Keep moving forward…

Whether it be prevailing in my purpose

or faltering in my filth,

I must keep moving forward,

these programmed thoughts running rampant in my head.

The voices that have been telling me since the days of my youth

the direction I must go.

Some are with good intention

and when I act on their behalf,

the possibilities become endless.

But others whisper doubt and impose shame,

and speak louder and more frequent than the ones with whom I hold my hope.

But as I see them now, my awareness is becoming my strength.

  Strength to overcome those negative little voices in my head

that tell me to forget

I am actually learning to like myself again.

 

The Cost of Loving a Vet…

I recently took an Uber in route to the Vegas airport and as the driver loaded my luggage into the trunk, I noticed the government issued license plate that identified him as a disabled vet.

We got to talking and when I asked which branch he served, he said he was an Army Ranger who trained countless soldiers and had completed six tours in Afghanistan before God decided he had other plans for the rest of his life.

In our short 11 minute trip, I learned he received a fifteen dollar raise in over two decades of service before he was too injured to continue doing what he loved for his country. “It is what it is”, he told me about his unplanned fate, and when I told him that had been my Dad’s life motto before he passed away from a service related illness 5 years prior, I learned that both our dads served in the Vietnam war and had been faced with similar health challenges as a result.

I learned he was receiving full disability and working on the side for extra “throw away” money because otherwise he was just making ends meet. I additionally learned he had just broken his cheap sunglasses that he wore daily due to his visibly damaged eye from the shrapnel of a roadside bomb that required constant shade.

I learned he loved his job as an Uber driver because he enjoyed the diverse company and extra spending money, but was sometimes shamed at the sense of entitlement he felt at the hands of some customers who acted superior to him, the lowly regarded Uber driver he was in their shallow eyes…

I learned he took great pride in knowing all the back roads of the area so he could get his customers to their destination in the quickest way possible. He kept his car in pristine condition to keep his customers comfortable and frequently went out of his way to give a positive experience, only asking for a high service rating in return to ensure a constant flow of business.

As he helped me unload my luggage and I handed him a small token of my appreciation, it seemed to have stopped him in his tracks. He couldn’t stop thanking me and told me that I just afforded him a new pair of sunglasses. He said he was rarely compensated for his service and that he felt I would be blessed beyond measure for my generosity of blessing him.

I had just spent three days in Vegas trying to get comfortable in sinking dollar bills into slot machines that soaked them up quicker than I could push the button. It doesn’t matter whether this veteran became a good hustler who learned how to gain sympathy from his customers with his battle story or if he was truly sincere in his heartfelt appreciation. The latter is what I choose to believe.

What I never got to tell him before he drove away, regardless of his overall intent of the brief crossing of our paths, was that his words in those moments left me with bigger blessings than I could have ever received from the winnings of a slot machine.

Being reminded of my dad, the sacrifices of those who protect our freedom and the importance of appreciating those whose lives may be forever changed because of their commitment that often comes with a price, it simply cannot be bought. Time and words are free, and moments of life’s little synchronized connections such as these are priceless.

Love a vet. Thank them for their service. Let them know they matter. Bless them and be blessed.  It takes less than 11 minutes. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

The bridges of forgiveness…

via Daily Prompt: Bridge

To go where I have not yet been but surely long to go. The place that we cannot see but a glimpse of hope of what could someday be. A place where we let go of the demons of our past and allow the light of forgiveness to shine into our mending souls. To see the beauty again in a life that was always meant to be, but was never promised without pain except in the depths of our dreams.

The realness of our life revealed, far from perfect, but perfectly real. A consistent flow of lessons learned cycling in the wind that never ceases. Changing the direction of our sails for the remainder of our journey that we alone will only truly embark.

To live for today in this present moment, for it shall never come again. A chance to see the sun peak from behind the clouds and the wonder of another day.

long_stone_bridge_over_water-wide_thumb

The bridge between our past and our future lies in the forgiveness in our hearts. The forgiveness bridge I shall always seek to find as a mender to my heart and healer to my mind.

