When there's a poisonous snake in our path, we freeze. When we smell smoke, we run. When faced with danger, fear takes over and we react, desperate to feel safe. It's biological. Primal. But for those of us who suffer from trauma, it's the everyday things – a song in a coffee shop, the smell of rubbing alcohol – seemingly random, common things, convincing our brain and body we’re in danger and there is no way out. But when the worst of our fears are realized, when everything we've counted on has disappeared, something still drives us to try to fix the past or to find our future – when the only thing that really needs our attention is the present and its infinite possibilities. It may be a slow process, but at South Orange County Detox & Treatment I’m slowly undoing all the binds that had me twisted in my trauma, fear, and anxiety. Instead of allowing fear to paralyze me, I’m able to focus on the possibility that I can maybe have a beautiful future. We define ourselves by our actions. But that doesn't mean we have to live by that definition. Coming to that realization means everything to me since I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I can change my own story. I can refuse to accept the way people define me. I can work like hell to escape a bad reputation only to wonder if I succeeded. It can be hard to shake the mistakes of the past, they'll always come back to haunt us. But one thing we never do – we don't stop. We don't quit. We get up and rejoin the fight. I now know what life is about, what is important. I know the reasons why we say do not judge people. I have seen the true power of love. I have seen magic. I have seen what it feels like to be at the end, with nowhere to go, and people thinking you are some monster. It taught me who the real people are that love me, I saw everyone’s true character.
Every addict I know has a shadow. A dark cloud of fear and doubt that follows even the best of us. We pretend the shadow isn't there, hoping that if we make more amends, master the steps, run faster and farther, it’ll get tired and give up the chase. But, like they say – you can’t outrun your shadow. I didn’t even realize I was living in a state of constant fear & chaos until I came into treatment. With Salina’s help, I’ve taken the first step in breaking the cycle. When we’ve come to depend on a cycle, the thought of breaking it is scary. Even the cycles that cause us harm. But sometimes when we break the cycle, we find something better. Something unexpected. Something we never dared to dream was possible. We find freedom. We find peace. Every addict has a shadow, and the only way to get rid of a shadow is to turn off the lights, to stop running from the darkness, and face what you fear – head on. Sometimes it’s good to be scared -- it means you still have something to lose. Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely, and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next. We can choose to be afraid of it, to stand there trembling not moving, assuming the worst will happen. Or, we step forward into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant.