I looked across the room and I saw him. He had dark hair, skinny jeans, a Radiohead tattoo, a cracked front tooth, and a gorgeous aura. I had to have him. His name was Luke. He had come to inpatient treatment after he watched his best friend commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Luke nearly drank himself to death soon after.Read More
I deserve love. I write it out on my mirror, as my therapist suggests, and I repeat it to myself multiple times a day. I think it’s bullshit. Why do I have to keep telling myself this? She keeps assigning me tasks that I do not want to do and I am tired of all this talk about self-love and vulnerability.Read More
I sit in his office. It is the first time I am willing to be honest, about anything. About all of it. About what hurts & what doesn't & where & why. I tell him the reason. I ask for help. He is the first psychiatrist I have ever visited.
I am twenty-one years old and in my first year of graduate school. Over the past few months, I have found myself abusing prescription pills and taking them for non-medical reasons. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but for me, it is. I don’t have any experience with addiction – besides seeing my grandmother fall over constantly, after drinking too much red wine. This is my only taste of alcoholism. Her. I vow that I will never turn into her. I make promises to drink white wine over red wine. To never lose myself. To always stay in control.Read More
It’s well known that one of the top reasons people are deferred from treatment is stigma and shame. People do not want to admit they have a substance-abuse problem. They don’t want to ask for help because of the shame that surrounds addiction. I didn’t either. I didn’t want the world to know that I had issues with prescription pills. I didn’t want my work to find out that I was swallowing pills just to get through the day. I didn’t want anyone to know that the first thing I thought about in the morning was a drug. A magic pill that would make me feel like something other than myself.Read More
Sobriety is rad AF. Did I just say that? Yes, I did. And 3 years ago, when I was new to recovery, I never would have imagined thinking that sobriety was cool. But, it is. Sobriety is the greatest gift I have ever received. I didn’t ask for this gift; it asked for me. I never would have believed that I could live a sober, spiritual, and connected life. Pre-sobriety, I believed that I would live a successful, wealthy, and perfect life. My goal wasn’t to find inner peace or to be helpful to others – my goal was to climb the ladder of success, so I could appear and/or feel powerful. My life, pre-sobriety, was about accomplishments and praise from others and power.Read More
"Are you okay, Lara?" Katie's voice came from the other side of the stall; the woman I adored and considered my mentor at one time. I remember the concern in her voice, and all I wanted to say was, "Just leave me alone."
"Yup. Everything's fine"
In reality, everything was not fine. Nowhere near fine, in fact. I was wearing a bandage around my wrist because I had torn through my walls the night before. Thinking someone was spying on me. Wires in the walls. A framed picture fell and glass sliced through my skin.Read More
I was eleven years old when I discovered the thing that made me feel most alive. It was poetry. It was reading. It was the digging in and undoing and unfolding of pain, in words. It was confessionalism. It was being honest and real with myself. It was being true to who I was and it was the knowing of love. It was the magic in being alive.
It appears every hard and tough memory that I remember, came at the age of eleven. If you look at pictures of me from my past, at eleven years old, there is no smile. There is never a smile. There is raccoon eyes and darkness. And a belief that happiness was unattainable.Read More
For me, recovery has been a process of reclamation of my true self. It’s been about growth, evolution, and healing, but it’s also been about unlearning what I once believed as true. There are so many times I bulldozed through life not listening to my own intuition. I didn’t identify the truths that guided me, but instead listened to the truths that guided our society and culture, as well as my own addictive behaviors. I had to unlearn so many of the toxic habits I had developed and I had to create an unshakable faith in my own abilities to heal and recover. The following is a list of seven truths I learned in my own recovery from love addiction and drug addiction.Read More
For years, I hid my addiction to prescription pills. In fact, I didn’t even want to call it an addiction. If I called it an addiction, then that meant I had to quit and I wasn’t ready to do that. There’s a part of me that wishes I would have asked for help earlier than I did. But, there is also a part of me that knows every experience I went through was part of a perfect, divine plan that led me to become the woman I am today.Read More
Over the last three years of my sobriety, I have grown accustomed to talking. Telling my story. Sharing all of me; the dark and the light. But, in a case like mine, this isn’t the usual story. We might have a safe space in a church basement, among friends who understand the beauty of destruction, but where is this safe space in the world?
