Outstretched Hands

A Question of Faith

During my recovery, I read that a closet alcoholic couldn’t remain hidden. At some point, the need for drink would force them out.

Into my third year of sobriety, I know that’s not true. Myfamily belonged to a large church denomination that didn’t allow alcohol consumption. That didn’t stop me from indulging during my days at a prestigious small college in New York State. My degree wasn’t the only thing I took home with me upon graduation; I also took home my growing alcoholism.

Woman soaring up spiritually.

Thoughts on Getting Better

Yesterday-the second anniversary of my sobriety-was bittersweet. It was also the anniversary of my leaving my rehab facility. The bitter part came as I allowed myself to reflect back to my detox, the first and most grim stage of my recovery; mine came complete with hallucinations and convulsions.

Stabilized, I got through it and made it to the next stage. Looking back, it all seemed so appropriate…almost matter-of-fact. I know better.

Peaceful woman sitting cross legged doing yoga and meditating.

Are You Keeping Your New Years Resolution?

The stakes are always higher and the promises to yourself and others always carry more weight when you’re battling addiction. Those who are currently in recovery will probably agree with me. When you set a goal or make a plan, you feel as though the weight of your entire recovery and well-being rests on that plan, and that if you don’t follow through, you’re a failure. The problem with this is that you start to feel so heavy of a weight in your perceived obligations to others, that you lose sight of the one person that actually matters and that you’re getting help for: you.

Woman holding shining light in her hand.

Shining a Light on Myself

I always thought that I was just one of those people that was broken; one of those people that would never be completely normal. I would feel these incredibly low lows and worry about everything to the point where enjoying life ceased to be an option. I couldn’t explain it, nor did I ever think that there was anything to explain. It seemed clear to me that this was just life and that I had better accept it. When I started drinking, I found an outlet that allowed me to feel happy and relaxed; an outlet that allowed for a temporary escape from the real me.

Depressed woman looking through rainy window.

Alcohol and Depression

For years it felt like I was living in darkness. I didn’t know how to feel good or normal. If I didn’t know what was wrong with me, how could I fix it? My parents did everything they could to try and make me happy, but in the end, it just wasn’t enough. I think that if someone would have recognized my depression for what it was early on then I would have had a much better childhood; but in my family, clinical depression wasn’t even a concept. Everything could be cured through circumstance. It was a very superficial way of looking at life, but it’s all anyone knew.

Path sign pointing 2 ways reading solution or problem.

Choosing The Right Path

One of the things people in recovery talk about most is what they lost in the wake of their addictions. They’ll talk about broken families, destroyed careers, dysfunctional relationships and everything else; but I’ve rarely heard someone discuss how addiction makes you lose yourself. I had abused alcohol for five years, during which time I ceased to be the person I had always been. At the end of it all, this is what has stuck with me the most. I had lost the pride and the integrity that made me who I was and, to this day, that has been incredibly hard for me to reconcile.

The door to recovery and revelation.

A New Perception

For a while, I didn’t know what I was feeling; I just knew that I wanted to stop feeling it, and that the only thing that seemed to make it better was alcohol. I was an incoherent ball of emotion and drank to calm myself down. Depression had ruled my life since I was 15 years old. I missed out on a lot of things as a child because I didn’t want to associate with anyone outside of my house. School was a nightmare, to the point where, one year, I missed 68 days. There had been no real trauma that I can pinpoint that had caused this; I just felt sad all the time.

Blindfolded woman judge holding gavel,

Reserve All Judgment

People often say that things aren’t always what they seem. Perhaps nowhere is this expression more appropriate than in the context of addiction and mental illness. You can look at someone destroy themselves with drugs and alcohol and immediately judge them without even realizing it—I’ve been through this and I’m still guilty of it myself. When you hear about someone going to jail for robbing a pharmacy or getting their third DUI, the natural response is to point out what a train-wreck that person has become.

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