The only ones who can truly know how we feel and what we are going through are those that have been in our shoes. Often, I fear that those of us that have struggled with drug addiction or alcoholism feel like we are misunderstood or unheard. As if there is something inherently terrible in us that caused us to journey down that road.
I helped someone today or at least…I tried to.
I am limited as to what I can do or make happen in their life. But if I were to write them a letter. And if I could enter their mind and heal their thoughts, this is what I would say. These are the truths I wish for them to know and believe:
I know your pain. You are fresh off the streets and you are clinging to what you know. But you are afraid. Your recovery is leading you to a better life. But it is a different life. It is a life you do not know. And it is the unknow that scares you.
Your old life was filled with a devil’s drug. It played tricks, lied to you, stole from you, and took from you, far more than it ever gave in return. But it was familiar. It was a game you played. And you had learned and accepted the rules. You are terrified of the unknown. And you cling to the familiar despite the whip in its’ hand.
People may wonder what holds you back. People may think that the choice is obvious. But they do not know your mind. Your mind and your ways of thinking are all you have ever known. If you let it go. You think, “what is left of me”?
But you do not know, do you? That so much of you has been left untouched, unconsidered, undiscovered. You need only step into the unknown to know that you can make the unknown become known to you. You make it yours. You make it what you wish for it to be.
I know you love the people of your past. And you hope with all your heart that they may keep up with you as you journey further in your sobriety. You take hold and take responsibility for what is next for you and you hope they do the same.
You have hit bottom. You have no further to go in the direction you have previously chosen. You take courage, seek help, and turn to faith to show you another way. You look to those of your past life and you cannot comprehend why they do not change direction with you.
But you see, although you have reached the end of this version of your life, and although you allow faith and hope to steer you to a different path…perhaps others have not reached their end. No one has the same end. No one is brought to their knees in the same way.
No ones’ story is written the same. And the only way for the story to continue and the only way for hope to breathe new life into a dark path is to never stop living YOUR story.
Actions speak louder than words. There is a leader in all of us. There is a leader in you. And it starts with leading ourselves. It starts with you. Take lead of your own life and trust that others will witness your faith, your hope, your audacity, and your conviction. They will be drawn to what they witness, and they will follow.
But right now. In this moment. This is your time for healing. You must focus on yourself. You are no good to others if you do not value yourself. If others are to follow, they must learn to love and value themselves. If they do not know how, then teach by example. Take care of yourself. Heal yourself. Love yourself.