Airing it all out.
Time to air my dirty laundry… Just kidding. The following is a mouth (or finger?) full. If you don’t care? Feel free to scroll on by.
Social media can be very one sided. Sometimes it may look happy go lucky but not actually be. I’m not one to post about my personal life on a timeline. However, I would like to write this post in hopes to shed light, create normalcy, shatter complacency, & potentially help someone. Many people are still ignorant to the correlation between mental health & substance abuse. As I struggle to gain back what I once had I can see many colleagues, friends, and acquaintances mirroring those similar issues.
Since moving back to Indiana I had relapsed into substance abuse after dealing with a pretty significant family member’s health decline & another’s death. This time the substance of abuse had change to alcohol. Side note… You shouldn’t assume you know what an addict looks like. We all come in different shapes, sizes, & lifestyles. Our substances all very. & we can be very good at concealing. Along this time of grieving & dealing… My mental health started to decline and/or shifted from severe (often immobilizing) depression that resulted in physical illness. During this year stretch only less than a handful of people knew, dealt with it, or suffered the consequences of my actions… For that I’m very sorry. Apologies can only help so much. I had friendships & relationships dwindle away. I had people throw my past addiction (8 years ago) in my face & compare it to the current to ridicule my success rate. Which in essence fueled my mental health into a downward spiral.
Being back home was very hard. The past kept finding little ways to creep into current life once again. I won’t go into too much detail but in the past I’ve dealt with homelessness, sexual assault, & a prescription medication problem that all happened while living in Indiana. I have worked very hard to improve my way of life. Moving back to the Midwest for family was the hardest decision of my life. Therefore, anytime a past ghost would appear… I would drink until I felt numb or blacked out. My usual silly, fun-loving drunken demeanor began to morph to bits of anger or emotional outbursts. I’ve gotten into shouting matches, crossed boundaries, & physical violence without even remembering almost a single thing. It is hard to deal with the past as it weasels it’s way back just to create chaos. Chaos will ensue if you let it. If it still gets under your skin. On top of it everything, I had to find my place here again. Where I fit in. The world moved forward & I didn’t know where to stand. Also, It didn’t help that I had one foot out the door the whole time. The support system I thought I had was no longer there. Unlikely characters became my unsung heroes towards the end. Towards my decision to better myself. They were the ones that didn’t have snide remarks like, “Yeah. I’ll see you with a drink in hand next week.” They were the ones telling me I deserve better. They were the ones texting me during my detox asking how I felt. They were the ones inviting me out even though they knew I just wanted to lie in bed. They were/are the light I look for instead of a feeling of instant gratification followed with a hangover & hair of the dog.
There are coworkers and friends that have said, “Hey, I drink a lot… Am I an addict?” The response I give is, “You’re an addict once you can’t function with out it or it inhibits your everyday life.” That can come in different amounts & vices. Mental illness is major part of my life. Instead of keeping up with my lifestyle techniques to help ease symptoms… I started to self medicate. Anytime I felt a feeling I didn’t want. Anytime I wanted to celebrate. Anytime I wanted to relax. Anytime I felt out of control… I drank. See where this is going? Addict is a word I’ve just started normalizing with myself. Starting a little under 50 days ago to be exact. In the past year I’ve made cries for help but still circled back. As a friend… The only thing you can do is be a support system. There has to be something that clicks in an addicts head saying I NEED TO STOP & THIS TIME I’M GOING TO DO IT. I was spending hundreds of dollars on alcohol a week. Finally realizing I couldn’t create my dreams into realities if I continued to be frivolous with money & those I care for. I’m not going to lie… This blog took several attempts, internal questions, and tears before posting . This isn’t a “hey look at me!” This isn’t a “my struggle is worse than your struggle.” This isn’t a way to get pity. This is an opportunity to share a brief unfiltered story of my life. Sharing with my social media community not everything is always sunshine and rainbows. Not everything is black and white. However, positivity & positive environments are key. We all can cultivate a greater life for ourselves. Here’s to the possibility of potentially helping some!
Catch ya on the flip side!