Something nice happened this evening. As I was watching my daughter drift off to sleep, trying to shake off the stale feelings inside of me that sometimes happen, my mind started to replay all of the wonders that have happened in my life, all the things that carried me to where I am today. I will say that some of this stuff is hard to write, but at the same time, it’s very therapeutic. Rewind to close to seven years ago.
I was very sick. My drug addiction and alcoholism was literally killing me. At this time I was in and out of detoxes, had gone to treatment, but sobriety just didn’t hold. I lost my job of 6 years, my daughter was living with my mom and I chose to disappear from her world, I had no stable place to live, and I was hopeless. I eventually abandoned all and decided to drown myself in substance. Drown. I consciously disengaged from life. No phone, no home, no money, just a bad checkbook. Suicide was a daily thought I struggled with, but instead of acting on it, I put more drugs in my body in hopes to alleviate my pain. It was desperate. I threw up blood everyday. I couldn’t eat. It hurt to walk. The daylight seemed to shame me for what I had become.
But then something happened.
My one link to the outside world was my email account. I checked in one night, and there was a message from Child Protection. An investigator was trying to locate me, and also informed me that a case had been opened against me. Now, whenever I get to this part of my story, I’m filled with awe. For some reason I responded to this investigator, even though my mode of operation was to run. I faced up and met with this woman, I told her how sick I was, how sad I was, and how hopeless I was. Something in the Universe gave me the courage and push to be honest. I surrendered, and at that point knew I had it in me to live.
Through county assistance (rule 25), I was placed in a long term treatment that helped me put the pieces of my life back together. After my 90 day stay, treatment found an apartment for me to live in that was for women and their families who had experienced addiction and homelessness. The rent? 30% of my income, no matter what I was making. $0 income = $0 rent. It took the pressure off of making money, and gave me valuable time to focus on my recovery. I began to attend 12 step groups. I asked a woman to be my sponsor and she looked me dead in the eye and said, “are you willing to do ANYTHING to stay sober?” I replied, “yes.” I started doing the work.
My daughter began to stay with me, she began to trust that I wasn’t going away again. I was on my own journey of forgiving myself for what I had put her through, how I hadn’t been there. I had missed her so much, and every moment with her was gold. I was given the gift of that sight.
Things began to come together. I got a job scrubbing toilets, which honestly I am grateful for. It taught me about humility and showing up to do a good job, no matter what job I’m doing. It stripped me of my ego in the best possible way.
My family began to forgive me. I had hurt everyone and there was a lot of anger to work through. They loved me through all of this, and I had to learn to be okay with them feeling however they felt.
My relationship with my partner grew. We learned we could love each other without drugs. Seriously, that was tough. I didn’t know if we were going to make it, and I had gotten to a point where I was okay with that. Part of me thinks our relationship survived because I was willing to let it go for my sobriety.
Fast forward to the present.
I am still sober. My daughter is thriving. I have a job I care about. My partner is an amazing man. My relationships with my family are genuine and warm. We have a pit bull rescue that needed our help to be rehabilitated, and we did it, and she lives a good life now.
I still have to work hard for my sobriety. My challenges today aren’t how to not pick up a drug, but how to stay spiritually fit in this new life I have. It can be difficult! Life gets good and I want to relax, but when I stop doing the work, I start to feel uncomfortable. What I’ve found helpful is staying active in recovery in several ways: I meet with my sponsor, bring meetings to detox centers with my home group, and I’m very open about my history in hopes that it could help someone, or take away the stigma. Also, I have to stay flexible and open to change. What worked for me at 1 year sober doesn’t necessarily work today. They say it’s a journey for a reason.
I feel better after writing this out vs. when I began. There is tremendous healing, acceptance, and HOPE in sharing our stories.
Thank you for reading.
My name is Hannah, and I’ve been sober since May 23rd, 2011.