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Trauma has been a part of my story, for as long as I can remember. Not too long after came PTSD, codependency, chronic pain and then came addiction. My addiction brought me to my knees. Oblivion was my reprieve. I was spiraling out of control with no end in sight. Opiates had me by the throat and I failed to realize just how far down the scale I had fallen.
Prescription in hand, I felt completely justified. After all, I did have a prescription from a doctor. I failed to mention that I was not taking the medication, as prescribed, ever. Oh and I always finished the prescription long before it was time for a refill. I found myself facing serious legal consequences and I finally surrendered. I left for detox and then a dual-diagnosis treatment center, and it changed my life. Underneath all of the drugs and alcohol was a scared little 5 year old girl that never cleared the wreckage from her past. I was forced to dance with my fears and I never looked back. Accepting treatment was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I will never forget that day in my caseload group… the dreadful day that I was forced to be vulnerable in front of a group of my peers. I am rebellious by nature, but when anything emotional came up, I was an emotional vault. I had been wearing my traumas like a warm blanket for over 20 years and yet I was still refusing to face them. The group facilitator continued to ‘poke the bear’ until I lost my composure. I absolutely word vomited every painful experience with rage and deep rooted pain, in front of a group of 15 other people. The release was instantaneous and the response was so full of love and support. That day was truly the turning point for me. You see, drugs and alcohol were never my problem. The truth is, my fundamental inability to deal with anything emotional was my problem. I felt like I was standing completely naked in a room with spectators and I’ve never experienced more freedom.
I have been sober almost three years now. Today, I gravitate towards things that make me uncomfortable. I know that through discomfort comes adversity, but ultimately comes growth. I continue to seek ongoing PTSD therapy and I am actively involved in my local AA community. I stay connected to the women I’ve met in sobriety. Some days, they carry me when I cannot carry myself. Sharing my experiences with other women struggling with co-occurring disorders gives me hope. I work for Recovery Local and I get the opportunity to spread hope to other struggling addicts daily. I am a successful and present mother to two beautiful children and they give me so much purpose. I have the opportunity to show up for the people that mean the most. Pursuing the things that set my soul on fire has been my saving grace. I have finally found my purpose and this has been the driving force for me to continue the good fight.
If you are struggling with addiction, be mindful that there is no cookie cutter way to deal with the overwhelming feelings that follow. Allow yourself to feel every emotion as it ebbs and flows, without judgement. Avoid isolation and reach out for support from people you trust. Grief is all encompassing but there is hope found in the most unexpected places. Support groups and tapping into family and friends, saved my life. I found hope when I called detoxlocal.com. The resources on their site grabbed my attention. However, the representative I spoke with held my hand every step of the way. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel judgement but rather unconditional love and support. Detox Local has a nationwide directory of accredited detox centers as well as an overwhelming amount of resources.
Trauma has been a part of my story, for as long as I can remember.
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