Crossing Into Discovery

Day 183

With 180 days (6 months) of sobriety now passing by I have to take a moment to consider the time I've spent pushing along, sometimes finding traction, and other times finding the transition quite difficult.

Looking at the beginning, there's very little that would've convinced me that I was going to make it. The facts surrounding me at the time were pointing me straight to prison for a 1-6 year term...and there was nothing favorable in my corner.  I was broken to the point of considering an alternative - checking out.  The words made it onto paper...scratched out with a pencil on the back of my booking papers.  I sat that day, cross-legged on a bunk with a cellmate who slept just feet away from me. I couldn't talk to anyone.  I could feel nothing other than the intense pain of being totally human for the very first time.  Having spent most of my life trying to be nothing but, it was crippling.  I wanted to die that day...it would've taken the reality away.  I would've felt safe taking a last breath.  The words I wrote were filled with sadness and almost exited my soul like a prayer.  "God take this from me...all of it. I can't. I just can't."

Who knew that would be the most powerful moment in my adult life.

Since that day, including the 25 days I spent incarcerated, the 30 days in an inpatient alcohol treatment program, and the additional time leading up to my sentencing, strength has begun to find its way into my life.  I used this mantra while in the heat of it in March: Peace, Strength and Hope.  Those three things I sought more than anything. Peace from the unknown, Strength to not fold under the weight of it all and Hope that I could see a way out other than to force my last breath.

That's what it was like. To me, it's as real still as it was then...there's not been a day I haven't remembered that cold cinder block wall against my back, the peeling paint that inscribed with pencil the thoughts of those who'd sat there before me.  There was a smell and a taste to the air.  It was loneliness.  And I finally, over the next few weeks, would discover that to be my single biggest struggle.  It was fear of abandonment and of being alone.  The irony in place was that I could only let people reach me at arm's length. Now I've been working on that.

I have a counselor who's been a life-changing gift, taking me deep into areas that I've found frightening yet somewhat sacred.  I've been given countless opportunities to look at all the camouflaged protective measures that have claimed a stake in my life.  There they've sat, my parasitic sympathies and coping skills...they've been willing to turn their back on me in a single breath.  With discovery comes two things: understanding and a new vulnerability to the things that I ran from in the very beginning (because now they're back in the forefront) and I've identified so much in the last few months.  I now have them named and can begin to claim that their power over me can be discharged. 

I've moved forward since March 5th.  Unsure how it's all happened, but I'm here in a safer, stronger place.  Is happiness found in self discovery? I think overcoming fear is where happiness enters in.  Continuing to experience those milestones and breakthroughs will continue to introduce a sense of happiness and gratitude unknown in my life until these last 6 months.

Funny how pain rendered a new life... There must be a purpose for it.

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Chris