I woke up yesterday morning at approximately the same time I did on November 10, 2009. On November 10, 2012, I knew exactly where I was; at home. I was in my less than savory bedroom with clothes in need of washing, papers in need of filing. My first thought, as usual, was “Okay, what do I have to do today?” November 10, 2009 was worlds different. I woke up not knowing where I was and only vaguely sure who I was. Dirty clothing and assorted documents were the least of my worries. I was sick, in my body, in my mind, and worst of all in my spirit. That morning I knew, in a way that old women tend to know things, that if I didn’t stop getting high, I was going to end up dead or in a situation where I sorely wished I was.
It’s hard to describe the type of desperation one feels during a bottom. The closest I could come would be to say it’s like an animal caught by it’s leg in a steel trap. That would be the obsession element of addiction. You’re there, stuck, you know something bad is going to happen if you don’t get out. You’d be willing to chew your leg off to get out, but you can’t. You’re too terrified to think. So, that’s the cycle of thought:
I want to stop. I can’t. I’m afraid.
(repeated so often, in my case that I was ready to drive off a bridge … literally.)
Then, you hear the hunter coming. It’s the compulsion element and you know once it has a hold of you, your ass is done. During active addiction, when the hunter shows up, you freeze up. He gets you, fricassees that ass, and serves you for supper. The wonderful part about a bottom, if you’re realize you’re at one, is you become willing to chew your fucking leg off (or anything else for that matter.)
On November 10, 2009 I chewed my leg off, well I should say, I removed the trap with the help of my family, my friends, a great recovery program, and my higher power. Yesterday marked the three year anniversary of my escape from the trap, the thing with addiction is, the trap is out their waiting for me at any time. The minute I forget that and think it’s safe for me to test the hunter, is the moment of my assured doom.
While I must stay vigilant, being clean for me hasn’t just been about existing in a bubble while being afraid of my own shadow. It’s been the opposite in fact. Abstaining is just that, not using while white knuckling it through existence. Recovery has turned my world on it’s ass challenging everything I ever thought about my life and myself. It makes me realize just how great things can be. I have lived more boldly, honestly, and beautifully in the last three years than I had in the thirty-three that proceeded them. Gratitude only scratches the surface of what I feel about my life right now.
Someone told me the other day that my story was an inspiration. I cringed a little, as compliments make me squirm, but it’s true. Well no, maybe my life a testimony. That’s it! It’s a testimony that an overweight black girl raised poor in a housing project can persevere through sex abuse, being raised by and then becoming a single parent, a turbulent marriage, addiction, frequent battles with self hatred and loneliness and host of other internal cluster fucks. The beauty of it is, my testimony isn’t the only one.
So, on my anniversary I’d like to wish you the best life you can possibly live. Make it your testimony, your highest truth.
1095 days + today = One day at a time.