I got home from work today and my roommate Abbie was sitting at the dining table with a look of frustration on her face. She had lost her purse and had been frantically looking for it. I immediately went into action looking in all the inconspicuous places that she could have possibly put it. In the pursuit for the elusive wallet I found a small satchel I haven’t seen in a while. I opened the bag and I squealed with joy to see a pair of my favorite earrings lodged between a handful of knick knacks. I dump the items on the bathroom counter and Abbie and I sifted thought them. Abbie pulls a bullet from the mix of trinkets holds it up and asks what is this?.
It was a warm September morning 2015 and I was sitting in my car parked at a bar by myself crying hysterically and texting anyone who might help me. I had done the unthinkable,I was utterly demoralized. A gun with one bullet was pressed firmly against my temple, 15 Tramadol melting in my left fist. Then I just suddenly became very calm, it was as if someone whispered in my ear “none of this is real” but didn’t give me any context for the statement.
The further details of the day are insignificant but it was a spiral of demoralization. I went to the psych ward in an ambulance, the paramedic was an awful, cruel person. He called me names, zipped tied me to a gurney, and gave me drugs that I adamantly refused. I was fine and he knew I was fine, he abused me in that ambulance and got away with it because he could. In society I was stigmatized, criticized, and dehumanized and lost all credibility and dignity because of my addiction.
The bullet is just one of many items of significance in my memory box.
Abbie asked why I keep it. Fair enough question as some might consider it little morbid. The bullet represents hope for me, it was the day I lost hope in humanity.
Sometime after this I had an awakening, spiritual maybe, but most definitively an awakening. I can’t pinpoint the exact day or time and there was not a miraculous event or critical trauma that lead me there. More of an accumulation of disappointments, regrets, fears, and complex trauma. I just know something changed in my thinking. And it happened again, someone whispered in my ear “none of this is real” but didn’t give me any context for the statement.
It was this time in my life that I started searching, searching for something different, searching for love, searching for connection, searching for acceptance, searching for belonging. For almost 5 years I searched. I searched everywhere in dark bar rooms, in my husband, in my career, in my kids, in my family, in strangers, and almost to my demise at the bottom of a bottle.
I have been in recovery for my alcohol addiction for 7 months. This is were we come to my true awakening, the moment I stopped searching and started seeking. This is when the flood gates opened. I can talk about this day pretty matter of factly because that is all it is a day that happened 7 months ago, it does not define me it was just the effect of a greater cause. The searching was slowly killing me until one day it almost did.
The best way to describe that day 7 months past is I now understand how it feels to no longer have any desire to be alive. That was the day that I experienced god right next to me all day long the spirit was with me. I can also say that I understand what it feels like to be truly and unconditionally loved. I was given a gift that day a gift to spread this love. Everyday I work on my relationship with my innermost self, everyday I remind myself to have the courage to share what I have so freely been given.