The 3 year anniversary of the day that I quit meth is next week so I thought I’d share with you what I have learned by controlling my addiction, instead of what was lost because of my addiction controlling me. I want to share this so that if anyone reading this is trying to break their addiction, or is even thinking of breaking your addiction, you get a hopeful and encouraging, yet realistic perspective.
Most importantly, this list is about what I attained from quitting meth that I did not have before I became a drug addict. For me, quitting meth was the beginning of a journey or a trial. A marathon that I am still in now and don’t expect to be out of any time soon.
Humility – Throughout my addiction, I made a fool of myself on more than one occasion. In the beginning it was easy enough to hide but as my addiction got stronger, I started fucking up. By the end of my active addiction, I was literally a loser in every sense of the word. Let me tell you how much I feel like an idiot now. Every. Damn. Day.
I see the severity of what I let happen every time I face my parents, knowing how mean I was to them and how much money and time they spent to help me. In my heart I know I was a disappointing daughter for a time and I hope to make it up to them. I went back to the same job and trust me, it has been brought up probably 100 times. I have been back for 2 years and though now I am a trusted manager, it took a long time to prove that I wasn’t a liability this time. I see my ex husband and his new wife 2-3 times a week, and every time I relive memories of him taking my kids from me in court. I’m a mother who doesn’t live with her children and I’m so ashamed for what I have done.
Humility really came when I accepted that I deserved to feel sorry and embarrassed for those actions, when I stopped being bitter at how everyone else dealt with my fuck up, and when I truly wanted to change who I was. I know now that humility isn’t something you can see directly in yourself, because once you see it, it quickly turns to pride. You only notice it in comparison to your former, less humble self. Humility does not let pride get in the way of action. It’s going to court when you know the outcome is probably not going to go in your favor. It’s telling a new Dr that you are a recovering addict so they can not prescribe you narcotics unless absolutely necessary. It’s freedom to say to yourself, you fucked up and now it’s time to make it right.
Self Esteem – This one is a little vain. All my life, like most people, I felt like my body was ugly. I’m too short, flat chested, pear shaped, big booty, flabby, hippy, whatever, After I had babies, when I was younger, I felt enormous but after I lost all the weight, I still felt fat.
When I was on meth I was very skinny, obviously. I had no butt or hips or any fat on me. And I recognized that I was skinnier and I did love being able to fit into styles I could never pull off normally. But I still felt fucking ugly. And though I knew I was very skinny, I still saw myself as fat. I felt good about myself when I was high and I thought my face still looked normal (it didn’t) but I still felt fat.
After I quit meth I gained 50 pounds. I only needed about 30 of it so now I’m about 20 pounds over what I should be and though I do want to lose the extra weight, I realize, I look, to myself, just as fat, as I have always looked to myself. When I look at pictures of my pre-meth self, I can tell I looked great and I was athletic looking. When I look at the very few pictures I have of myself on meth, I see clearly that I am horribly skinny and do not look good at all. But when I look at myself in the mirror, it’s the same as when I looked at myself in the mirror during all of those periods of my life. I feel fat.
And when I realized that, which I wouldn’t have ever realized without gaining losing so much weight and then gaining so much weight, I had to just laugh. I’m going to feel fat no matter what! I’m just insecure! So yea, I aspire to one day proudly strut in a bikini in public but I feel more confident knowing even if I got to perfection I’d never let myself see it. I may have realized this with age but the perspective that being average and then being underweight and now being overweight has given me is invaluable. Now when I look in the mirror, I still see myself as fat but I see that I look good. I always did.
Patience – Raising children is hands down, the number one patience teacher. But an honorable mention in the patient teaching category goes to addiction recovery. The only thing that gets you through withdraws is waiting for them to be over. People can’t forgive you immediately so you have to try to make things right but be patient with them. You have to work from the bottom up again because you fucked up your career. Waiting through the stages of getting the kids back. It all takes so long sometimes, it seems like you’re not making any progress. But through perseverance, patience comes more and more naturally. In the beginning it’s day by day but now it’s day by day and month by month and year over year. I was always an immediate gratification kind of girl. Now, I understand the long con. The longer you wait, the more it’s worth.
