I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether or not I wanted to share this post. I have been a people pleaser most of my life and I didn’t want any one to be angry with me. Others will stop reading. BUT there may be one or two who will be encouraged or know recovery is actually possible.
My first time in recovery, I shared with everyone. I didn’t care who knew because NA and the people I met saved my life. They helped me to learn about me which made me confident. Some would say I got cocky, since after two plus years of daily meetings I walked away from the program thinking I was “better” and was healed. I was given back all of the tangibles in my life – family, a career, a house, car and so much more.
If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I have referenced my relapse and my walk back into recovery. Pride and ego gets the best of me as I worry about what people will think. BUT there may be someone out there who needs to hear this story….
When I started blogging in 2013, I shared the story of my addiction. The story of getting clean in 1991 was a blessing. I was blessed with many years in recovery – from drugs. Of course, I now know I substituted work for my drug of choice. I became a workaholic – and some wondered if I cared more about my clients then I did my family. As a workaholic, I had an occasional glass of wine figuring I had things under control. Little did I know, it was the beginning of making a total mess of my life again. See, I forgot one simple thing from those early meetings – a drug is a drug is a drug. The truth is, anything we become obsessive about is a form of addiction. So, as I worked for many years at a job I loved; I was able to “manage” my work – addiction.
When for health reasons I had to give up my crazy commute (4 hours a day round trip) and a job I loved – I was lost. I had no real identity or at least I didn’t think so. The first year wasn’t bad. I worked on my direct sales business, and collected unemployment while I looked for something close to home. The truth was being 54 with LOTS of experience was not an appealing trait for most employers. All they saw was someone who was “older” and who they thought would quit when a better opportunity came along.
Over the next 7 years, my life would be like a roller coaster ride. Taking jobs to fill the void and pay the bills. But each time, my MS (not yet diagnosed) reared its ugly head, and I had to give my notice. During 4+ of those years, not only did I struggle to find a job but I endured endless testing to determine what was going on health-wise with me.
Financial unmanageability was starting to wreck havoc in my life without a steady income. MS started affecting my memory, my moods, my balance and my life. The unmanageability throughout my life got worse. No steady income. An inconsistent commission check from my direct sales business. Using credit cards to pay for things or to shop or to keep up appearances. Drinking wine to relax. The old behaviors and feelings from my early days of using came back really fast. Stuffing my feelings again. Feeling like I didn’t belong. Feeling alone. Feeling like a victim. Feeling unworthy of anything. Playing the comparison game and never winning. Being self-centered (I want what I want when I want it). Angry. Letting pride rule. Jealousy. All of those things I thought I had dealt with long ago.
See, the reality was I gave up the drugs but I never really worked on me. I substituted work for drugs. I identified as a Social Worker. I identified as mom. But I never identified as Hope – the person. Looking back, I was happy with my life BUT I don’t think I was ever really happy with me!
One year ago, I walked back into the rooms of NA, I felt as broken and lost as the first day I walked into the rooms on October 26, 1991. I have learned so much in the last year. This year has been a turning point in my life…. you would think at 62 I would have finally gotten it together. LOL.
Are things perfect? No but they are getting better. I am learning to like me for me. I still tend to play the comparison in my business but it is getting better. I am working on re-building broken relationships. I am building a network of strong women who I can lean on. I am learning to accept my MS diagnosis and truly believe #mswillnotdefineme.
Why am I sharing this? I want to help someone else who may be struggling. I am coming face to face with my inner demons so I can move on from the past and embrace the future.
Have a blessed day!