Sober Since: 05 / 28 / 2016
Sober For: 5 Years & 189 Days
What it was like?
What was it like: My story is not special or unique. It's most probably very similar to others who have lived through the hell that is addiction. I started using substances when I was 15, to manage my emotions, numb unwanted feelings and block out trauma. As a teenager I always felt different from other girls and suffered from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD and very low self esteem. Substances seemed to help me cope with these issues. It stared off as a few (what I thought were harmless) UDLS with my girlfriends on the weekends, but because of my addictive personality, this quickly progressed into daily drinking (which I hid from everyone because I was ashamed). Then I hit the harder stuff, spirits etc and was introduced to the party scene where I experimented with ectacy, speed, cocaine and GHB. This party period lasted for over a decade in which I was completely out of control, although I didn't think so at the time! Eventually I met the needle, and stared injecting crystal meth and herion daily. These drugs were my complete undoing.
What happened: As the disease of addiction progressed, I found myself blacking out on a regular basis and waking up in scary places, in dangerous situations; I was hospitalised that many times for OD's I can't count; I got into serious trouble with the law but somehow avoided jail time; I attempted suicide on a number of occasions and was self harming daily; I lost the love and respect of my family and friends as well as work, housing and financial security. But most importantly, I lost my dignity - my own self worth. I hated myself and the life I was living, but I didn't know how to cope in the world without being high. I know it sounds cliche, but eventually I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. The will to live became greater than the desire to use. So I put myself in a long term rehab (this was after many unsuccessful detoxes and short term rehabs), and handed my will and life over to God. I lasted seven months in this rehab but left a month early and relapsed within a week. I didn't know it then, but what I learnt in that rehab must have grown a seed in me because three years later I decided to get clean for real and asked (begged) my parents to help me get well. They said I could come home and live with them if I ... saw a therapist, worked the steps, meditated, practiced yoga and lived by their rules. I was so desperate I agreed and now, 18 months later, after two years of hard work and determination, I'm clean and relatively serene!
What it is like now?
What it's like now: Today I am unapologetically me. No ego. No bullshit. I'm happy (most of the time!) and have found and inner peace I never knew existed. I still suffer from depression and anxiety, and have recently learned I have BPD. But because of the tools I have I can manage these and live a relatively normal life. Today I am fearless. I am adventurous and live life on the edge! Sober doesn't mean boring! I didn't get clean to hide in my bedroom!! Although it's scary being so open, because some people will never understand, I'm here to say to those of you still suffering from addiction and mental illness... You are not alone. There is hope. We can and do recover!