They say relapse happens long before you pick up the object of your addiction. It isn’t about the drink, the drug, or the habit- it’s about that void, fear, trauma, or insecurity inside your soul that leads to self destruction. It’s not about what you put inside your body; the real demon is what’s going on inside your mind.
My own self sabotage began long before I began drinking heavily in August (right after my last blog post), which didn’t stop until the very end of the month. Truth be told, the mental relapse started weeks before I left my law firm job in June. It was a long, slow, subconscious snowball effect.
I went from the cheerful marketing girl who enjoyed sharing life lessons, new age wisdom, and an overall optimistic attitude with the team- which later would be shot down. I secretly became resentful and bitter. What was wrong with me? Why don’t they like me? This had been a common theme of mine ever since I was young- I was scared of rejection and always felt different.
I put on an aloof “I didn’t like it here anyway” attitude and quit after my wonderful June weekend in NYC. That will show them! After leaving, I felt rejuvenated- until bills needed to be paid and rent was due.
Needless to say, dreams, writing, and gold painted canvases don’t make you financially secure overnight- but adding vodka nips to the mix didn’t make the bills go away, either.
At the end of July, I had no idea what to do or how to tame my anxiety. I felt hopeless for the entire month of August. So, I drank- and life got exponentially worse. I messed up in many ways, and I knew it- although I’ve messed up so many times before, in the past I quickly picked myself back up with financial support thanks to others, a convincing mask, and a strong will.
Yet I kept making the same mistakes over and over. And over. And over.
Year after year I have gone through this- my insecurities, stubbornness, and fear of rejection lead me to leave a job or project- sometimes even an entire city- to run from my worst enemy: me.
Sometimes a miracle happens, though.
I had a moment by the water on August 29th with one of my friends who drank the way I did. I had been hiding out for days; I was avoiding family, friends, and my landlord, not knowing what to do. I did know I would find solace at Mystic Lakes on that sweltering 98 degree day, though. We chatted as we sat near some rocks in the shallow area, discussing life and all the mistakes we had made. As I watched “normal,” functional people jet skiing by, waving to us with smiles on their faces, I felt a sinking pit in my stomach. Oh, how I wanted to feel like a functional person in society again.
Something happened by the water that day, though. Instead of immediately thinking to drown my sadness with another sip of vodka, I suddenly wanted to make a change. It was almost instant after I stepped back on to the sand. After 33 years, I was ready to take off the mask and show everyone who I am- no more putting on a smile or sharing an inspirational message to cover up that I was broken inside.
Something happened by the water that day, and I know a higher power, the universe, and nature lead me there to cleanse my soul of grey and give me a sign to do things differently this time. This time, there needed to be a different way.
I packed my things and made arrangements for them to go to storage (thanks to my dear friends) and left my apartment in Medford on August 31st. I’ll miss that little place, but I know it was time to move on.
I am still in Boston, but I needed more help than I could receive on my own. I have spent the past three weeks focusing on my own personal recovery, complete with a strong support network and an immense amount of outside resources- not something I could receive isolating at home behind my laptop, stressing about finances, or sitting in an office job.
For years I’ve tried to be strong on my own, pushed people away, or avoided true connection, but those factors are what quickly (and inevitably) lead to relapse and self destruction.
I can’t heal alone.
I was always scared of being 100% honest, but today I’m no longer afraid. This is my life, and I am no longer scared to let people know that I, too, need help. Although I pushed it away for years, I finally understand it’s okay to let people in, beat my addiction, and face the deep rooted challenges that hold me back from stepping into my best self.
I know I can do it today, as long as I stay honest, open minded, and live one day at a time.
I’m doing my best not to think too far ahead or plan out my future- but I do have visions of what I want my life to be. ❤️