

Then…. He started stealing from his parents. He said. *I later learn I have OCD & Anxiety disorder, I grew up in a house where you strive to be perfect or nothing at all*….(I thought about you)… this young man talked how he was cocky and smug in that he had a 4.2 GPA & was getting high everyday he said, *I thought hey not only am I getting wasted but I am still better than most of my classmates* This young man talked about how he would steal from his moms purse at 2 am, to get high only to then; at 7 am help her look for the purse* He talked about the shame, guilt of his actions to this day.

He was nominated for a military scholarship and went into the military. He went into not sure; I think Navy…. He talked about how he continued to use during his service he stated, *I got in trouble still used (2) 1st class pettie officers dragged my ass back to base, i was told by the military you will go in for treatment… 3 months from now! Not today, next week… 3 months later* He said that was worst thing they could say to him… he checked his bank account & planned out how high he could get the next 3 months till; when he was to enter treatment & he did just that. He is still just a kid to me… 24 now I think. He entered treatment and he said *coming from the military… they don’t believe in treatment, problem? What problem … suck it up & deal* then he said growing up in good *well off*, and a very; all or nothing family of all over achievers again… problem? What problem?… He went into treatment mad at the world not wanting treatment not ready for treatment & mad as hell at anybody that talked of *god*… (I couldn’t help but think of you!the entire time he spoke I wanted to call you or grab you & have you there to hear him talk)…. I could see you in this man…..
He finally went to a NA meeting & there he really got involved and started working his recovery. He did find God, & said it has truly helped him overcome but that *if anyone mentioned God to him in the beginning he was ready for them, chew them up & down* He also pointed out, God alone wasn’t enough but he had to engage in treatment & medicine; this again stilled in him Addictionis a Disease. Not a choice! (I could almost hear you talking in parts of his story)…. He talked how AA did nothing for him. He got high while attending. But for whatever reason NA impacted him. (I thought about you & you saying how you would spike the coffee at AA, not ready for treatment not really wanting treatment but forced into treatment) I hear different clients say they prefer AA or NA or Celebrate Recovery…. I think it is just being ready to change & be held accountable by a peer group you feel accepted in. (My 2 cents)…. Finding what works for you!
He said he has started & failed & stop & restarted college 3 times. He said he feels he is behind. Behind in life compared to his peers or where he feels he should be. With his Anxiety & OCD & need for perfection he struggles… (I think you can identify with him on this)… (I see you do this… give up before you start… because you feel the need to be perfect or meet everyone’s expectations! I see you struggle with this!)
I wish you had been there. I think you need to hear this!
I know I said I wasn’t going to write. But I just couldn’t help but think about you & wish you had been there! The ladies I took… some were not in a good place mentally before the meeting. Struggling with being in treatment, staying sober, some had been in the program for a month or longer, some just a few days or week. They all thanked me for taking them. Hearing those stories, hearing that everyone from every background in any family, community, home struggles with addiction… Hearing that it wasn’t too late to change their lives! Hearing the speakers talk about the things they did, the people they were as addicts… & hearing them say… *I wasn’t proud, I am still not proud of what I did then* but that… they don’t regret their life. It brought them through, to where they needed to be. To finally want to get help. That moment that they said… *enough… I have had enough, I don’t want to steal, sell myself, barter, beg, to get high anymore… I don’t want to lose anything else* that it took them getting down to that point, realizing that being high made them *feel good, in the moment* but reality came crashing down hard! Then they realized…. *I was self medicating, I didn’t feel good about myself, I was trying to numb the pain* one of the most powerful statements was… *I never grew up dreaming of becoming an addict*…
What each found was that in recovery, working recovery. Telling their story made them strong, made them learn to love themselves again. Giving back helped keep them accountable. The young man stated *I am now a junior at College, everyday I walk in & I want to quit! I want to throw in the towel. It’s too hard, I am too far behind, it’s no use*… But that he has to remind himself… *you have already dropped out 3 times… enough… you are going to finish this!* He has had to learn that not everything has to be perfect. That he struggles with this daily several times a day with this; his mind & thoughts of having to be perfect! He has had to learn about his anxiety disorder & OCD that he had to become ok with taking medication coming from a military background where that doesn’t exist. He said he has to remind himself this is a disease! When he came from the thought that addiction was a choice. He stated… *At age 10 I chose to do drugs, then it was no longer a choice…. I had to do drugs*….
The ladies I took to the event, they were inspired. They entered the event with their heads down, feeling less than… They left heads held high, walked taller, they felt hopeful! Like life was not over, they can overcome this.
On the ride home…. one girl got a call from a friend still using. I listened to her tell him, she had enough, she been trying to get clean for a year now. She finally kicked everyone out her home. She told him she entered treatment program & sober living. She told him as he was debating with her why she needed to go into sober living. She stated. *I can’t get clean at home with everyone dropping by wanting to use, I have to stop trying to help others, because they all just want me to use* I commented to her.. *They dont want you to get clean, because they are still using, nobody wants to get high alone or be the only one partying… people want others doing bad with them to feel validated in their choices*
I listened to her tell her friend that she was getting clean for herself this time & then telling him about the speakers & how she was going to change her life do things differently this time. Two of the ladies, had a friend overdose this week. That friend died. To hear them go through the cycle of emotions, guilt, anger, sadness, grief; self blame……
That girl told the guy as we pulled in. *I am changing who I hang around, I am going to recovery events, AA, NA, Treatment hanging around people in recovery working recovery, trying to stay sober.* Then I smiled as she told him he needs to get sober & into recovery before something bad happens that he was one step away from using too much or getting into trouble! (I again thought about you! How I couldn’t wait to get home and write to you telling you why you should have been there!!!)

I really hope you reach your bottom before it’s too late! I pray for the day you come find me to say… you’re sober! You’ve changed your life! I want this for you more than anything… Because I love you!
I know your worth, your value! I see you & I know there is nothing you cannot overcome! You amaze me at how smart & resilient you are!
I just really wish you had been there! I really want to just take you to a meeting. Sit with you & remind you when I see you start to get antsy… You got this! You can do this… I believe in you!!!
Because…. I do! Soo believe in you. I don’t care what you have done… I know with faith & determination God has plans for you soo much larger than you, yourself know!
I believe that!
You are always… & Forever in my heart!

#recovery #recoveryawareness #sfami #aa #na #addiction #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawareness #faith #hope #mentalhealth #mindfulness #momentsintime #mirrorimages #insidemymind #inspiring #motivating #stopthestigma #breakthestigmaofaddiction #healthycopingskills #healthyboundaries #healing

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