"Exhale your fear and breath in HOPE, for there is light despite all the darkness"
Growing up I had this ideal picture instilled in my mind, that to be happy, to succeed I needed to follow the social “normality”. That having the beautiful wife, the kids, the house, the dog, the good job was how it was supposed to be. For me this was my dream, at least I thought so. I wanted to be the best at everything I did, from a young age I always dreamed of being a professional baseball player. And work hard at that I did, day in and day out, practice, practice, practice. But, I always knew something in me was different, something in me just wasn’t right. I had this void that I just couldn’t fill. No matter how hard I worked how much effort I put into things. I just always felt empty.
As addicts, we have this endless empty feeling that we can’t fill for the life of us. Then we discover that a pill, that drug, that drink makes us whole again. At least we think it does, but in reality, it just keeps us from feeling, keeps us from remembering the trauma we have endured in our past and our present. Keeps us from truly showcasing our gifts and our talents. We stuff these feelings, these emotions, that we hate so much down, hoping and praying they will go away with each substance we ingest. Day-in and day-out we search for that feeling, to feel nothing at all.
For years and years, I layered these feelings with drugs and alcohol. With each new day, I became more hopeless. I began to think of an end, I began to think of a way out. What had I become? What happened to me? I once dreamt of a house and a family, and now I dream of not waking up the next day? That once I wake up I have to go through the pain and the suffering of having to feel these feelings, that were so prominent the day prior.
I knew I needed to do something different, I needed to make a change. I found that last bit of hope left within the hopelessness. I began believing in myself, that maybe I was meant to be something other then this rundown junkie with no goals to achieve. I found courage and strength with each passing day. Though it was not easy, I kept grabbing on to that little bit of hope each day, praying that it will take me to the next.
We all have something that haunts us; we all have our own demons that we have to live with. Whether it is one thing or a multitude of situations. In the end it’s how we learn from it, it’s how we find out how to embrace the strength within ourselves to move forward. Finding the hope and the courage to want to be a better person with each new day is a struggle within itself. From personal experience, I can tell you it is not easy, but it is worth it and so are you. Each and everyone us has a gift, how we go about that is up to our discretion.
I hear a variety of reasons clients make the decision to come to treatment. Perhaps they were strongly encouraged to enter treatment by their employer or a family member. Or, a client will tell me they are filled with shame, guilt, sadness, or anxiety and no longer want to feel the pain. I listen to a young man recall the trauma he experienced as a child, a mother tearfully describe herself as “a bad mom” and a 25 year old woman tell me this is her seventh time in treatment and she cannot picture her life without drugs/alcohol. Despite their reported challenges, I have hope for their recovery.
To me, hope represents the belief in your abilities, even when feeling at a low place in your life. It is not uncommon for an individual struggling in addiction to feel hopeless. The addict may think to themselves, “I’m too far into my addiction”, or “The withdrawal process is going to be too hard”, or “I’ve tried before and failed”, but I have hope in your recovery. The greatest reward I receive providing individual, group, couples and family therapy at SOCD is witnessing the courage, resilience, and change in each person. The journey of recovery can be painful, intimidating and challenging. I witness a person with intense symptoms of anxiety share their thoughts and feelings during group therapy, I feel hopeful. When a client struggling with depression challenges a negative thought, I feel hopeful. If the client chooses to remain in treatment instead of running to what is comfortable, I feel hopeful.
Do not let a lack of hope deter you from receiving the help and support you need to begin your recovery. At SOCDT, we have hope for you.