I’m back!! I’ve been gone for almost a year now, and this has been by far the most grueling year I’ve lived so far. But in a good way. I’m now 10.5 months sober! I went through treatment in Hattiesburg, MS for 3.5 months, and then moved to Jackson, MS, where I’m now residing in a sober living home. At first I was planning on just staying 90 days before either moving back to Nashville, or finding a new place to call home.
Somewhere in the middle of those difficult yet rewarding days, I knew God was calling me to stay. So I took myself to the DMV back in October and made it official- I am now a Mississippi resident. Never thought things would play out this way, but I am living such a full and healthy life now. God has blessed me in ways I never even thought to ask for. He knows what I need so much better than what I think I need. (Praise Him for that!!) I’ve done immense work on myself while being in treatment-tackling the roots of my addictions and working through trauma I’ve been through. I knew there were issues I would need to address when entering treatment-but my goodness, i didn’t know how much work really needed to be done. As painful as this work has been, and as heavy as I feel during each and every therapy session, I am always much lighter when i leave the room. I’m becoming healthy-and it will continue to be a day-by-day process, but I can confidently say that I never want to return to the way I once lived. Sure there are days when I still wish I could numb out and just throw everything away, but then I’m able to re-center myself and look at all the progress i’ve made, and at all of the restoration Christ has been doing in my heart and mind.
I’ve learned to love myself again. I’ve learned that my voice matters and that I am worthy of being loved and respected. And I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned and come to truly accept, is that I am perfectly okay not having a man in my life. I no longer have the idea that I’m incomplete without a romantic partner. Rather, I’ve found the true importance in having a support system who will hold me accountable, call me out on my s*** and will be there no matter how good or how bad a day (or a week) is going for me. I’ve found my people. I’ve found ladies who get me, who accept me, and who know exactly what I’m going through-because they are going through it too. I’ve never felt more blessed in my life, and I’ve never been more thankful to be sober than I am today, in this moment. God is doing for me what I could never do for myself. He is opening up so many doors for me, and inviting me to walk right through them. I don’t know what the future holds for me, all I know is that today I’m not going to drink, I’m not going to search for a romantic love, and i’m not going to try to alter the way I feel. I accept all of me, and I am doing whatever it takes to follow where God leads. There are several exciting opportunities that have presented themselves lately, and I anticipate writing about them in the days to come, but today I will end on this note–I wrote a poem that represents how I have felt when people tell me that I shouldn’t talk about my past because “that’s not who I am anymore.”
No, my past isn’t who I am anymore, but if it weren’t for my past, I wouldn’t be nearly as healthy as I am today, and for that, I am thankful.
If You Only Knew Me
When air fills my lungs and I exhale my fears, you think things will be perfect once I wipe away my tears.
Our eyes meet and you say you have me figured out, and I can hear you promise to be understanding and devout.
My past won’t scare you away, you say you’ve been there before; but then you shush me and say it’s now something of mine I must ignore.
Look ahead not behind-you can’t let your thoughts be misaligned. And then you tell me that reflecting on my past will just destroy my core.
But my darling, my healing and future won’t come from just playing pretend.
If you only knew me-if you could only see, that I’m a survivor not a victim, and my past has taught me who I don’t want to be.
Running from it won’t solve a thing, but embracing it just might give me wings.
If you only knew me, if you could only see- that each and every lesson learned never once came free.
I fought to get to where I am today; so don’t you dare try to tell me how to behave.
Your claims to support me, are appreciated and all, but I know you aren’t prepared to catch me when I waiver and begin to fall.
See, just because I’m healing and have come such a long way, that doesn’t mean doubts, battles, apathy and shame, won’t unwelcomely pop up and try to stay.
So this idea of “recovered” is not the perfection you envision in your head.
My past will always be a part of me-so try to understand instead.
If you only knew me, and the energy that tingles within from head to toe, if you only knew me, you’d see that it’s okay to have highs and lows.
So before you make your promises-
Before you swear you’ll help me crawl when I can’t walk-
You must get to know the nature of my beating heart.
Whether it be exceptions or sympathy, you’re sure to interpret your own version of who I am-
Oh but if you only knew me, maybe you’d see that my dents and cracks provide the necessary ground on which I bravely stand.
Like a storm that knows no limits, and the trees that bend so far they snap, is my mind that sometimes just won’t stay on track.
“Do it, don’t do it, it’s okay they won’t know.”
“Go over it again, play it out-this time take it slow.”
This war within myself, is a battle I will always face.
But you tell me I’m recovered now, and that I shouldn’t let my brokenness leave a trace.
Can’t you hear my silent screams?
Do you understand why I am hesitant to tell you all of my dreams?
Back and forth, back and forth-I try to stay the steady course.
ButI hear you think that me incorporating my past into my future is something you’ll never endorse.
Yet when I sit amongst the stillness trying to find my bearings,
I whisper-if you only knew me-if you could only see,
That sometimes I can’t live by your spoken words, I have to follow what I believe.
And what I know is this- I am but one in this expansive place,
But my past tells a story, it doesn’t deface.
It shows that I can come back, stronger than ever before,
And I’m not going to tiptoe around opportunity’s open door.
I will pronounce my story, for the world to devour
And if they disapprove, that won’t cause me to cower.
Oh darling, if you only knew me, if you could only see-
There is so much more to me than you have ever perceived.
So when you tell me to cover up the truth,
I’ll demonstrate my strength once more, because my past is the proof.
Because if I can overcome all those nights that tormented me,
If i can rise again, like the sun above a raging sea,
Then clearly I’m headed in the right direction,
And I can be proud of my own reflection.
Yes I will slip, and I will have moments I just want to surrender,
But I’ve found God again, and He is my greatest defender.
Like the phoenix who burned to ashes then came back to life,
My story still isn’t over, you must not have heard my battle cry.
Oh if you only knew me, if you would just choose to see,
That when I embrace my past, it actually sets me free.