The first time I tasted alcohol, it was rude. Tears sprang to my eyes as the harsh, alcohol fumes penetrated my nose and burned the back of my throat. I was fourteen years old and I’d just pilfered a bottle from my parent’s alcohol cabinet. The alcohol, along with the cigarettes I’d helped myself to, made me feel cool. I was a hip, happening chic, who was about to make a big fool of myself.
My friends and I met in a back alley and passed the bottle around. To add to the experience, we spun in circles hoping it would enhance the buzz. I’d learn later on that I’d get the same effect when I drank and smoked pot. Dizziness and alcohol weren’t my friend.
I said things; I’d later regret and acted in a way that was anything but cool.
Booze made me bullet proof. I was strong, courageous, smart and pretty. It was my equalizer. Without it, I was diminished, less than and somewhat anxious.
Over the years I turned to alcohol and drugs to solve all of my problems. If I was having relationships issues, I drank. If I was hung-over, I’d take a pill. If I couldn’t sleep, I’d smoke a joint. If I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, I’d snort a line of coke.
It seemed there wasn’t anything alcohol and drugs couldn’t cure. Trouble was – they came with a cost. They were greedy and took up more and more of my time. I cheated, lied and stole for them. I was manipulative, abusive, and mean. I began to wonder if I was sociopathic. My behaviours were unhealthy, my moods erratic, and I could only love you, when I was under the influence.
Sober, I was miserable, tense, uptight, anxious and fearful.
Sadly, my cure was killing me.
It was many years later I learned about the void I carried within. It was a hole that substance provided a temporary relief, from.
But substance was not the cure. It was the band aid. Like any wound left untreated, it began to fester. Putting a band aid on it – numbed the pain. And I never noticed the poison, was multiplying.
When I went to rehab, I learned about this empty space within me. It was a hole in my soul that I couldn’t fill with men, money, booze or drugs.
I was spiritually bankrupt.
My peers and counselor encouraged me to share. I was asked to tell the truth about the way I thought, felt and the things I did.
It was pretty scary. I’d never told anyone those things before. At least, not sober. The more I shared, the less alone I felt. There was a sense of connection – one that didn’t come with a hangover.
When I felt anxious, I didn’t try to hide it. Instead, I shared it. The anxiety lessened. I learned that by hiding things, we give them power.
When I had a dishonest thought, I told on myself.
When I made a mistake, I made amends.
I’d always felt bad, wrong, and different than others. The shame I’d carried within was diminished each time I exposed it. Shame can only exist in dark, hidden places. It was uncomfortable. I’m not gonna lie. But the rewards were starting to outweigh the discomfort.
I developed a heightened sense of awareness. I felt alive and worthy. Every time I found the courage to be real, I blossomed. What other people thought of me began to matter less, than what I thought of myself.
For the first time in my life, I dug in my heels and fought… for me, not against me.
I quit letting fear run the show and grabbed hold of faith.
Faith was my safety blanket. With it, I could do anything. I could get up on shaking legs and share my experience at a podium, in front of hundreds of people. Faith never laughed at me, judged me or called me names.
Faith gave me a sense of meaning and purpose. I could help others, and find forgiveness. The hole in me didn’t stand a chance. Instead of pouring poison into it, faith filled it with love.
I woke up spiritually. Colors turned back on. Life was precious, not just something to be gotten through. I quit trudging the road of life, and began to dance.
Living life to our full potential is what we were brought here to do.
Anything less and we need to numb out by self-medicating through substance, or unhealthy behaviors.
Just as our physical bodies need food, so do our spiritual bodies, need nourishing.
There is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem – Anonymous.
If my hole had persisted, I’d be doomed. There was no way to be happy, healthy and sober, with it.
I spent many years looking for my next fix.
Thankfully, professional help, honesty, nature, meditation, prayer, helping others and unconditional love, were the fix, to this spiritually bankrupt addict.
If you or someone you know needs help please call this confidential line for assistance. (615) 208-2941.