I’ve been having trouble writing lately. Every sentence, every idea. I’ve had an extremely difficult time finding my words. So I asked myself, “Am I just trying too hard?”
I am just going to write today, with no “goal” in mind, other than to let some of these thoughts out of my head. If it makes sense, fantastic. If not, maybe it will help me to find some clarity.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an anchorwoman, a reporter or a journalist. I imagined myself on the evening news, producing my own Dateline Specials or chasing down the accused with a microphone in hand and a cameraperson at my feet. I would have my own column too – one that would showcase not only my brilliant analytical skills (cough…my ego is showing), but my witty humor too (this one is true – I’m a hoot!). I even went to college with this goal in mind, and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.
Alas, that dream was put on hold as my mind and body began to deteriorate slowly over time due to my addiction. When I finally regained my footing, those dreams – along with so many things in my life – had changed.
For starters, my career is in Finance (I know….what?!?) and has been for the past 11 years. When I graduated college, I was offered a position in the mortgage industry just 6 months shy of the market crash. I was lucky enough to keep my job, while a good chunk of my colleagues were laid off. At the time, I felt extremely proud that I was able to make it through that time relatively unscathed.
Today, however, I often wonder where my life might have gone if I had lost my job? Would I have looked for work in the journalism? Furthered my education? Would I have started my blog years earlier? Maybe changed careers entirely? Would I have written a book?
As I ask myself these questions, I realize that I am simply wondering if my life would have gone so far off the rails had I experienced some sort of monumental setback early on in my career?
The answer is, yes – because I have always been an addict. My illness had been gradually progressing my entire life Wherever I went, there I was. I couldn’t have escaped the part of me that was deteriorating – the part of me that wanted to die.
So what’s stopping me now from taking that leap? Changing my career? Writing that book?
A nasty little four letter word we all know and love – FEAR! 😱
As much as I aspired to be a journalist in my younger years, I’ve realized my thoughts on getting the scoop on strangers has changed as I have gotten older. I’ve discovered that I don’t want to be the one exposing other people’s secrets. I don’t want to be the one responsible for contacting family members after a tragedy, or writing about another persons hardship, heartbreak, poor choices or even their successes.
This is not to say that the work of a journalist isn’t important or appreciated, because it absolutely is. I just don’t believe I have the emotional capacity and mental wherewithal to handle that type of pressure on a daily basis.
Today, I know my limitations.
As a person living in long-term recovery, I witness personal tragedies all around me that are never reported in the news.
Addiction is a malevolent force – from accidental overdoses, to overdose deaths, to suicide, to orphaned children, to families forced to mourn the still living, to missing persons, to irreparable brain damage, to loss of families, jobs, homes and lives – the list goes on and on.
Addiction has the ability to drain the life of not only the addict, but the lives of those around them as well.
A reporter will do just that – they will report this information to you. He or she will give you the statistics, the body counts, and the lists of cities impacted most impacted by this epidemic, but rarely will they report about the helpers! The ones who have been recovering for years and spend their lives helping others recover too.
I decided when I started this journey that I wanted to be the one who shares with you how I survived! How I am surviving! And I would do it no matter what anyone said about me – to my face or behind my back. I would advocate for myself the way others had advocated for me before I even had a voice.
I just want to be a helper. We need more helpers…
I started writing about myself and my journey, not because I am self-centered or egotistical (although I can be at times…I’m not a saint), but because only I can tell my story as honestly as I am able. Only I know the idiosyncrasies of my addiction; what it was like, what happened, and what my life is like today as a result of my recovery.
When I share my experience with others, it most often relates to the service work I find so important – my experiences being a part of another persons healing. I am talking about going into jails, prisons, hospitals, Treatment Centers, crisis centers and another addicts home. I am talking about carrying the message of hope to the still suffering addict and not only encouraging change, but showing them how.
People who reach out to me for help often ask, “You’re not going to tell anyone about this, are you?!?” And I always respond, “Nope! It’s not my story to tell.” And I mean that!
I’ve learned that my secrets kept me sick for many years. I didn’t realize then that letting go of the things that were weighing me down would bring me what I had been seeking all along…peace.
When I write about the things that hurt me, it is not because I am seeking attention, pity or sympathy, but because I desire serenity; to be free of life’s heaviest of burdens; fear and insecurity.
Today, I feel a little bit lighter 💕