A re-share from Elephant Journal, one of the best online journals out there (and what I strive towards….).
So much of what Kate has written hit home. I’ve often said that I want to get back to an 8 year period of my life where I stopped drinking and self-medicating with over-the-counter cold medicine (not as harmless as it sounds.) Yes, that period started with a bottom: a psychotic break, a family and relationship crisis, heartbreak, pain, a trip to Western Psychiatric Hospital for an outpatient dual-diagnosis clinic, about two week’s worth of 12-step program, months of allowing my body to rebuild and adjust to the damage I had been inflicting on it for 15 years (this was at 27).
And then I just said: enough. And that was that.
I actually liked myself more when I didn’t drink and drug.
Thus entered a remarkably creative period of my life (I taught myself to paint and became quite good, I was singing Jazz at a high end city club, gutting, renovating, rewiring, and decorating an old Victorian home in Pittsburgh, working two jobs, teaching spinning, training for a marathon, etc. etc.) Who wouldn’t want to get back to a place of such productivity? Eventually, mental health conditions caught up with me: memory, history, traumas, etc. knocked me off kilter 11 years ago and with a revisit to alcohol and then an introduction to harder and harder drugs with ever increasingly dangerous routes of administration, I’ve struggled and struggled to get to place where I could like myself again. I lost all ability to like myself, lost my faith, and thought I lost all power to change.
I’ll be blogging more about faith because it is such an important piece of my puzzle, but right now I want to focus on power. I AM NOT POWERLESS OVER DRUGS AND ALCOHOL. That is one of the biggest problems I have with programs who tell me I am. What an utterly demeaning and self-fulfilling anti-affirmation. I like myself better when I don’t drink or drug, and I have the power to change that. Without the power to produce change, I will succumb and die. Period. So I cannot buy into a philosophy which says otherwise. It was a beautiful moment reading the below article, and while I DO NOT personally suggest you are like me and need my advice or help regarding your personal program of recovery, it is a relief to know I am not alone. Or powerless. And neither are you.
from Elephantjournal.com, via Kate Evans:
Via Kate Evans on Jul 22, 2015