Recovery is Possible - A Testimonial
On June 22 of this year, I made vows of self-love and commitment to myself to celebrate my 30th birthday. I did this in front of a group of dear friends and family. In January of 2016, I didn’t think I’d see 30. I didn’t think I’d have the nerve to celebrate the strange and yet beautiful marriage of me to myself (#Imewed). I thought I was alone.
On January 5th, 2016 I made a nearly successful attempt of suicide while blacked out, emotionally shredded from another breakup, and feeling completely alone and done. I woke up the next morning restrained to a hospital bed with IVs in my arms,a catheter and a sore throat from the tube that kept me breathing all night. I was later told the pain in my chest was from chest compressions- my heart had stopped.
I had been jokingly calling myself a “basically functional alcoholic” for years. The truth that I refused to see was that there was nothing remotely functional about my relationship with drugs and alcohol. Lost jobs, lost relationships, psych wards and urine soaked sheets were so common as to be unremarkable.
I was clinically dead for a brief moment on that ER table, but was still not sure if I really needed to get sober. I only knew, while talking to the ICU suicide watch nurse, that something had to change. That something became the beginning of a wild, non-linear, beautiful and liberating recovery.
Recovery is possible due to finding and developing connections and community. Recovery is possible because I am willing to change and leave old coping mechanisms behind. Recovery is possible when I don’t expect perfection. Recovery is possible.
January 6, 2016 was three and a half years ago as I write this in 2019- but I celebrated 2 years on July 10th of this year. That will tell you that there have been other dark nights of the soul. Other times of counting days and feeling completely bankrupt. But having had a taste of how serene and peaceful I can feel brought me back to the ever surprising journey of healing I am on.
I have more blissful days today than I can ever remember having had in the past. I have deeper relationships with my immediate family and dear friends than I thought possible. When the scary impulses come for self destruction, I have an overflowing box of tools to draw on. I am accepting that I am perfectly imperfect in every way. I have no business worrying about the future and only think of the past to help others see that it is possible to find community, acceptance of others and self, and joy in the discovery. I am in the now more often than not.
I said vows to myself in front of my world. I wore a corsage and carried a bouquet. I stood tall, unashamed and smiled a genuine smile. I entered a new decade ready to find out what comes next. I’m ready.