Tiny world big mind…

via Daily Prompt: Tiny

Sometimes when I am brave, I think I am going to change the world. The divine yet destructive path that led me where I am today, a definite sign that the survival of my sufferings would be for a purpose in this life.  Ending the pains of addiction, the suffering of those who love us because they would give their life to save ours, but that isn’t the way it works when you dance with the devil. The forgiveness of love, that we now yearn to give back because we know that without it and the grace of God, there is no way on this earth we would still be here. Slashing the stigma that stifles the cries of so many hurt and dying souls who allow their screams to be muffled by judgment. Turning shame into hope, weakness into courage and complacency into the much needed change.

Sometimes I think that once my story is told and the truth of recovery is revealed, the clouds of addiction would give way to sunny skies that dry up the puddles of suffering on this earth. But then I remember, there are so many others who have come before me and there is still so much suffering. There is still way too much loss. There is still a powerful stigma that will silence another person as they sink deeper and deeper into the depths of their hell.

We are but a small wave in the ocean, with big dreams of a healing world because we know what it is like to watch dreams get shattered and worlds fall to pieces.

We think so big and yet in our world, we are still so very small.

The Recovery Journey

Much of my recovery path has been behind a keyboard.

Clear minded for the first time in longer than I wish to remember, my brain became a sponge yearning to soak up everything there is to know about addiction and recovery. Countless hours spent researching the latest trends, epidemics and tragedies of the thousands of lives lost from this forbidden curse I call addiction. And just as much time was spent wandering through all the different pathways to recovery that I never even realized existed.

But in no way would I recommend doing recovery alone. Isolation leads to what they call in treatment, stinkin’ thinkin. That deceitful little voice in your head that tells you everything will be alright so long as you just have one. I listened once, and that was reminder enough that my brain no longer understands moderation.

It’s been my experience that recovery thrives in community. And perhaps because with a sober mind, we actually enjoy creating meaningful relationships with others. Especially with people whose story looks like ours. To know someone with the same sorrow and heartbreak. To cheer them on with every milestone and pick them up when they fall down. It’s nothing short of empowering. Especially when you watch them start to like themselves again. And the same thing starts happening to you.

loveunity

Friendship as I understand it today is so much more than having someone to sit next to while getting drunk in a bar. Meaningless conversation that brings nothing but the passing of time while the poison erases that which we drink to forget. I never really believed “community” would be much of a benefit until I found an online recovery group where I discovered people who really were just like me. With similar stories, but very different paths in how they got there.

And it was an enlightening realization that there’s a familiar thread in everyone’s story that I think only people in recovery comprehend. A profound reconnection with a passion that was buried deep beneath the pain of our affliction. A discovery of the inner child, I have heard it explained, the one who loved to dance in the rain and found joy in discovery of anything new. I now find solace in the connection to my younger self who found immense joy in writing about the adventures of life instead of drowning my sorrow with a swig from a bottle.

childs-play

I spend my days focused on being present in the moment, enjoying all that I love in my new life through clear eyes. And I find myself yearning for the time in which I can write even more. Continuously writing away the troubles of my past and building dreams of the future, which brings so much hope and healing to my ever wounded spirit. It helps me remember how far I have come and keeps me hopeful for all that tomorrow may bring.

 

My recovery journey is ever changing. What worked for me a year ago is far different than what I strive for today. But what I gained from the past year was just what I needed at the time. I took what I needed from it, left what I didn’t behind and moved on.

And I have a feeling that is the part of recovery that stays constant regardless of your specific path. It’s a life long journey that continues to grow. And it must be continuously nurtured in order to thrive.

Find your passion. Connect with like minded people to build them up. Become stronger for it. And keep moving toward that childlike freedom that brings an enlightenment only someone in recovery truly understands.

A freedom I now long for that would have never been found in a bottle.

 

Why I Write…

Life has taught me that our time on this earth can be over in an instant. We can spend it running from the unavoidable pains we all experience or give way to distant memories and live each day grateful in the present moment. I ran from pain for so long I forgot it was even there. But addiction erases pain until it doesn’t anymore. Then it can get really ugly. Finally in recovery, I learned to find comfort through writing and that has made quite the difference.

But I don’t write as the face of who most think of when they think of an addict. I have never tried heroin and I am not addicted to pain meds. I am not homeless nor have I been jailed for my behavior while under the influence. These are all real problems to so many in our society and increasing awareness is so important for I know way too many who have lost their fights with these battles.

