JUST AS THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY, THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY PERSON
We all have secrets that we hide from the world. I believe that the most dangerous secrets are the ones that we can bury and are the ones that we keep from ourselves. I did that for a long time, and suffered tremendously because of it. I have been contemplating writing this post for nearly a year, but put it off for many reasons. Amongst them was intense fear, shame, and embarrassment. I was scared of being judged, if people’s opinions of me would change, and of being scrutinized and labeled. It wasn’t until I was having dinner with two dear friends of mine last night that I finally felt ready and inspired to write this and speak my truth. This new-found confidence to open up came from my friend’s recent and intensely personal post on her killer blog The Skinny Confidential (She is a GAME CHANGER!), where she opened up about an event that forever changed her life. It was her courage to be open, honest and vulnerable that ignited a need within me to muster up that same courage. In turn allowing me to open up about my deepest secret. I no longer had a desire to be unknowable, even to myself. The truth of the matter is that I, like millions of others, suffer from the disease of addiction.
For the past few years this affliction has caused me and the ones that I love immense pain and in some cases, irreparable damage. This is the one truth about myself that I had long refused to accept. There came a moment in my life when the control that once kept me sane slipped through my fingers. I wasn’t prepared to confront what was right in front of my eyes, so I unable and more accurately unwilling to see it the way that other people so blatantly could. For too long time this truth was lost on me, and the monsters ultimately found their way out. It is those terrible experiences and times I endured that has made me feel that I lived a thousand lives, and often feel much older than 28. It was this very deep-rooted fear that deterred me from not opening up about this, especially when it is one of the only afflictions that does not discriminate. Despite the tremendous growth in the majority of people now understanding that addiction is a disease just as diabetes is, there is still a very real stigma that comes with being labeled an addict. It is a constant battle of perception that people who have struggled and continue to struggle through substance abuse have to endure.
It is almost impossible to pinpoint when my life went from normal to unmanageable due to substance abuse. If I had to pinpoint the time I realized the shift it was in December 2016, after I was robbed and assaulted in New York City. My life before that traumatic incident was insanely chaotic, in all aspects of my life. After the attack my headspace went into a state of all bets are off, I was off to the races. I had become so comfortable and entrenched with chaos that it was all I knew, to the point that it seemingly became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t know what to do with myself when things would be stable, it was as if I craved the comfortability that chaos brought with it. It was sick, but more importantly I was sick. I was subconsciously fighting chaos with chaos. Looking back, at times I think that I would have done things differently, but at the same time I really don’t know if I would. Like the cliché saying that “it made me who I am”, it gave me such a different perspective on the struggles that each person endures throughout their life.
When it comes to the social landscape that social media has created today, no one seems to want to paint their picture to the world of not having everything together, god forbid be vulnerable. My walls were so high for so long, actually let me rephrase that to the said walls mirroring the Great Wall of China complete with its own mote, made me not want to open up about this devastating truth that had plagued my life for too long. I have always strived to live by the motto that it is none of my business what other people think of me, but that is far easier said than done. I didn’t ever want to have conversations with the people in my life that were concerned because I was in denial and defensive. I look back and remember thinking to myself during these talks, that “do they not think I know exactly who I am and what is going here?” I knew exactly who I was, which was an addict who was desperately suffering. I didn’t want to be reminded of that fact because I already knew it, I was living it. I remember seeing something on Instagram that I actually just looked up, and it said “Don’t hate the addict, hate the disease. Don’t hate the person, hate the behavior. If it’s hard to watch it, imagine how hard it is to live it.” I never felt a connection to one simple post more, because that is the god’s honest truth that is often blurred. I still vividly remember how sweaty and nervous I would be during those conversations, and I never want to forget how that made me feel. I need to remember the pain to be able to move forward and make the mark on people that I want to make. I finally had the desire to leave behind the chaos and the one certainty that it always brings… the devastation that is left in its wake.
It is ironic to me now writing this because I had taken a break from writing and posting because I was not in the headspace where I could write. I was in the fight for my life. I did not have any creative thoughts flowing through my body, and I felt it would be disingenuous to even try and write about everything that Mr. BGB stands for. My unfortunate reality was that I was suffering greatly in silence. So for this to be the post that has brought back that amazing feeling that I have desperately craved for so long, is both exhilarating and terrifying. The fact that I can stand here and proclaim that I am not ashamed of my past is a very freeing thing to be able to say. Its almost unimaginable that the level of torment that my addiction brought upon my life, that there is still really no way for me to describe it other than that it was torture. Pure torture. The pain of it was so horrible that I couldn’t fathom sharing it honestly with anyone or opening up. I was petrified that if I let any of it out, that I would totally break down.
Now that I have pulled this proverbial trigger, I will admit it is very unnerving not knowing the reactions this post will bring. My sponsor tells me its my innate need to want to control everything, and he’s right. But the not knowing both for the people that I know and the ones that I don’t, even more so the ones that bore witness to me being my own worst enemy, is scary AF. I remember the saying that the way that someone treats you is their path, and that the way that you react is your own. That is what I am reminding myself as I press the publish button. Before I finish this post on the most personal topic I ever written, there are two people that I want to thank, my dear friends Michael & Lauryn. They are two of the hardest working, driven, and loving people that I have ever had the pleasure of having be a part of my life. Michael and I went to college together, and Lauryn is his wife and business partner. She is one #BadAssBitch. It was her bold, raw, and insanely personal post on her blog this past week that brought the idea of writing about this back into the forefront of my mind. It was with her encouragement (and her insistence that Michael needed to stop shielding my nerves regarding this topic!) that I gained the confidence and conviction to finally do it. Thank you both for always inspiring and championing me to be the best version of myself. I look up to the both of you tremendously and your support and input has and will always be invaluable to me.
My last thought after writing this is that it is the very idea of resurrection is so seductive of a concept that it’s easy to forget. Before you can rise from the dead you have to spend sometime in hell. #TimeServed