I’m not usually one to do any sort of public writing, if it’s going to have anything other than positivity and inspiration radiating throughout its body. I take great pride in the ability I have found today to take situations encountered, absorb each one, and reflect on how this can make me a better person somehow– I find it….I always do, and I apply what I’ve learned to make myself a better individual.
And I struggle with writing this now, because I am struggling with locating that hope today. I’m self-aware to know that numerous factors contribute to my current void of these hopes that I usually can pretty easily identify and pour out into my writing for myself, and hopefully you too, as the reader.
I understand that growth comes with discomfort, and this is why I am pushing forward with writing anyway. I just recorded an hour and a half voice-memo to myself because honestly, I just needed to talk to someone….but there’s nobody around to fulfill this need, so I decided to just say it out loud, allowing myself to embrace and sit with that burn in my throat and chest of pure “hurt”- a painful surge of lonliness and misunderstanding.
But also knowing if I’m recording it, at least it’s being heard and absorbed somehow…. and that makes it matter–my words, that is. I had to convince myself that recording my thoughts, feelings, and pouring out myself like that matters. While in this moment and in the head space I am currently in and am struggling with believing that anyone really cares and that I truly don’t matter at all, (I may or may not dive into this later on) at least I know my words and emotions are being held onto somewhere…. they aren’t just being wasted or unheard…. they’re recorded, and important, even if just to me for this moment in time,…. I am the most important and only one that matters anyway because I’m the one I’m stuck with for forever, no matter if I want that or not! Haha! So if I find myself unable to even force my phone out of my pocket and hit record and let out what I feel like I need to say because it’s important to me…. the day I’m unable to do something as simple as that,… that’s the day you should be worried.
Just like that, I already found an anchor to temporarily steady my boat so that I don’t go over the cliff’s edge unable to get back once I plummet all the way. I managed to hook some stick or something, even if temporary, it will give me some time to be able to look around for a solution that maybe I can use to get to safety before I get drug back into the current and am left powerless again in saving myself.
And so I will change my direction of my words and turn outward now, using “you” instead of “me” because in this moment I found myself capable of looking outward again with passion to share what I know, as it obviously has saved my life and if it’s even a possibility that something I share might help somehow save another’s– It’s beyond worth it. The last thing I really want to be doing is writing and I have to make myself, FORCE MYSELF, to sit down and just do something–ANYTHING….and I push through and find that the solution to the reason I didn’t want to write in the first place emerges in the writing itself.
That’s exactly what just happened, in case you were wondering.
I have a temporary anchor. I’m okay now. So now it’s time to take that and just go on with it in this moment….
If that makes any sense?
You matter too. You are worthy. You are valued. You have significance. There is a solution. You can get through this.
These words may seem empty and impossible, or “cliche,” which I totally get, because I have also been in a space to where I couldn’t know anything other than these to be deceptive lies to convince me to do something.
In that moment of course they were cliche and frustrating but that didn’t mean they weren’t true,… I was just not in a place where I could experience these things or see past the immediate destructive storm and doom which was directly in front of me. I could have throat punched someone saying that bullshit to me in those moments. Still today when I get there, and someone tells me these things, despite knowing that they’re right because I am a licensed professional counselor with years of experience under my belt and I know that these intense and seemingly neverending feelings are temporary and the veil does lift, even when I don’t think I can go another step. I KNOW this, but still, I’m not at all saying it’s not super difficult to not judo chop someone else chirping these things I am incapable of experiencing in this moment that I need to most. That’s like telling someone who is dying of thirst and crave and need water more than anything else at that exact moment– severe intolerable body aches and you can hardly move, not knowing how much longer you can go…. “You’re just dehydrated, it gets better, you just need to drink one glass of water will cure all ailments associated. It’ll be fine. You’re going to be okay,”…..but being unable to reach the glass in that exact moment.
It doesn’t really seem like something realistic until you’re able to reach out and actually grab it. Until that moment it seems pretty impossible and is painful and upsetting to hear that someone doesn’t believe that you’re stuck,… or that’s at least how we take it… we personalize it to the extreme because we are fragile right then and there and assume they’re telling us how easy the solution is because I guess they assume we’re dumbasses that haven’t tried to solve the problem. But really in retrospect we all know that we overreact when overwhelmed with emotion(s) and that this poor person was simply trying to offer some encouragement in our time of turmoil to show that we won’t be in it for forever…to HOLD ON.
