Open Topic

I May Be Strong, But It’s Exhausting.

Even the strongest girls get tired of their responsibilities. They get tired of taking care of themselves all the time, they forget about appointments they’ve made and bills they have to pay. They get tired of the independent life they chose to live. They get tired of everyone’s expectations and the number of people counting on them. They get tired of it all but they can’t find the courage to ask for help because the world expects them to be fine without any help. The world expects them to overcome everything on their own.

Even the strongest girls need love. They don’t like loneliness, they don’t like rejection, they don’t like being the man and the woman in their own lives, they don’t like being their own hero. They always save their own day, lift themselves up, be their own best friend and sometimes their biggest fan but they want to remember what it’s like to have someone do that for them every once in a while. They miss the support and the comfort of having a man to lean on, a man by their side, a man reminding them that they don’t have to do everything alone. They get tired of the emotional labor they have to put in to lift themselves up — sometimes they just need a helping hand.

Even the strongest girls break down. When they’ve had enough, when they’ve been strong for too long they just can’t do it anymore. When they can’t get out of bed because their hearts are heavy, when they can’t think clearly anymore because their minds are scattered and their thoughts are messed up. When they feel like everything they’ve ever worked for is falling apart and when they feel like their strength is often their curse, not their blessing.

Even the strongest girls need a break. They need someone to lead the way. They need to know that they don’t have to do this forever. They need life to slow down so they can recharge their batteries to keep going. They need to feel that it’s okay to be vulnerable and ask for help and admit that some things are more than they can handle. They need to feel like they’re human beings too, not just robots expected to always be fine and do things right and walk away and stay positive.

Even the strongest girls feel drained. From everything they have to do to keep that label and everything they have to do to continue living their best lives without people taking them for granted or walking all over them.

Even the strongest girls get tired of being so strong because it was never something they were born with, it was something they had to develop because of all the hardships they had to face and all the challenges they had to overcome and all the heartbreaks they had to endure.

Even the strongest girls miss who they used to be before the world taught them how to become someone else, before the world taught them the art of being alone because people always leave and before the world taught them that counting on others will always end up in disappointment.

Open Topic

My Personal Story Of Addiction.

I have been shamed, embarrassed, and at times stigmatized. Even today, years later, I fear retribution, liability, and even prosecution. Some of this may have been deserved at one time, but today my story is one of success. It is a story of hope, of support and of recovery. I share this intimate tale so that you can hear the human side of addictive disease, of its treacherous grip, and of the freedom and confidence from which I have emerged from this terrifying illness.

My drug use did not begin until I was 18, but at 25 is when it started to be serious. One evening a friend introduced me crack. The result was perfect. To me, it was like a cup of coffee, only better. I soon learned how easy it was to get the drug.

I found myself using more and more of the substance just to numb everything I’ve been feeling. It was an escape from all my problems and pain. I gave little thought to this drug. After all, I was no street junkie making covert deals in dark alleys. As I got more and more into the addiction, I was thinking it was no big deal. So I thought.

My drug use escalated. I was out of control, but getting by, working at the bar and getting quick money just to get that high for that night.

Throughout this time I still felt on top. Despite my drug use, I am an educated woman with a good childhood.

Fortunately, when everything was crumbling around me, I got support and advice. With the guidance of Professional Health Services, I got into a treatment program that helped me realize that I suffered from a virulent illness and was both worthy and deserving of help. I was medically detoxified from the effects of the medications I had now stopped taking. I learned to take responsibility for my behaviors, but also to recognize that I had been sick and could certainly get well. I learned that addiction would be a lifelong condition, but not a lifelong impairment, and I agreed to a long term monitoring in an outpatient facility. To comply with this, I had to work hard. I saw a therapist to address issues of addiction, shame, honesty and interpersonal relationships. I submitted to regular and random drug screens. I tried to attend support group meetings, met with sponsors and mentors, but I refused to go after a period of time because meetings made me want to use all the time, but in doing so, I still managed to change my life dramatically.

Fast forward, I started to steal money, credit cards, and do whatever it took to get money for my next high. One day a detective, not one, but 3 within a months time came to the door inquiring about fraudulent activity. The reality of the situation took months to sink in. My reaction was disbelief. I was no druggie engaged in covert activities, and I was certainly no criminal. I was an admired and a respected person. I was sure the entire misunderstanding would be cleared up with a smile and an apology. I could not have been more wrong.

The shame and magnitude of my tumble was immeasurable. Not only did I face the legal and professional ramifications of fraudulent activity, but I had to cope with the personal humiliation of a fall from grace. I was no longer the icon of success I had worked a lifetime to achieve. I was now tainted, not only in the eyes of my family and loved ones for the very first time, in my own.

After months of treatment, in and out of rehab after rehab, learning about my disease and learning about myself, I came back home feeling strong. I was healthy, drug free, clear thinking, and ready to pull myself back together and get a career. Unfortunately, my career was not yet ready for me. I relapsed a few times till I was ready to quit completely on my own.

The greatest challenge of all was the subsequent public disgrace. There was no mention of my recovery from illness nor of the months and years of personal work and growth I had achieved. What was to be a day of celebration had become a day of pain and shame.

Although I was angry and frustrated with the obstacles I was facing, I now had the tools to deal with this stress. Through Professional services I had a physician support group where I could meet and learn from other therapist and patients who faced these same struggles. I had an outlet for sharing my experiences and for learning from example that there was indeed hope for my future. And most importantly, I had my sobriety and my health.

Ultimately, It was no easy journey. The process took years. During this time I was doubted by others and I doubted myself. But now I am stronger. I have the confidence of knowing that whatever ills befall me, I can heal. As a result, I am a better healer. I am more open-mind and less likely to pass judgment. I have learned that medicine is not about being powerful or respected, but about being respectful and compassionate. I have learned, like all people, have the susceptibility to become ill and the capacity to become well. However, to encourage wellness we, as a profession, need to provide resources and nurturance, not shame and humiliation. I am now sober and can’t imagine facing life any other way. And I share this story so that all of those still suffering will know that they, too, can embark successfully upon this journey.