Ever have those kind of days that no matter how great the day is, you can’t get out of your funk? Your anxiety is so high, your depression has you feeling so low, and you can’t make sense of anything? You feel lost, confused, overwhelmed, emotional and alone? Everyone around you seems like they are in your bubble and watching over everything that you are doing?
Well, do you have room for one more in your club? Earlier this week I had a day that was way too overwhelming and hard. I was having constant anxiety. My stomach was turning, my heart was racing, my mind was blurry and no matter how busy I kept myself, it felt like the day was standing still.
I tried to have my poor mind wrap around something so it could find a reason and a solution, but it couldn’t. My mind was so far gone, and my strength to break out of that prison sentence was completely diminished. I couldn’t find that smile or hope that the day was going to turn around.
I was drowning in those feelings and thoughts all day. No matter what music I was listening to, no matter what happy show or movie was on TV and no matter how busy I made myself, nothing worked. I was cooking dinner for my family, and I couldn’t even focus. I was in a massive anxiety attack. The worse one in a long time and I couldn’t understand why. Nothing bad, stressful, or sad was going on so why was I so far deep in this anxiety attack?
My appetite for the day was gone because of the anxiety so I knew that I needed to eat, but I couldn’t handle even the slightest thought of food. That night, I was sitting on the couch, looking at my kitchen and seeing the dinner that I was needing to finish cooking on the stove, and I thought to myself something that I haven’t thought about in months and months. “What if I grab a Xanax or have a drink? They will calm me down since nothing else is working.” And I was seriously considering grabbing one of my husband’s drinks from the fridge and then rushing upstairs to search through old purses in hopes that I would find a Xanax in an old medicine container from when I prescribed it.
I sat there on the couch and felt completely broken for thinking those things. I then slid off the couch to sit on the floor because to me, it would be harder to get up off the floor to grab my additions. I couldn’t shake how badly I wanted to drink. I couldn’t. Then I see my reflection in the glass of my fireplace, and I couldn’t determine what made me feel worse. The fact that I saw a woman sitting on the floor or the fact that I saw a woman seeing on the floor to prevent getting alcohol.
How could I be thinking this? How could I possibly be wanting to drink and take that Xanax with that drink? You want to know why? Because I was addicted, and I was addicted just less than a year ago. And the truth is, I will more than likely have these thoughts come into my mind again many times in the years to come.
I explained my sobriety to someone recently. He wanted to know my story and I was proud to share it. He then asked me, “Well, how much were you actually drinking a night?” I had to remind myself to tell the truth and not hide the fact that I was drinking as much as I truly was. “Each night, I was drinking 7-10 drinks at a minimum and each drink had double shots of hard liquor.” His eyes got very wide. “I was drinking up until I was in bed about to pass out from the buzz.” I continued. “I would drink in the morning instead of having coffee. I would come home from work, rush to the fridge, open my drink and literally chug it just so I could feel the alcohol hit me faster. Once I felt that alcohol hit my blood, then I would take my purse off and say ‘Hi’ to my own family.” Telling my story to someone who I just met, reminded me just how far I have come.
Whenever you are going through addiction, you find a rest stop called Denial and every road trip on your addition journey, you always make a point to stop there. Put yourself in park and admire what life is like in that lie. That rest stop is this cold, dark cave that swallows you up every time you pay it a visit and yet, you continue to show your face there constantly. That rest stop was the most common search on my Maps app on my phone. It was always a place I paid a visit to. In fact, I paid that place a visit more than I paid attention to my own family.
Whenever I was parked at Denial, I knew deep down that I had a problem. I knew it was much more than just having a drink or two here and there. I was spending money that I didn’t have to buy alcohol, including taking money from my kids piggy banks. I was pulling excuses out of you know where to convince others around me that having yet another drink was needed. I was willing to get far passed buzzed every night and every weekend because I would have rather taken care of my addiction, then taking care of me.
I know more days, nights and all the moments in between will be consumed with my addiction peaking itself back into my mind and asking to rent some space out. But let me tell you something. That night earlier this week when I was sitting on the floor and staring at a crumbling woman in the reflection of my fireplace, do you know what happened? I got up, went into the kitchen and walked right passed my fridge that was housing my husband’s drinks. I finished dinner, fed my family and was able to tuck my kids into bed…still sober.
There will be days when we ask ourselves over and over again, “Why do days have to be this hard?!”. Most of the time, we won’t get an answer and we’ll be forced, not encouraged, but forced into going about that day or hard moment in our lives because it’s just that…a moment. What most people don’t understand is that a moment is far greater to someone who is struggling. It might as well be a year or two or 50 because there is no way that we have the strength to get through this hard moment. Even if the moments around us seem clear and forgiving and we can’t understand why our anxiety is so high. We can’t just wash that anxiety away like most people expect us to.
It’s then that you will remember just how numb you were before you became sober, and you’ll want to reach for your demon. I know I did that night earlier this week, but please listen to me. Yes, before we became sober, we were constantly numb and the hard times when being numb seemed easier than they do now. You have something now that you didn’t have then. You have your life back. You fought through your demons to bring yourself back to life. So yes, there are days that shouldn’t be as hard as they are and yes, it seems like it is happening to you more than you feel like you are capable of handling.
Trust me, I know exactly how you feel. The debilitating pain could be so much easier to handle if we were numb again but remember this. After every numbing, the pain comes back tenfold. The numbing wasn’t permanent, healing or the cure. It was short lived, scar making and deadly. But look at you now and I’ll look at me, too. We are living, our scars are fading, and we are truly healing. And that is permanent.
I am always here to talk. You are not alone. Confessing that you have your moments of almost breaking isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign of the strength that you built when you brought yourself back to life. So, please go live each day remembering that no matter how hard the day, year or moment is. You, my friend, were brought back to life a warrior and no demon out there has a fighting chance against you! Even when those thoughts of welcoming your addiction back into your life pop up, it is just that…a thought. Your action of strength is far greater than any thought of weakness. Embrace your strength. Its more apart of you than you think.