But I write as a typical American woman in modern day society who once seemed “normal” to the outside world. A college educated wife and mother who lived in a friendly community balancing a career and play dates until I no longer could…the one who slowly fell through the cracks and got stuck in the curse of addiction.

This didn’t happen overnight, and I while I have yet to meet too many others as of yet, I am thinking I am not the only one whose been down this path of unintended self-destruction.

So in a hopeful way of giving back, it is for the ones who see themselves in my story that I write.

I am free today because of the miraculous truth of God’s undying love that I will never deserve but always receive. So I write out of His love that comes from my heart because that is what we are meant to do.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be FREE. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in LOVE.” Gal 5:13

To love and be loved. That is our reason for being.

The Light of Loves We Have Lost

The other day on one of our walks,

my youngest son innocently wondered,

What would it have been like to have had Aunt Tina

in my life?

…In that moment, I was taken aback.

Flashing memories and raw emotions swarming through my mind…

Too freshly resurfaced to express all the wonders of my sister…

Taken away all too soon for me to have fully appreciated

the first fifteen years;

when I had her in mine.

But in that moment,

as I struggled to come up with an answer,

out of my mouth came the words that she is in his life;

just not as someone who he can physically see.

angelic-sky

I told him I believe our lost loves become our guardian angels

who help watch over us and keep us safe throughout our lives.

I told him I believe it is the angels of those whom we’ve loved and lost along the way

who help protect us in our darkest moments.

Who help us to eventually see all that is beautiful and meaningful in this life again.

Because without them to remind us in our hurried lives,

we become too narrowly focused on the daily demands

and we can easily forget.

Life can seem unfair.

The dark can overpower even the brightest moments

if we forget to seek out that which brings love, peace and joy.

So I told my son I remember my sister today

as I gaze beyond the deepest oceans into the endless skies,

as I listen to the birds

singing joyfully

and as I watch the leaves dancing among the swaying trees.

windy-tree

And now that I have had time to ponder, I can say my sister

was a deep breath of fresh morning air,

the first drop of much needed rain

and the bright ray of sunshine in a sky full of darkened clouds.

I told my son about a lot of laughter,

a bunch of silly and so much fun in every day living.

 

And as I continue to envision

all the good she left behind

to all those who were blessed enough

to have loved her on this Earth…

I wonder…

What if we took the light

that once shined

in those whom we’ve loved and lost

and let that same light shine again

through us?

For is it not true that one of the reasons we continue to love

those who were only in our lives for a little while

is because of how they made us feel

when we were with them?

Love, peace and joy doesn’t need to end because someone we love fades from our lives.

Rather it should continue forever because of who we are

for once having been loved by them.

Kel B

May 3, 2016

Depression and Addiction: Closest to Death I’ll ever be Without Dying…

When I was 16 and first diagnosed with depression that would torment me through subsequent seasons of my life, people would tell me, if only you could see how beautiful you are, you wouldn’t be sad anymore.  Even my therapist told me I should focus on the features of myself I liked instead of obsess about the ones I didn’t.

As if that would make the negative voice in my head that so often intruded my thoughts go silent.

It was times like these I’d take a microscope to my life and pick out all the ways everyone else’s lives were better. I would scan over the entirety of my body and find all the features I disliked. Each part of my life I had reasons to hate in my mind, I’d write them down like a shopping list.

I don’t know when I accepted depression as part of who I was, but I know for many more years than I care to admit, I found a way to hide from it. And for a time, I hid so well, it almost cost my life.

When my sister was killed a month before my sixteenth birthday, I answered the hospital call. But it wasn’t like the call a year before, where her first alcohol related accident rendered her comatose for a week in ICU. Forcing her broken body and traumatized brain to learn how to walk and talk again.

This time there was a chilling sense of urgency on the line. How far are you from the hospital? How soon can you get here? It’s important you come now.

My mom and brother rushed to the hospital.  A friend had spent the night whose family was out of town. And I needed to go to school. I needed normal. I needed to pray to God that He wouldn’t allow a worse outcome than what we narrowly escaped from the last time. Praying silently in the bathtub, I yearned to hear the opening of the front door and the good news to overwhelm me with a deeply desired relief. Even if it meant another long recovery, that we could handle. But deep in my spirit, I was also fearing the news that would alter the path of my destiny.

