Everyone’s over here talking about what they’re doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, regardless of whether they’re Irish or not. I’m over here thinking, it’s just another Sunday.
The Weekend My Life Changed
It wasn’t always this way though. The last time I “celebrated,” or aka “just another reason to get drunk with an excuse,” was 15 years ago. I remember it very clearly because it was a weekend my life changed. I remember it not because it was special or that something memorable happened. I remember it because it was just another St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Another weekend where the days blurred together in an intoxicated haze.
On that weekend, I found myself in a local bar I regularly frequented. I looked around and was faced with a stark realization of the depths my behavior had taken me to and that my moral compass was non-existent. Shame, Guilt, and Regret washed over me. So, I did the only thing I knew would take it all away. I continued to drink and get high. Those next few days I was barely conscious, doing whatever I could to erase the feelings which had wrapped themselves around me. None of it worked.
Not really sure how the stars aligned or shifted for me, but they did. A therapist I had been seeing for years and knew my extensive history with addiction, told me he was scared. He referred me to a drug counselor, who said the only way I was going to live was to put myself into rehab. The thought of this terrified me but I knew deep in my soul if I didn’t do something different, I was going to die. I made the decision to go to a 12-step meeting and tell my family what was going on. I walked into my first meeting and immediately started talking myself out of why I needed to be there. Despite that, I stayed and listened. The stories and feelings shared echoed my own. I felt a warm hand on my shoulder and heard this voice, “I’ve done all I can do, the rest is up to you now.” I looked around and there was no hand, no person, but this visceral sensation of my mother who had died six years before.
I never ended up going into rehab but have stayed abstinent from drugs since that day.
There were so many treasures and gifts in life that I never knew were available to me. Even in the most simple of things. Such as listening to the birds sing outside my window in the early morning sunshine, a sound that once would send me cringing into the corners covering my ears and shutting my eyes as tight as I could possibly could shut them. As it meant that another morning had dawned and I had yet another day to face. Now this sublime sound fills me with overwhelming joy to the potentiality that each new day holds. I felt as though I was experiencing many things for the very first time, every day. Even now, close to 15 years later, I am still amazed at the newness that each day can bring to me when I am not enveloped by the everlasting quest to numb every mood or feeling .
There’s so much I could say about everything that’s happened since then, too much to fit into just one blog. I’ve been to weddings, funerals, traveled around the United States and even to Bali, just last year. I moved almost 2600 miles away from my home. I graduated with my master’s in Depth Psychology, became certified as a yoga instructor, reiki master & crystal healings. I’ve had an article published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at two academic conferences.
I’ve had days on end where I wanted to leave it all behind and get high again. I’ve had days on end where I can’t believe my life is so amazing. More often than not, I’m anxious. I doubt myself. I feel like one day everyone will find out who the real me is and know I’ve been living a lie. I do things that scare me, like writing a blog. I fall on my face and I get back up and keep going.
I can look at myself in the mirror and the Shame, Guilt,and Regret blanket isn’t there. I can accept the love and pride I see reflected in my father’s eyes. I can feel all the feelings, which I do in a very big and raw way, and not want to take any of them away.
So, it may be just another Sunday, but it’s one that I can live, breathe, and enjoy with all of my being.
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