I seem to say, every year on this day, that ‘this year has been the hardest’. As if every year is the hardest. Which I guess it is.
But this year has been harder on an emotional level. I’ve had years where I wanted to take a handful of pain pills just to stop feeling my body for a few hours. And I’m not saying that doesn’t sound pleasant, because it does, but this year I have struggled more with the emotional side of the addiction. For one because they put me on a better medication, which helps my pain. Also I stopped holding back on taking the pain pills. Like I need some relief and that’s okay. It was the abuse of the pills that got me into trouble. So now I allow myself to take one Norco every night and that has been a great help in cutting down on my desire to take handfuls of pills for pain relief, because I am aware that come 9pm there will be some.
So my desire to float my body away is far less this year than my desire to float my mind away, mostly due to Mom’s health and the extreme stress that has brought on. There was a night this past week where my sister was at my mom’s bedside quite late and I had to do all the ‘get ready for bed’ stuff myself, which also includes getting my own pain pill from the not-so-secret spot she hides them in. Things were not good with mom and I had been on the phone all night with family and my cousin and I had a bit of a spit and I held that bottle in my hand and just thought how easy it would be to get away from all that shit by taking a couple extra pills.
I didn’t, but I could have. That’s always the thing - I can at any time now. It’s in the house. I know where it is. I can reach it. It would take a bit of effort on my part to get to it, but I can. And every day I don’t, I remind myself that I didn’t. This week was rough, but I said every day, “Oh, your only 6 days out from your anniversary don’t blow it now.” - “Four days, you don’t want to fuck up this close to the date, do you?” Sometimes it’s the little things that get you through it.
I was talking with an old friend today who is about 3 months sober himself and still struggling. He asked me if I noticed an almost giddy-feeling once the poison was out of my system. I told him that once I was done detoxing, little pieces of myself started coming back, pieces I had forgotten about, that I didn’t even realize were missing, that it was like finding myself again and there was an almost euphoric feeling that came with that. His eyes were wide and he was nodding his head and I could see he knew what I meant, that he is in that state right now. After he left, I wished I had told him to hang on to that feeling. Because it will subside, but it’s what I cling to on bad days. I’m accustomed to those pieces of myself again, but I remember what it felt like when I was getting them back after so long and I remember how happy it made me and I want to cling to that feeling and understand I will lose all of those pieces if I let myself give in.
But I didn’t. Not this year. No matter how rough things got or how much I needed to quiet my brain at times, I didn’t give in. I didn’t. I didn’t lose those bits of myself. I am still whole. And that’s worth celebrating.
So thank you to all of you who have been my shoulder and my ear and my friend this past year. You are one of those pieces of myself that I don’t want to lose and I am glad that this year, I didn’t.