And for me and my already wounded family, and the innocence of a young girl that drained with the bath water, our lives were forever changed.  The sunken look on their faces made the words that followed unnecessary. But they seeped from my mother’s mouth as my brother tried to keep her from falling.

She didn’t make it this time

Everything good I once stood for was shattered in that moment. In just those six little words. And here would begin the tumultuous relationship with depression and all its manifestations that I would be forced to know.

And the unfortunate truth about this traumatic chapter of my life, instead of leaning on God for strength in His promises that He’d carry me through while I processed my grief, it became a lame excuse for my subsequently defiant behaviors for the purpose of honoring the life of my sister.

In my 16 year-old mind, my sister was the life of any party. Her smile lit up the room and people were drawn to her like an addiction. An addiction I would eventually take on as my own. She was alluringly beautiful and drew laughter from people that kept them thirsting for more. And perhaps typical with teens growing up in the 80’s, alcohol had become a weekend enhancer to her audaciously charming ways. At least in these two life altering events that ultimately stole her from mine.

It mattered not that I went on to graduate college from a major university, or that I followed what I defined as the “typical” societal pattern of graduation, marriage, career and parenthood in that well thought out predestined order.

I made sure to honor my sister with alcohol as my dependable counterpart every step of the way. It became a crutch to the lies I chose to believe. That my life was worth far less than hers, and that in the unspoken words that would play like a broken record, everyone around me really wished it would have been me.

I spent several years living out what my sister no longer could. Flirting with disaster with every encounter, often not knowing where I’d wake the next day until daylight forced me to opened my eyes. I eventually met a strikingly handsome man who settled me down but willingly embarked upon the journey of high-functional alcoholic living at its finest.

It would be several years of juggling marriage, family and careers as a typically happy family before the loss of my dad and both in-laws in a span of a few years would cause depression to resurface beyond my ability to contain it with the amnesia of a drink.  So I sought out relief through antidepressants, because it helped me out of my slump as a teen and came recommended by some friends.

And despite the incessant warnings about the dangers of drinking on medications, I ignored them until the physical side effect became so exasperated and the compulsion to ward them off increased. And then I couldn’t stop. The toxic poisons fused together overpowered my mind, stole chunks of memory and rationale, and for a year and a half, rendered me helpless over any life worth living. I lost my career, almost broke up my family and narrowly ended my disastrous life. And all that was supposed to be in honor of my sister.

Closest to death I will ever be without dying is how I describe the curse I fell under before I was able to break free from my addiction.

And it was only by the same grace of God who I pleaded with in the bathtub many fateful years ago, pleading for him to keep my life “normal” because I had already had taken on too much to handle, that I was shown my story wasn’t over and I had no choice but to surviveMy story needed to be told. Even to just one.

That negative voice in our heads that tell us we aren’t good enough to be the one to survive the loss of a sibling is an outright lie. God doesn’t have favorites but He does allow free will. No one will ever be able to answer why my sister had to die at the hands of another, but that doesn’t mean that my life didn’t matter. I took the long way around discovering this truth. But hopefully my story can help shorten the path of another.

So as a new way to honor my sister, what is your life story?

The story of how you thought your life should go, but through an unfortunate twist of life events, got derailed because you encountered pages you weren’t prepared to write? And how did you survive? How did the tragedy turn into triumph? And can you use your experience of victory to help another? Because if we’re still on this Earth, we somehow survived, and it’s certainly for a purpose.

How can the detours of your story, where you undoubtedly gained wisdom and strength, help someone else change the ending of theirs?

~ Kel B.

ADDICTION: THE BROKEN PROMISE OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER, JUST BEYOND OUR REACH.

If addiction is defined as a compulsion to do something repeatedly, regardless of the negative consequences, it makes no sense this would be a choice.  Especially if continuing to do so hurts the ones we love. Or becomes the reason we live. Because neither of these would we do by choice.

At least not in our right mind.

Addiction doesn’t start out as an act beyond our control. It begins in a slow moving motion and we don’t even recognize its growth until it’s apparent to all those around us. A reality which, for a time at least, we will adamantly deny.

In the beginning, we try something meant to give us joy, and in the surge of its intensity, we never want it to end. The giddiness of that first glass of wine after a stress filled day, or that rush of excitement from a winning hand at blackjack. Then we do it again and we feel joy. And again, we don’t want it to end.

Eventually, we like it enough to create meaning around it. 