So if you’re in that place, that’s all I’m trying to say is, I know it’s impossible right now, and I wouldn’t expect you to be able to feel anything other than exactly as you do, but JUST HOLD ON. Give yourself at least an opportunity to get through the wave of the storm that you’re directly in the midst of, unfortunately. You can’t see, it’s cold, it hurts, you need to breathe but only can gasp between the minimal breaks of the strong rain-filled winds and can only see everything around you is falling apart and being destroyed….
It will end.
I know it doesn’t feel like it, especially if this storm has been raging for so long and you’re so tired already, I know. You’re trapped and you’re hurting feeling completely alone and misunderstood.
The storm does end.
Just hold on a little longer.
Just hold on a little longer.
Always always always get those thoughts and emotions out of you, they are important, and you’re the one person that knows and understands better than anyone ever could/will. No one truly will ever understand and feel inside in the same way that I do, because they can’t. They may can relate, sure…. but will never truly ever understand and feel in the same degree I do…. they can’t. because they aren’t me…. and even though sometimes I hate the truth, the reality is no one will ever be me, except for me…. and no one will ever truly understand in the way I do or would like them to but it’s not their fault… we just can’t do that– we all have different experiences that have shaped us to feel and exist in the ways that we do…. and we can be so similar and our backstories line up so closely, but even then, we are incapable of truly experiencing the same exact experience internally as the other person does.
And little did I know that lo and behold a lesson unfolded right here before I even dove back into listening to and dissecting everything I just cried out from my heart with a burning rage, hurt, betrayal, confusion, destruction, loss, and a burning desire to go far away to take time for myself but without means of doing so in the time I need to most… I’m glad that there is still a glimmer of hope inside me right now and an ability to still find a lesson to grow from and a positive outlook to end with…. I will not lie, I truly did not believe that I was anywhere near capable of doing this in the state of mind I had fallen into, and that truly terrified me. I can’t recall the last time I was left feeling like there was nothing that I could do that would matter or make any difference in any area of my life… that hopeless and helpless completely abandoned feeling— that’s a scary one to sit in. I’m blessed to be an educated and licensed mental health professional with plenty of experience to understand that this sort of void…. that extreme overbearing emotional need to find something, anything to make me believe I matter at all in existence…. I know that neglecting that voice inside and pushing down words that are important , despite the world telling you that they aren’t. They are.
I know that repressing this overwhelming surge of emotion and need to be heard,…and sitting in that true lonliness feeling like you have no option to go in any direction and are “stuck”…. if you neglect yourself of that need to be heard– you will fall into a space that places you in such a position that you cannot see any ability to move forward at all anymore, because you can’t.
The part I know that others often don’t and are unable to believe especially when in that space is that there is always something, and I am self-aware enough today to understand that even though I don’t believe this is true, and even though I am unable to find this solution, despite the fact that everything seems to disprove this could be possible at this moment, I realize that I am not capable, in this moment, of finding this escape to the chain that is preventing me from moving and keeping me stuck here deprived, void of hope, light, joy, social interaction, etc…. I realize that I am incapable of finding that key in the mental and emotional state that I currently reside in. It’s not something I am able to do, despite the fact that I want to more than anything and need this more than anything in the entire universe right now…. This “way out” is what I need to see exists because I cannot fathom tolerating another day in this state of being.
THIS… This is the truth though, and it’s so difficult for those truly struggling with clinical depression to believe or know that this could ever be real because they see, and feel nothing good at all, and the world continues to prove to them that their existence is nothing other than torture and a nightmare to wake up to day in and day out….
They are incapable of seeing the escape route,even if clearly explained to them, their depression has this lens that hinders their ability to clearly see anything at all.
((I’m not sure if I placed the elephant rope story in the right place in this entry or not, but it’s powerful, true, and I love and use it in my Enhancing Self-Worth group, and I wanted to share.))
