Ever since moving to Boston on December 1st, I rushed into every decision I made, from where I would live to what I would do for work. My pride kicked in, telling me that after 9 years of professional experience I must pick up where I left off after leaving New York City last July. I looked at everyone around me, comparing myself to others my age. I looked at what they did, what they had, how they acted. Why wasn’t I as far ahead as they were?
Comparison is the thief of joy.
It was too fast. I never gave myself time to heal. Time to heal from years of pain, addiction and relationships. Time to learn more about myself. Time to focus on me. Instead, I skipped several steps in my own recovery, thinking I had it down- I jumped right into my new life in Boston and immediately tried to take care of everyone around me, forgetting about my own self care.
On Monday, June 26th I received news that my father’s younger brother passed away. He had been ill for quite some time, but at 63 years old he passed far too young. One week later, I learned that my ex boyfriend- my last real relationship- passed from liver disease. We lived fast and hard in New York City- but despite the drinks and the parties, I somehow decided to give that life up. He never did.
As I sit here on this Saturday morning, the day of Uncle Jack’s funeral in Kentucky, I am filled with sadness. I’m unable to be with my family today, but I find comfort in knowing that they are proud of me for being here in Boston and finally- I hope- learning to stand on my own two feet, do the next right thing and live a healthy life.
I’ve had a wonderful support system here in Massachusetts. Never in my life have I had such a sincere, sober, healthy group of people to talk to and help me get through life on life’s terms. The deaths of both Jack and Joe break my heart, yet make me extremely grateful for my health and my own recovery. Although I have never written about my own struggles, I feel now it is time. Throughout my entire life I have tried to cover up any weaknesses or insecurities with a smile, a great outfit or an impressive job. A dear friend sat me down yesterday and gave me one of the most real talks of my life, asking a very important question:
“Who are you trying to prove yourself to?”
She was right. She advised me to take some time to heal, focus on getting a new routine, and most importantly- learn to relax. She gave me a pair of sweatpants and told me to stop wearing dresses every day. I laughed, saying “but dresses are so easy!”
“STOP. Chill. You’re a mess right now- and you’re allowed to be. Just relax.”
What a concept.
As I sit and drink my coffee in the backyard, tears fill my eyes for the second time since losing my uncle and friend. I know God has given me two angels, looking out for me every step of the way. Perhaps I will learn to relax- but it will take time. For now, I’ll just allow myself to cry.
I will be okay, one day at a time.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please reach out before it is too late.