Relapse. Scary Ideations. Addiction.
You should see the pages of my journal right now; two weeks without my phone and laptop, unable to type out my heart on a keyboard and onto a screen…means I’m due for a trip to the local bookstore.
Two and a half weeks ago I had a rough weekend. Having reached level 2 at the halfway house I’m staying at, I gained the privilege of going out with other women from the house. We met up with people from the men’s halfway house, and walked around West Palm Beach, in a spot called City Place. There is no point giving the details because I certainly don’t want to glorify the situation. By the end of the night though, I was high off of something called kratom and I was balling my eyes out, idolizing death. I took advantage of my freedom and that made me feel like a failure. I went to church the next morning, but wasn’t in service for more than ten minutes before I walked out, crumpled into a ball on the side of the building, and called one of my best friends.
Suicidal ideation is no stranger to me. Since I was seventeen years old, I’ve flirted and fantasized with death. It started out with me looking at a bridge, and the first thought being- “Would I have to land a certain way to die, or is it high enough for the impact to be enough damage?” These thoughts were never constant, but they came-and then they went. Progression happened. Through futile attempts to drown, strangle, or smother myself, I never succeeded. I don’t think I truly wanted to succeed. Then there was July 9, 2016. I rolled out of a car on the highway, intoxicated, crying that I just wanted to die. I then spent the next week in a psychiatric facility in Pennsylvania, being observed and evaluated. These ideations are like weeds, sneaking up and choking the life out of me. Treatment helps though. Here I’m learning how to combat these twisted thoughts with truths of who Christ says I am. This struggle is one of the pieces to my puzzle.
I am an alcoholic, but in all honesty, I’m an addict. I’m addicted to altering my mind, I’m addicted to men, I’m addicted to control…I could keep going. I didn’t know kratom was an opiate when I drank it, but I knew that it was going to change my state of being, however temporary that may be. And I craved that. To live outside of my element, feel like I’m floating, and not have to think about anything too hard–this was nothing but appealing to me. I came to treatment because I knew I struggled with alcohol. I thought the problem stopped there. In my mind, I had no issue altering my mind or taking other substances, as long as they were legal and I didn’t become addicted. That mind set all changed when I was transported back to Inpatient after I told my therapist what I drank kratom. I spent fifteen days back in residential, continually meeting with the psychiatrists, medical team, and therapist for both one-on-one and group sessions.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t afford to alter my mind. Not with alcohol, not with drugs, and especially not with the lies I tell myself. The difference now is, I DON’T WANT to alter my state of mind through my addiction. If only I could express to you how HUGE of a deal that is for me to say. Since I’m in the business of being vulnerable, here’s a list of lies I identified myself believing in regards to my addiction and who I am.
- This time it will be different.
- I can handle the alcohol and be a “fun drunk.”
- I’m the exception. (I could write a whole different post on that. Maybe I will.)
- If I’m not outgoing and talkative, everyone will think I’m lame and shy.
- If I express my depression, it will scare people away.
- A romantic relationship won’t affect my sobriety. (**I deleted this number multiple times before deciding to keep it on the list. A blog post coming on this one.**)
- I don’t belong.
- Alcohol isn’t as big of a deal for me as it is for others who have a problem, so it doesn’t matter if I drink.
- Dying is easier.
- I’ll never be able to get plugged into AA like others are.
Those are just 10 of the lies I believe. I could easily dive into other lies I believe about my worth, who I am in relationships, what others think about me, etc. By listing out some of these personal lies for all to see, these lies lose their power. To counter these lies, I wrote down 21 positive affirmations about myself. If there is one thing I’ve learned so far in treatment, it’s to meet every lie with a truth. Don’t give the lie time to fester. Each morning I need to be intentional with my mindset. I need to get up and pour into my recovery. Recovery beings with my faith, and it never ends. Strangely, I’m excited to be on a journey that I can’t see the end to.
I’m back in Outpatient now, determined that this waging war is already won by my King. Today I made the choice to extend my treatment here in Florida. Instead of finishing on April 1st, I will be staying for an additional eight weeks. This was no simple decision, but in this fight for myself, I get to be selfish in my recovery. I choose to give myself an additional eight weeks to learn more, grow more, and just become. So next weekend I’ll be flying to Nashville, loading up my jeep with a few more things, and making the trek back to West Palm Beach. How blessed I am to be able to spend this time in my life discovering who I am. I’m fighting addiction now so that I can be an advocate for others who sit crumpled up in a ball on the side of a building crying.
For those of you writing me- I am overwhelmed and so blessed by the generosity from everyone. My mailing address has changed! (I haven’t moved, but this is the direct address to my halfway house) : 3083 Florida Mango Road// Lake Worth, FL 33461