So it’s like someone is drowning and has been fighting for so long to just barely stay afloat just enough to continue to survive, but they’re just tired at this point…. and they stop trying… because despite all of their efforts and everything that they give to make things better, nothing will ever get better…. the water level will never change, this is a fact. And here we are screaming at them, telling them that all they have to do to keep from drowning is to just stand up. However, while we can see they’re drowning in merely a shallow body of water, their experience has shown them that there is no way out, and they cannot be convinced that there is any other option…. especially when they’ve tried them all with only nonstop pain and suffering to be met with again and again…..
If you’d worked for as long as you can remember back every single day, giving all of your energy to creating a garden… tilling, watering, planting, perfecting the consistency of the soil, knowing exactly what type of earth will allow for your crops to thrive, and you watch as others grow countless crops in abundance, and each morning when you walk out to your crop, after the anticipation and effort and hard work you’ve poured into this, and seeing that no matter what you do, or how much you give, or don’t give, your crop is always barren. It may appear to be on the exact right path and the moment you open the door, each and every time, suddenly there is nothing. Ever.
How long would you continue to try? Truly?
Would you believe someone if they told you that you’ve been walking out of the wrong door each morning, and that this was the solution? Yeah right! You’ve been living this for FOREVER,… you’re just done. Why believe some stranger who has no idea about anything regarding agriculture compared to your expertise. Who is this fucker to move in next door and have abundance in success on the first try, and definitely hasn’t had the same level of understanding and expertise in the best way to do it…. and this individual just barges onto your property and tries to tell you that the reason you can’t achieve what he has is because you’re not looking out the right fucking door? Bye Felicia.
That’s what it’s like.
And even if you are able to turn around and look out the other door, there’s this film over your eyes that distorts reality… so while I may see a beautiful and voluptuous flourishing garden ripe and eager to be reaped,… no matter how excited I get and how many times I point at what’s obviously directly in front of them, all they can see is a foggy ash…. a barren failure… being mocked and led to believe that there was hope but clearly not…
This is also what addiction is like too…. the same scenario of drowning and struggling, flailing helpless and hopelessly, desperately reaching out for someone to save them, PLEASE GOD, SAVE THEM…. And there we are, too far away to make it in time to save them, but obviously see that they just gotta stand up, … that simple. Except, they can’t hear you… not that they’d believe you anyway…. and so you scream frantically that they can get out,… there’s a way out…. they have to do it though, because you can’t…. and you can’t reach them…. they’re constantly moving farther back away from you and they’re going to die. No matter how loud you shout, they don’t believe you because they’re the one about to drown, and so you just have to watch them slowly drift away…. and you can’t convince them to just stand up.
Man, that’s so hard in my profession.
That’s often times what it’s like trying to help someone that doesn’t want your help because they don’t understand—they’re incapable of understanding…. and they won’t, not until they have something ripped away and are left with no choice. And even then still you see them start to listen to your words and have a glimmer of hope that shimmers for a brief moment, and they possibly even move to keep their head above water and decide to work toward being able to get to their feet, but then that water is deceptive and seductive and curiosity, desire, doubt, whichever the reason, it matters not,… because so often they convince themselves they’ll be all right if they just dip their head in the water one more time… just to cool off, and know how good it will feel to their hot irritated skin in and satisfy the dehydration to quench their thirst and satiate them so that they may continue on…. just a quick one little dip…. quick, and never again.
Just like that, they’re back in that place again, under the spell of the poisoned water, in a terrifying illusion that places them in the midst of the angry sea with no land in sight,… fighting to keep their head afloat. Fighting to survive. Incapable of understanding that the solution exists…. because they truly cannot see anything other than the water that has inundated and engulfed every once possible hope to survive.
All they wanted was to quench their thirst one last time, and they were manipulated and seduced back only to be deceived and betrayed and have everything destroyed that they ever loved and worked hard for,..
That person, the one in active addiction, it is impossible for them to know more than the fact that they can’t swim, never have been able to, and they’re going under water unless they fight. So in this moment, entire focus and energy is given toward trying to stay afloat. You can’t swim.
There’s nothing we can do to save them. Watching helpless, knowing that no matter how hard we run or how fast we manage to get over to the other side, it’s still too late.
And so you’re forced to watch someone you love drown themselves on the opposite shore of the beach. You clearly see that the shore is only a few feet away and the water is shallow enough to stand in.
Yet they still die… though it could’ve been prevented, the only person capable of preventing it is themselves. No matter what we do…. it’s up to them.