We host barbecues and football parties, where drinking ourselves to oblivion is an acceptable way to celebrate the occasion.  It doesn’t matter the end of the night leads to another blackout. We plan family trips to Vegas, as there is so much to be seen, yet we fail to venture beyond the casino walls because we are one step away from hitting the jackpot. Familiar roads filled with good intention, always leading to a dead end. So close to our incessant desire, yet still so very far.

The broken promise of happily ever after, just beyond our reach.

We ignore those who frown at our behaviors and discount their judgment as simply not knowing how to have fun. What we don’t yet admit is that our behaviors stopped being fun long ago, and we are wickedly close to falling off the edge. Yet we are forever chasing that unreachable joy that swept us off our feet during the addiction honeymoon, where we first fell in love.

What we fail to realize in the blindness of active addiction is not only do we keep doing it for the way it makes us feel, we equally do it for the way it makes us NOT feel. Research continues to show addiction has become a detrimental escape from the unfortunate experiences of our past.  An incomplete mourning for the loss of something meaningful that ultimately changes the direction of our life path.

The loss of a loved one, a difficult divorce or an unwanted touch can all take considerable chunks of well being out of a previously unscathed being. The pain of these experiences left unattended can weaken our whole existence and put a halt on our life motivation.  Especially when those who love us are unable to heal our pain because of their own.

It is of no surprise that anxiety and depression swarm within the tumultuous relationship with addiction.

At times it is difficult to decipher which one causes the other. And so begins the infinite cycle of turning to addiction to numb the pain, which further ignites the anxiety of our choices and ultimately fuels our depressed state of being. Only leading us to escape into our addiction all the more.

Eventually we learn to hide from all of our fears with addiction because we are mistakingly empowered by how we are feeling in that moment that brings us joy.  And we create misconceptions we hold onto that by continuing in our addiction, somehow we will maintain this perpetual happiness.  Or at least we won’t think about the pain.  At least not today.

All too soon, this relationship with addiction evolves from giving pleasure and avoiding pain to becoming a necessary evil to simply exist.  The compulsion sets in and our minds become fixed on our unquenchable urge for that next drink.  Our bodies develop a physical dependence that we can no longer disguise.

So we drink to stop our hands from shaking. We do it to feel “normal” again, at least enough to get through the day.  We gamble away that last dollar to suffice the unattainable desire to recover our losses. To get back the tax return that was meant to pay our mortgage.  Grabbing for what can’t be reached. Searching for joy where it will never again be found.

All to get back that feeling of ultimate pleasure from when we first fell for addiction.

In the end and without help beyond ourselves, the broken state of our damaged brain allows addiction to engulf us with a curse so intense, nothing in our destructive path can stop us from this hell. Not our spouse, our children, our parents, our failing health or our careers.

Not one thing can stand between addiction and our mind.

We have succumbed to this disease bigger than us and it grows stronger than our ability to stop it.  We stand to lose everything, yet that might not be enough to end the insanity.  The curse destroys all that was good in our lives and renders us hopeless for a better tomorrow.

My personal and still very raw experience with addiction has yet to be shared, but there is no doubt in my recovering mind, the addiction that diverted my path was not there by any choice of my own. My path to destruction crept upon me as the overpowering curse that it was and stole a mother from her children for several months of their lives I can never get back.  It rendered me helpless for weeks on end, stealing chunks of time I can’t recall and ultimately ending a career I spent many years building for the person I mistakingly thought I wanted to be.  It shook me up, swallowed my joy and buried deep into my unconscious mind all that I once loved.

Shattering the unscathed child I yearned to be and morphing me into a monstrous being my conscious mind will never want to know.

My truth remains that I didn’t willingly choose addiction. Rather the disease of addiction chose me.  And it was only through the brokenness of my crumbling spirit and the insanity of my disastrous mind that I found the miraculous strength beyond myself, building the courage to crawl out from under the evil force that bound me. Crushing the curse of addiction.

The addiction from hell, that almost became stronger than my will to survive.

By Kel B.

Reason for Being

This day finally marks a year some would consider as the day I hit my “rock bottom”.