I am one of the millions of women in this country who will abuse prescription pills. Pills prescribed by a doctor with no intent to get out of control or cause chaos. In fact, abusing substances didn’t seem to be in my make-up or my biology. It was dangerous and I knew it. I have a history of alcoholism in my family. My solution to this was to not drink. I even wrote poems about the destruction it took on my family, watching my grandmother pass out and fall over continually as a child was enough to turn me away from alcohol for life. I wrote poems about spitting in red wine, because I wanted to be nothing like her, not even compared to her. I didn’t want addiction to enter my bones. Yet, it did and it has.Read More
I started dreaming again. Not just dreaming, but creating, envisioning, manifesting, writing. I flush my wounds and pain from the day in my sacred bath. The epsom salts melt and the Lush bath bomb explodes. I am cleansed. I am free.
I smell the scent of lavender and eucalyptus and whatever smell encompasses the frankincense essential oil, I smell that too. My worries melt into the drain and my mind and my heart remind me of how beautiful I am. That I have talent. As we all do.Read More
What is so hard to understand? I wonder. Why doesn’t he fucking get it? I think silently, but don’t say out loud – because that sounds harsh and unforgiving and really just, bitter. But, truly, I am not bitter, no matter what it sounds like, this is actually incredibly compassionate, and even deeper, tender and loving. Because I want you to know the world I know.
The world that began the day I said no to everything that wanted to keep me stuck in a place of loneliness and fear and self-pity – and all-nighters full of pills and cocaine, and broken mirrors, and marathons of bad TV, and men who hurt me, and behaviors that didn’t suit me.
The day I said no to a life I did not create, but created me.Read More
I was about four months sober when I first heard the term “Rejection is God’s Protection.” I remember scribbling the words in a note pad and never, ever forgetting them.
So, when my boyfriend told me he was not ready to be engaged to me this April, my heart broke. I was ready for it all. I was madly in love. I wanted him, as my forever.
At the time, I looked around at our beautiful home, and I heard a quiet voice saying: “You will be okay. You will be okay.” Over and over, I repeated those words in my head.
“You will be okay.”Read More
The hot loneliness. The pain. The grief. The terror. The magic. It’s not linear. It was never meant to be linear. It is up and down, and terrifying and exciting and exhausting.
I don’t eat for almost 6 days. I force myself to swallow at least one English muffin a day. So, I eat. But, I don’t eat well. I’ve lost 6lbs since this break up. I read a poem that tells me to not lose too much weight. It reads “stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge/and you are not stupid.” But, this isn’t revenge. This is not me saying I will lose weight for you now.Read More
"I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me."
- Cheryl Strayed
You are not alone. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. All that hurt in your heart and in your gut; I have carried it too. I have stood where you stand. A rage of self-pity and anger and what the fucks and how the hell did this happen to me?!
I get it sister. I get it. Lean in. Let me hold you for one moment. Feel my breath against your breath. Let my calm meet your calm. You have it in you. You are not this moment, or those moments. You are not your bad decisions or your mistakes or your fuck its.Read More
"The Opposite of Addiction is Connection" - Johann Hari
I've been addicted to a variety of different substances, some healthy, like writing or music, others incredibly unhealthy, like booze & drugs & toxic relationships. The hardest thing I've ever had to quit was the idea that I was going to be free just by choice, without doing the work, without doing any work, just by making a decision – that I was done-zo.
You hear me? I’m done. Take this from me. And let me be free.Read More
You know the Passages commercial where he says “I used to be an addict. Now I’m not.?" Well, I finally identify. I finally get it. I am not an addict. I was addicted to drugs for over 5 years. But, that’s not me anymore.
“Addiction is an experience, not an identity” - Hip SobrietyRead More
One of the greatest honors in starting to write and be very, very public about my sobriety and recovery is being able to meet other artists and writers who are on the same path and the same journey.
Last month, I was introduced to several other writers while being part of a collaborative piece on Liv’s Recovery Kitchen. We have all decided to create a 12 series and release a new list of 12 things that have helped us in our sobriety on the 12th of every month.Read More
I am writing you this letter because I need to. I need to tell you some things, about how you hurt me, and the scars you've left. Things you may not want to hear. And I imagine you don't.
But people tell me it can free me from you.
Even after more than 2 years without you, I dreamt of you last night. You were all over my floor. I was in the bathtub. You were lying there, dripping wet. And I couldn't cross over you, without touching you. I heard noises and voices. They weren't real. But, that's what you do.Read More
So I stepped away from AA. I am not fully denying it, but for now, I am not a member. Nor do I have a sponsor. Or sponsees. And yes, I have worked all 12 steps and I still integrate them into my daily life. I am forever grateful for those steps.
I needed them, at the time.
Here’s the thing. We are allowed to change. This is one of the mantra’s that writer Laura McKowen continually promotes.