What is it?
The Storytelling Series is an opportunity for anyone to share a story. Funny and lighthearted, deep and painful, enlightening and informative. Whatever you want to say. Whatever you want the world to hear. This is your space.
Sober Warrior of Two
Honesty, loyalty, compassion, and just plain old doing the right thing are principles my life is currently set upon. But it hasn’t always been this way. Three years ago it was ripping and running, getting high, lying, ignoring responsibilities, not being accountable, and a million other terrible and awful things. Most of the time, I am beyond grateful for how far I have come, yet some days I still feel just a sliver ashamed. I am in no way, shape, or form, proud of what I have done and what all I put those who truly love and care about me through on a daily basis; however I am proud to have come out the other side of it.
When it comes to addiction, some people may think very one dimensional about it; once treated, the person is cured, because you know, everything is black and white in this world. Addiction is by far, the grayest, most diverse and dynamic thing I have ever come across in my 27 years of existence. Especially, viewing it as someone once neck deep in it at one point.
If you were to walk past me on the street, I didn’t look like I was an IV Heroin user, but I was. I tried to be ‘functioning’, but that didn’t work. It consumed me physically and mentally. You would never know I couldn’t keep my bank account in the positives. Yet here I am, present day, going to work everyday, renting a house, having a car payment and a happy and healthy family. Three years ago, I could barely open my eyes in the morning. I struggle as everyone does, and some days are better than others, but today, I know how to cope with my pain and struggles, when three years ago, I used whatever I could to numb it and ignore it.
I believe all people deserve second chances. Even a third, fourth, fifth or twentieth chance if needed.
And for most, there comes a time where the pain is great enough to make a real change and stick with it. I get told, “You and your kind don’t deserve to be revived after an overdose”. “Addicts deserve to die.” I have heard it all and until recent I have stayed quiet and I think to myself, it’s their opinion, I must respect that. Fuck all that. No human being deserves to die no matter what. Does a cancer patient deserve to die because they can’t get rid of the cancer? Does a diabetic deserve to die because they can’t get their sugar under control? People with substance disorders do not deserve to die either. We are a self-medicating population trying to fix some kind of pain and our drug or drugs of choice are the only thing we have found so far that works. None of us set out in life to have a substance use disorder. After so long or even after one use of the drug, our brain chemistry literally changes. Then what? Did I still deserve to die and leave my daughter motherless? No, I needed people’s help and support, not their judgement and ridicule. At the end of the day, that is what saved me. It's much easier to treat addicts as vermin who should be exterminated, rather than to try to understand the nature of drug addiction and why it has such a deadly grip.
In sobriety, not everything is rainbows and puppies, I can promise you that. I stress and worry and have mental breakdowns that include sobbing and lots of tears. I am a sober mother of two and my kids can be brilliant perfect little beings and other days I want to toss them in the snow from them being total nut cases, but I still love them all the same.
That’s right, I am building up some resilient babes! And that’s all I ever want for my kids, a good heart, never give up, never be afraid to ask for help, stay humble and please always know you can come home. Sometimes, I wish kids came with instructions but they don’t. They come with this weird thing called ‘trial and error’. I am guilty of being a chaser of perfection. But what the hell is that? Unrealistic, that’s what. I guess you could say I am doing my best and not picking up while I am at it. No two days are the same and some are better than others. But my family is well, my babies are healthy and loved, and I am happy healthy and sober.
Written by: Kelley Anne Thompson