Words can’t describe the cloudiness and tension throbbing in my head as I scrambled to get out of the house in time with everything I had. I may never know how damaged my brain really was that day. Or continues to be since.  But my heart, besides being on the verge of exploding inside my chest, was screaming for the firefighters and paramedics who came to my rescue to get their truck and ambulance off my street before my oldest son would turn the corner in route from school and see his totally broken mother being hauled away for what would be several grueling nights in the cardiac unit at the hospital. The same hospital where, ironically, I was blessed with my youngest son years before.

It took me close to a year to muster the courage to seek out my medical records from that stay, but turns out that upon arrival, my enzyme levels were multiple times the normal functioning level. And I was essentially proceeding on a fast track toward death.

What followed would be several days of absolute horror. Horror during the five hour wait in the emergency room, extremely nauseated, shaking uncontrollably and so thirsty from dehydration that I dozed in and out of consciousness wondering how I had become “this person”. The person who would have to be confined to a bed with constant line of sight supervision to monitor possible seizures, resistance and dangerously elevated heart rate. The person so delusional from the inconceivable amount of medications that were trying to slow down the function of my brain while I was trying everything in my power to retain it. The person whose mind was trying to tell my body what to do, yet my body was too saturated with powerful chemicals to comprehend it. Plunging me deeper and deeper into insanity.  The person “the eyes” would avoid as they met mine, but would be covering me with judgment as I closed my own in absolute shame… Hoping against hope to never be seen by them again…

hospital

On this day, as we turned the corner to leave my neighborhood in an ambulance never to be seen by the eyes of my son, I thanked God for sparing my children of such a heart wrenching memory.  I have thanked Him many days since, although I know better than anyone on this green earth that just because neither of my boys saw me leave broken and addicted in an ambulance that day, that surely didn’t spare them from the 18 months of agony and terror they encountered while watching their mother slowly succumb to the evil curse that almost ripped me away from them and everything I had once lived for.

Since that day, and after a year of healing from the physical, emotional and mental anguish of this curse, I wake each morning with gratitude for the chance I have at life again. Since that day I have reconnected with all that I have loved in this life before I lost myself to the pain, regret and sadness that had taken over my entire being. Since that fateful day, which I acknowledge now as having been necessary in order for me to break away from the once unbreakable curse that all but consumed me, I have found amazement in the life I have here on this earth again.  I see beauty in the trees and the mountains, I see peace in the sunrises and sunsets and I see faith and hope in the blue skies above.

Sunset
My daily inspiration wanders around here…

And as I reflect on this past year of forgiveness and growth, and on the beautiful relationships that have been rekindled with my boys on a level deeper than I could have ever hoped for, I am blessed in the knowledge that I don’t have to remember that day a year ago as only being my “rock bottom”.

For everyday as I continue to gaze into the eyes of my children, and see the God-given gifts that they are, and I feel the renewed hope of becoming someone to them who has more to give in their lives than only God could ever fathom, I find love and purpose. Love in how my heart beats to see their hopes and dreams one day turn to reality.  And purpose. Purpose in what has since been revealed to be my My Reason for Being.

My Life Worth Living…

Revival can mean a personal spiritual awakening experienced by an individual, frequently after a season of spiritual backsliding-Nathan Finn

My personal revival began about 17 months ago. Well 529 days to be exact, or so says the Counting Days app on my phone. This is what you download when you desire an occasional reminder of how far you have come from the deep depths of hell that almost stole your soul. Especially on the days when you almost forget.

On the morning of May 4, 2015, I arrived in San Diego to stay with a friend and undergo ten days of what will soon be known to the world as Brain Restoration Therapy. This to the few who are already blessed to know, is also known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, NAD for short. In simplest terms, NAD is a coenzyme of vitamin B3 and becoming known by scientists and researchers for its amazing effects on the mitochondria, the required source for energy production in every cell of our bodies. NAD is believed to pave a restoration of the cells in your brain that becomes damaged from many toxic sources, specific to myself is the dangerous concoction of alcohol and medications for depression and anxiety.  After months of what research now points to as chemically induced psychoses, this was the last chance for my family to save me from myself, and it just goes without saying I was sinking fast. Inpatient treatment found me back to the bottle within days. And having just been forced into resignation from my 15 year career,  suffered a major injury in a blackout and hospitalized multiple times for acute intoxication, this was literally my last hope.

