As I journey this new life of recovery, I continue to be amazed at the new discoveries, a lot of hard work and perseverance on my part has reviled miracles once believed impossible. I’m only just seeing the changes in my behaviours, attitudes and actions. When I finally woke up to the severity of my situation, it was almost like I had amnesia. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror, nor did I have a clue of who or what I was. It was an immensely scary experience waking up each morning in a psychiatric ward not knowing who you are, life as I knew it had been stripped away in a few short days. I quickly began to journal, trying to recall exactly what happened.
I had no comprehension or understanding of how I got there in the first place, it was all a blur, finding myself surrounded by strangers in a very strange place. I was frightened beyond belief. As these strangers began to explain to me the malady of my situation, panic quickly set in, escape was impossible, for all the doors to the outside world were locked around me. My thirst for freedom consumed me, it was all I could think of, if only I could get out of here? I’d better be able to sort out my problems.
The first week went by incredibly slow, being fed medication I couldn’t deny lead me to a more confused state of mind then the one I entered with. Who was I? How did I end up in here? Why was this happening to me? Filled with overwhelming questions and no particular answers. One day I was allowed access to a locker where all my belongings were stored and among them I found a 8×10 piece of paper that looked unfamiliar, on it stated that I was committed to a minimum of 30 days. My eyes just about popped out of my head! The anger ragged inside of me like a wildfire. I had no recollection of signing that paper, yet there it was, plain as day…my signature.
Once I had that wildfire of anger under control I came to the stark realization that somehow I had committed myself, only solidifying the fact that I truly didn’t know anything about who I was. The truth that I had done this to myself felt impossible to accept, yet it was hard to deny the truth when your holding it in your own hands. I was forced to face the truth and to find out who I really was, without outside influences which I had relied on so heavily. It became glaringly apparent that my freedom was contingent on my cooperation. Every morning my name was written on a white board under a program I was to attend, with nothing much else to do but be consumed with my own thoughts and confusion, I attended the activities with much hesitation.
One particular day I was taken for a car ride way out of town, the ride was a bit of a blur, still dazed and confused from high dosages of medication, not knowing where we were going or why I had been taken on this particular trip. We arrived into the wilderness of tall trees and blooming saskatoon bushes, paths of over hanging branches, skirted with wild roses. I was lead to a small beach, where the waters of a beautiful lake reached out to the horizon, I approached the shoreline, knelt down to the water and put both hands in it. The breeze in my hair, the coolness of the water, the soft sand, the smell of fresh air and sunshine, it all felt strangely familiar, it had jogged my memory. My thirst for freedom had finally been quenched. An answer to my question…this is where I belonged, in the hands of G.O.D – the great outdoors.
Trapped in my own mind I had somehow forgotten all the beauty around me and now I was being reminded of it again. I collected a rock and a feather to take back with me to hold, as a reminder of that small adventure, the first time I felt a little hope. Day after day, hour after hour, assigned to talk with doctors and nurses, sorting through the causes and conditions of my current situation, digging up the past of my soul sickness. Reasons why…..”If only”, “But”, ” Because” and “They”, these professionals were not buying my bullshit stories or excuses. They say trust takes time, yet I never took the time to trust anyone, I’d been way too hurt putting my trust in others, I couldn’t even trust myself half the time.
I also traded honesty for bullshit, besides no one ever wanted to hear the real truth. I’d kept secrets to myself to protect myself and others for as long as I could remember. That somehow all changed in that strange place I found myself in. I couldn’t escape myself, I couldn’t escape the truth, I as literally forced to face all the things I’d been avoiding most of my life. My greatest escape was in the bottom of a bottle and I didn’t have that to turn to anymore. No where else to turn, I reluctantly started accepting the help I was being offered. If they really wanted the truth out of me, then that’s what they were going to get. I figured my situation wasn’t going to get any worse then it already was. None of my truth’s, honesty and secrets seemed to shock them like I thought it would. It was as though they had an understanding of what had puzzled me for so long.
As the honesty slowly started to pour out, the more answers I got to my complex questions, but the more answers I got the more questions I had, and to those it would take years, months of therapy, self reflection, meditation and prayer. It was my complete honesty with all the doctors, nurses and myself that helped me escape that place, yet that was only just the beginning of a new journey I was to embark on. I did find out some things about myself in there yet I had a long way to go in finding out about more. Now with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, anxiety and alcoholism and injected with heavy doses of medication, I was left to figure the rest out for myself, I immediately signed myself up to a treatment center where I was told I could get more answers, which is what I needed. After losing everything and having to start over I needed all the help I could get at that point.
That dirty four letter word I’d held back for so long…HELP…had finally been spoken! By the grace of god and his loving ways he put a lot of strong and gracious individuals in my path, one’s that taught me first to crawl, then how to stand on my own two feet, the importance of baby steps, putting one foot in front of the other and how to survive by taking one day at a time.
I’ve come a long way from those humble beginnings. I’ve built up things better and stronger then they were before, the mortar for my foundation has the proper mixture this time. As time goes by I’ve also built new memories and how to use past events as teaching tools. I’ve made some colossal mistakes, this one in particular will go down in history. Some; most, never learn their lesson, God only knows it took me a very long wile, yet I’m grateful now everyday, that God gave me the strength and courage to get through what I’ve been through.
It wasn’t until I was a little over a year sober when my memory started to clear up, and I was reminded of my tenacity and strength, my beauty and ability to overcome. The type of kindness I possessed and my thoughtfulness towards others. I was literally learning how to rewire my brain and still am. Faith in the not yet seen plays a huge part in my recovery, and faith without work, doesn’t work. There are no breaks in recovery or resting on your laurels, it takes diligence and perseverance, it’s letting go and letting God, it’s acceptance, honesty and humility. It does not come easy either, but it works….If you work at it.