I’ve lived with an incredible amount of resistance. After a dozen heart surgeries, the last thing I wanted was to be taken care of. I wanted to support myself, just function on my own, hold down a good job and be ok. I’m realizing though, I can’t do that when I’m constantly medicating myself to the point of oblivion. Covering up the pain and trauma and not letting it work it’s way through me.

It’s been a 5 year process of being honest with myself about my substance use and genuinely asking for help. I’ve swam endless laps against the current, focusing on my pain, my mental health, my sad story and carrying the hurt of the world. There’s a time and a place to be sad, to recognize our trauma and dig into how we got to be where we are in this very moment. I’m realizing though, I don’t have to keep carrying this weight, I can let it go.

One thing I’ve learned since coming into treatment: my pain is my portal to pleasure.

It’s possible to sit through the tears, the restlessness, the discontent and then feel better. It doesn’t have to take over my entire day. I can allow it in, recognize it, maybe even offer it a tea. “Come sit and tell me what’s really going on baby.” Name the feeling, welcome it and let it move through me. I don’t have to hold it in or hide it. I don’t have to pretend that sometimes I feel like crawling out of my skin and floating into the ether. Breathe through it.

It’s been 12 days since I decided to quit fogging up my psyche with pot and I’m only now beginning to see myself. I haven’t seen myself like this, totally sober, since I was 19. I started medicating to cover up the mean way I speak to myself, the voice that brings down my art, writing, expression, my body, my personality. I don’t have to call my feelings stupid, I don’t need to push myself down anymore and suppress who I am.

Smoking pot made me small and made me quiet, I’ve used it as a retreat inwards. Drinking wine made me angry and ultimately really fucking sick. It took my joy and blew it up like a helium balloon, an inauthentic lift that always left me barrelling back down to earth. I’ve used it as an excuse to feel less and alter my personality. People say pot isn’t addictive and I know for a fact that that’s a fucking lie. I’ve lied to myself for a decade and I don’t deserve that.

I’ve always thought I was too much, too loud, my emotions too big. I’m now realizing my compassion is big, my heart is loud and my words are powerful. I can be a voice for those who can’t speak. I have this passion bubbling inside of me to lift myself up so that I can lend a hand to others. The crux of what matters in AA is lifting up our friends in addiction. It’s not about the shame, it’s about the surrender to something greater than your own neurosis.

I want to find a better answer to drugging ourselves. I KNOW there’s another way out. I don’t want to give the medical system, the doctors, the psychiatrists, the government my power. I want to harness that power for myself and stop giving it away. There’s no magic answer. There’s no cure-all pill. This is an ongoing archeological dig into my soul and seeing that I am fucking beautiful and powerful au naturel.

I’m starting to feel good in my skin, with my brain, with who I am and that’s a gift I never knew I could have. There’s nothing wrong with me. Nothing wrong. Not a goddamn thing.

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