Seven years ago around this time I was waking up from one of the roughest nights—weekends—of my life. I was at such a low point that I didn’t care about my fate. I had spent the previous 24 hours putting anything and everything mind-altering that I could find into my body, thinking if it made me numb, if it made me high or even if it killed me, it wouldn’t be a bad thing because the way I was living wasn’t really living at all.
Before passing out the night before, I had gotten to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore and reached into the utensil drawer. Call it dramatic, call it a drunken mistake, call it a suicide attempt. Call it whatever you want, but I wanted it all to end. Thank God it was a butter knife. Thank God I was so messed up that I missed the vital part of my wrist and got my forearm instead.
Sometimes I look down and see the scar, so faint that if you weren’t really looking, you’d miss it completely. A scar that many would assume was from a tree branch, a cat or something entirely by accident, but to me…to me it’s a scar that signifies the suffering and demoralization of a hopeless girl hours away from one of the greatest miracles of her life. Hours away from restoration. Redemption. Renewal. Recovery.
Sometimes when I think back to that girl, it’s hard to recognize that it was me. And yes, while I had been experiencing some of the physical “rock-bottoms”, my true bottom was when I saw my reflection in the mirror and couldn’t bear to look it in the eyes. When I hated the person—the shell—I had become. I wasn’t living… I was merely existing and I was slowly dying.
There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
The light of day brings about time for change. For a fresh start. For second, third, tenth or 80th chances. The light of day brings about a chance for hope.
I can’t believe I’m writing this seven years later by the Grace Of God. Today, I look back on that rainy, dreadful day in December, riding passenger as my dad, having just landed in Lubbock fromDallas to pick me up, drove the 330+ mile trek back to Dallas in my run-down car. Wondering if I was making a mistake. Wondering if I wanted to actually go through with another attempt at failing treatment. Wondering if life would be worth it once the chaos stopped. Wondering if I would ever be normal again.
Let me tell you: The answer is no, I will never be normal. I will forever be an addict and every day I will have to wake up and make the choice not to take a drink or drug for that day. But, to answer 22 year old Erin’s question of, will it be worth it? Oh, you better effing believe it will.
I’d tell her:
“It’s gonna be hard. You think you take away the booze and all of the sudden life is going to be okay? Rainbows and butterflies and sparkles? False. You take away the alcohol and everything is exposed. The alcohol is a bandaid that has been on you for far too long and when you rip that off, you’re exposing a wound so deep, so full of pain, that you won’t know what hit you. You’ll have moments in sobriety when you might not think you can keep going. You’ll have really, really dark days, where you want to stay in bed for weeks never facing the world. You’ll cry a whole lot. You’ll have to work your ass off to gain the trust of some people again, and realize that you might never gain back the trust of others. You’ll have to face some truths you don’t want to face and all the things you drank to forget… you’ll have to work through.
But man, you’ll have a world of resources and a Great Hope that will be with you on the days that you feel like giving up, giving in. You’ll discover who you are, find your passions, meet the love of your life, raise a cute little grey cat and a hyper-active black dog, move into your own house, have a solid career, finally start writing the novel you’ve been thinking about for a decade, graduate and actually finish something, reestablish wonderful relationships with your family and most importantly, you will have HOPE. Every day won’t be beautiful, but your eyes will be open again to see beauty in the little things every day. The fragile, broken pieces will slowly, glacially come back together like pieces of an intricately designed mosaic. You might never be whole again, but you’ll be complete, and complete is everything you’ve ever wanted.”