So that’s what we do in treatment, … I share and point and show them of the dangers of the water, I warn them of what lies beneath, remind them they can’t swim, and overly stress the fact that the very water that once quenched their thirst and provided euphoria for them once before is now incapable of doing such anymore but rather will destroy them entirely and lead to their demise.
I teach this routinely.
If you go back and you continue, you will die.
And they do.
It never gets any easier to hear that one was unable to fight against the temptation and allure of the mirage that looks and sounds so incredible and rewarding is nothing more than the veil behind which deception, destruction, and death await. They stepped through the seductive curtain filled with promises of pleasure and delight, and right into the mouth of a ravenous and blood thirsty beast.
They don’t come back.
There is no second chance to stay away and to learn how to achieve goodness in ways that will help better you and those you love—
Which is why we also stress that they have another chance to relapse, that’s guaranteed… but we don’t know if they will get another chance to recover.
They still die.
A lot of good people with amazing talents and brilliance that the world could truly benefit from…
It isn’t the person that is the monster, despite what behaviors, words, and actions you have endured. It’s hard to forgive or feel anything other than hatred and resentment toward someone you’ve countless times done nothing but give everything you have in order to make them happy, only to be left used, lied to, manipulated, and robbed of everything.
Take away the vice,…. and help give them the safe way and ability to find and experience their clear mind again, away from the substance,
and there you’ll find the most broken individuals with the biggest hearts ever known to exist.
Add to this a found desire to stop and a willingness to give whatever it takes and whatever means necessary to keep away from ever using again,…and commitment to that??
This person will end up being the most humble individual you know who you aspire to be more like because you want that compassion, commitment, and love that they radiate to the world– and often never know this very individual has driven a very dark road of their past and has a powerful force that once destroyed so many innocent lives and continued to take and take and take without remorse. How could that be possible?
They know they have the disease and understand and commit to giving back and following through with the ways in which prevent them from returning to that. They’ve lost so much that they will never get back. Still, they will continue to give back to the world, as they have already destroyed far more than they could ever repay in debt.
There’s a way to prevent death from the disease, and if you follow through with every bit of it, you’ll stay clean and live.
And otherwise, you’re that “statistic” that you heard sitting in a room full of others struggling with addiction and told that only about 3 people in the room will stay clean and serene and the majority of the rest will relapse and die.
Maybe not immediately, but it’s inevitable.
There are ways and means of getting out of the pit that you feel trapped in, deep and dark enough that you cannot climb out, and no one hears your pleas. They just are upset that you’re down there, and so you feel not only trapped, alone, and in need of help but everyone believes that you can get out on your own. “It’s not that hard,…just climb out.”
But you can’t. They despise and judge you and don’t believe you. How’d they do it? How’d they get out?
Why can’t I?
Don’t fight alone, especially if you’re trapped in the pit of addiction, because if you stay there, you’re right, there’s no escaping. You’ll die down there, alone, hungry, sad, and feeling hopeless, worthless, and misunderstood.
Reach out and get some help from professionals who help others get out this impossibility. It’s not impossible. Are you ready to reach out and ask? Because we do exist out here in the world… and I’ll speak on my own behalf by saying I live to show you that you are capable of greatness. We can’t get there ever, though if you can’t admit that you’re stuck, want to get unstuck, and need help outside of yourself, because no matter how many times you tell yourself you can do it alone,…. the reality is, would you still be in this hole struggling to the degree you have been struggling and hurting if you could?
It doesn’t matter how you get out at this point, you just need to get out of this!
Put down the pride and reach out.
Look for treatment centers that meet the needs you’re looking for and can help remove you from this what could be obstacle to overcome, or else it can be your tomb of solitude and self-defeat. You ultimately decide which.
A client showed me this video once, which has no affiliation with the organization I work for, and I will not divulge such information of my employer because that is irrelevant.
I am including this because this individual shared this with me and let me know that stumbling across this video was the reason he decided to go to treatment.
I was overcome with emotion, which I displayed for all of my group to see, as I am human and we were made to feel. I felt and was so grateful to feel– it really hit home because of how REAL it is…. it was hard to see, but also so spot-on reality. My heart ached for those who I knew that lost the battle and couldn’t get back out of that pit of destruction, left to fight a horrific monster by themselves without knowing or remembering they don’t have to do it alone. I also felt every ache for each individual I personally knew and came to know and love who doesn’t get another chance. I also found gratitude in my ability to feel these emotions as I have been in a place where I couldn’t feel anything at all. Being in that pit feels like that too. Hopeless.