The allure of this widely uncharted form of treatment was its overwhelming reports about pain free detoxification and lack of almost any withdrawal symptoms. This is where I was stuck. Drinking to enjoyment had long passed. I was drinking to exist. To not shake or vomit. Although I did both anyways. I now drank just to be able to pretend to function in society, which many times I failed miserably.

Additional bonuses that my desperate mind was drawn to were the claims of a huge reduction in cravings, a clarity of mind and increased mood and energy. For so many months my brain had been in an endless fog where fragmented chunks of time were jagged swords that only struck in my worst nightmares. In the absolute depths of hell, I had no where else to go but up.

On the first day of treatment, I remember little more than a blurriness of the many months prior, where I floundered in and out of consciousness and merely existed. Nothing more than a physical entity taking up space but contributing nothing toward any life worth living. And I am told I slept a lot.

After day two of my treatment, I surprisingly began to regain a sense of who I was and that I may have some sort of purpose in my life. I felt myself waking up, as if I had been in a deep sleep for a very long time and somebody just shook me awake. My mind began to form ideas again. I started to have an opinion. I carried on conversations and people listened, as if what I had to say actually mattered. For a few moments at a time, I felt somewhat human again. And yet after so many days of not even knowing what day it was, I couldn’t help but wonder when this new found clarity would end. It felt too good to be true.

Much of what I remember from the months when I was in the depths of my curse was like watching a horror movie with blurred glasses.  It all seemed foggy and surreal and so filled with evil. The long, dark nights of gasping to breathe with music buzzing in the back of my head that no one else could hear. The weeks of not showing up to work without calling in. The missed football games and teacher conferences because I just couldn’t get out of bed that day. Or that week. I have vague memories of laying in bed hearing the world going on around me and wanting to take part, but my clouded mind was paralyzed and my body could not move. It’s all just a mumbled blur that I don’t ever care to see clearly…

It’s memories like these that I wish I could do over again and make the nightmares of my past different.  While at the same time, I am so glad I never will.

But the days that followed only brought more clarity and enlightenment. I began to see a place for myself in the future. The energy in my body returned and I yearned to get healthy again. And I became excited for the next chapters in my life. By day ten, I felt as if the broken entity of mere existence that I was just a week prior was a far and distant shadow that only got smaller with each passing day.

While my mind was more clear than it had been in over a year, I was also well aware that there would be a lot more hurt before there would be complete healing. Specifically around the pain that was endured by my boys.

About a week after my treatment, I encountered a text message written by my youngest son to one of his friends that I will never forget. It stated he didn’t see his mom much anymore because she wasn’t around very often. He said I was sick and had been away for treatment again because the first one didn’t work…this, coming out of the mouth of my eleven year old son is something I never fathomed in any life I would have chosen for myself.

In that very moment, as heart wrenching as it was, I vowed to keep this message close to my heart and never forget how I almost stole a mother worth loving away from her children.

A week after my mind and body was replenished with all that I had spent years depriving it from, my appearance took on a new formation and my hollow eyes showed signs of life again. My malnutrition and toxicity were slowly being replaced with nutrition and hope. Hope for a better tomorrow and a new found will to become the mother my children deserved to have in their lives.

And I have yet to experience the cravings that historically overpowered my will. In my clear mind and amazing new chance at life, it confounds me to even entertain that curse back into my life. And I have been told others who have been treated with NAD have similar stories. No longer is there a necessity to identify with the brokenness of the past.

Never will I be able to erase what my kids saw their mother become in the depths of my despair, but I have been blessed with God’s undeserving grace of forgiveness and miraculous love that in no way could I ever understand pulled me up from the darkness that was too strong to fight on my own. And with each passing moment, you can bet I will be creating new memories with my boys, not to erase the past, but to pave the way to a better future. For them. For me. And maybe someday, for someone else who is still suffering just the same.

Today I live each day with an absolute gratitude and appreciation for the renewed sense of purpose in my life.  It is my belief that it was always there for me to grasp, and now that I have been blessed enough to receive it, my sincerest hope is to never let it go.

Last year before this spiritual awakening and new found  journey that has blessed me beyond words, I sat alone in a fog wondering if I would ever be worthy in this life. This year and with every waking day for as long as I am able, I will give thanks to my Higher Power and hug on my children with all of my heart.

And I will be forever grateful for my personal revival…and second chance at my purpose…

My life, worth living.