The Ability to Truly Forgive – After I got clean, at the start of this journey, I was mad. Steaming, raging, bitterly, angry. At myself, at my family for letting my get to the point I got to, at my ex for taking my kids, the courts for letting him. At my boyfriend who was a drug addict too. At God, so so angry at God but really I had been angry with God for a while before the meth.
The notion that you can’t forgive others until you forgive yourself is unrealistic in my experience. But I have noticed you won’t forgive others until you begin to forgive yourself. Part of that is because others did wrong too. Trying to pretend to yourself that you are an idiot and pretend unfair actions didn’t happen against you doesn’t usually work. We have brains and (partial) memories, even if we are drug addicts.
I made mistakes, but life goes on. I learned and if I had known what I know now, I would have done things differently. My parents made mistakes, my brothers, my boyfriend, my lawyer, Scott, the judge (yes, I do still feel my kids shouldn’t have been taken the way they were but they were taken and we’ll survive as a family either way), they all made mistakes. And I forgive them. Forgiving them helps me forgive myself each day.
Street Cred – Okay don’t laugh. I am a sheltered white girl from the suburbs. But in my little part of the world, I am like the go-to guru of drug knowledge. My HR Director saw a Youtube video about meth and came to me asking what certain terms meant. My nieces shake in fear when I start questioning them about getting caught smoking weed at school because they know (or at least assume) they can’t bullshit me, the family (recovered) drug addict. Even to friends of mine who still have addiction problems, I’m like, The Boy (girl) Who Lived or some shit. In group therapy for domestic violence recovery, the counselor guiding the session, suggested I speak to the group about the similarities between addiction to drugs and addiction to your abuser. It’s stupid but no one doubts you know your shit when they’ve seen your face rubbed in it.
Appreciation – I wasn’t a (total) bitch before. I very much loved my life and I especially loved being a mother. I was a good mother and I still am. I knew I was blessed and tried to enjoy each day with my kids. But man, when my kids were just gone one day, and I knew I wouldn’t see them but one day each month from then on, I died. I can still feel exactly what it feels like now. Sorrow, Regret, Despair.
But more what I feel now is thankfulness each and every time I am with them, which is a lot. I didn’t think I could love them more than I did before but because I lost them, I appreciate them much more than I ever would have if I hadn’t lost them, I’m afraid.
It’s not just my kids. I didn’t realize how unconditional my parents love for me was, how supportive my job was to give me another change. I didn’t realize how strong my boyfriend was and how loyal he was to quit with me.
I have a house again, a car. I have internet service and I pay my bills for the most part on time. I have hot water and electricity. I would have never even known how to appreciate electricity until I didn’t have it. Being homeless, that will damn sure make you appreciate a home.
Joy – I had felt joy before, of course, but it had been a very long time. I lost joy way before I was an addict. I was so depressed for a long time and that’s what led me to drugs. After I quit meth, not only was I still depressed, but meth kills your ability to feel joy for a while even after you quit. You don’t even remember what joy really is.. I thought entertainment was joy, sex was joy, being high was joy. Playing with my babies was joy, Christmas was joy.
None of those things are joy. Joy is not the environment, or the action, or even something you feel in your head. Joy FEELS in your HEART. Joy just comes over me now at random, frequent, times. I’ll be driving alone, or pitching a sale to a client, or playing chess with my son, and I will just feel so happy. I think I can feel joy now, because I have so much to be thankful for. I could have died from my drug use but I didn’t. I quit and my children can be proud of me and know that they were worth it to me. My family could think of me as a loser, but they never did. They have always been proud and are my biggest fans when it comes to my recovery. I have a great job and I do well at it.
Joy is like music playing in the background of your heart. It’s an atmosphere. Bad times still happen, stresses are still there, but the music still plays.
Not that I’d recommend any one become a meth addict and ruin your own life, but I can honestly say I’m a much better person because of it. If you’re with me on this journey through recovery, don’t give up and if you know someone going through this journey, don’t give up on them. It gets better and it’s worth it.
*pictures are not of me, were not made by me, do not belong to me. Only the blog and the story is mine.