For those watching someone drown and being unable to save them, it isn’t until we get hurt and fall that we change in order to avoid feeling that pain again. Hopefully they will have a chance to realize they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. We can’t make any adult human being go to treatment, unfortunately, but regardless if they do or don’t, without a desire to stop using, they’ll still end up drowning despite our attempts to save them. They’ll tell us whatever we need to hear to give them what they need to continue to fuel their addiction,… this is a symptom, not a test. If you’ve been shown time and time again that they won’t follow through and you’re left hurt and angry, why are you giving in again? Boundaries and tough love are an addict’s best chance for survival.
And for you that is reading this while trying to hide the fact that there’s a soul-eating demonic giant monster of pure destruction, chaos, pain, lonliness, and death….
You don’t have to fight alone.
I promise you’re not the only one who is told it’s all your fault and that you should “just stop.”
That’s not an option for you. And if you don’t already know this, I encourage you to find a treatment center that can help you better understand how/why and provide you with solutions and ways to prevent falling back into that awful place you’re residing.
I get it. It’s not that easy— and only those who have lived through some sort of experience with the disease of addiction whether through a loved one or experiencing it themselves,… they’ll judge you and make you feel like there’s something wrong with you, or “you’re just weak” or “can’t handle your liquor.”
I’ve heard them all,… The world hasn’t caught up with the diagnosis and accepted it for what it is, a disease. There’s still a huge stigma associated, and I understand this too, because other diseases like cancer or diabetes don’t make a person hurt you intentionally, without showing remorse, and take away everything you have, promising words that mean nothing to anyone other than you.
Sadly, the education is lacking in the disease, the symptoms, the treatment, the effects on the brain, how these substances and lack/of alter a person via mind, body, spirit, emotion…. Just like we would do anything we needed to survive if we were placed in a situation to test that theory,… so someone struggling with addiction will also tear down anything in their path in order to consume that substance that their brains now have made something as needed to survive rather than something that can be walked away from like the rest of the world seems to be able to do so easily.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate, it affects those of all age, population, ethnicity, gender
Some are born into it and unaware until it’s triggered and it begins.
Some babies are born in withdrawal already addicted to their mother’s D.O.C.
Wake up. Do your homework, no matter what side you’re on, outside or inside.
That’s all I’m saying. Do your research, read your AMA literature and diagnoses, check your science…. not to sway your opinion of this one way or another, I could care less whether you choose to not agree…. What I do care about is believing at least that death is the sad reality of what awaits each moment that you decide to sit in your own pride and doubt. If you were dying and someone said they had something that could help you continue to live, would you choose to live or die? It wouldn’t matter whether the ingredients were organic or not in that moment that is irrelevant and bias is irrelevant, it’s about a chance to save a life.
You can continue to argue and believe whatever AFTER the fact. It matters not to me.
And to reiterate, I’m not here to start a debate or discussion about what is or isn’t true in the logistics lying between addiction and what it is labeled as. That’s so petty and irrelevant when what the real issue is is that no matter which side, both are hurting.
I get that. I’ve LIVED that in more ways than you understand.
I also now understand things I never did back then, and I see exactly why someone I loved so much seemed to not give two shits about me and drove me nothing but down into the ground constantly without reason that made sense.
I felt crazy.. I struggled with this and resentment and anger for a large portion of my life….
And then I had the opportunity to learn more about addiction and realized I had been living through exactly what this disease was all about…. I also have the opportunity to work with these wonderful people who have giant hearts and so much to offer the world, and those who decide they’ll do whatever it takes–EVERYTHING to stay away from using,… those stories,… those check-in e-mails and voicemails are more than reason enough to provide me fuel to continue to fight against this disease and find the person lying beneath just begging to be let out of its grips.
Those successes and changed lives make me fight past the heartache and hurt that all those who relapse, and the many who don’t get another chance to recover, bring. Knowing and seeing that it’s possible, and knowing I can help contribute to saving someone’s life,…that’s worth everything to me.