This writing is for anyone who has or had an addiction to drugs, alcohol or any other means of escape from reality. It is a warning and a note to self: I never want to go back to those days of annihilation, of cramming every uncomfortable thought down my throat, of blurry acceptance of all things despicable or wanting in nature. This is a known fact in the Rooms: if you have been anesthetizing yourself in order to feel better, escape the symptoms of trauma or even to get over your ex? Chances are, you will experience sorrows beyond your wildest nightmares, you can’t push it down-grief will always have its way; there, I said it.
I remember the day I came home from my first rehab session. I was given a pamphlet, The Grapevine (a publication that comes out quarterly from Alcoholics Anonymous, impossible to find if you don’t have connections) and a piece of paper titled A Backlog of Grief: You May Experience Some Discomfort………I remember phoning my sister, and reading this memo to her. I remember being scared out of my mind, and I could not understand, for the life of me, why they would hand out such negative information to, well, anyone; especially someone with two days of sobriety under her belt.
The subject matter was grim-it warned that, out of nowhere, you may be overwhelmed with sorrow, remorse, pain, and yes-a strong desire to relapse. You see, it works like this: every negative emotion, every single feeling of despair, any loss you drank or drugged to be free of? Well, they will reemerge, except for this time? The pain is much worse as you are not sure where it is coming from, you don’t know exactly what fresh Hell has made its’ nasty appearance in your life, again, and let me tell you-it is so overwhelming and so nerve wracking that I spent days and days in bed, doing nothing but taking Benadryl and assuming the fetal position in my boudoir.
I would be out for lunch with a friend, and have to excuse myself to run to the bathroom, and more often than not? The friend would come in to see if I was okay (or drinking) and be caught unawares by the wretched sobbing, anxiety and fear of losing control. You feel empty, nonplussed, even betrayed by God at times…..why, why am I so forlorn? Take this from me, sweet Jesus, take this pain away……..
I forgot, and often, about the piece of paper sitting on my living room table, next to my bible. The thing is, they didn’t explain WHY these feelings would sneak up behind you, wrestle you to the ground; an albatross around your neck-they simply said you may experience periods of great emotion and trauma.
I was given divine guidance on a number of occasions. One day, as a hospice volunteer, I was given a book on grief. As I was reading it, my brain reeling, I recognized what the author was describing-this is why we tell others to take there time and grieve as long and as hard as they deem necessary. (Of course, this can become a problem in itself, but we’re not talking about that now.)
You cannot push down pain. It will come back with a vengeance you never knew existed-a crippling, one two punch to the gut-and you will be left with questions, yet no answers.
Here’s my advice: it took some time, but eventually I became better and better at putting my feelings, thoughts and memories in context. I could discern where the pit in my stomach originated-and only then could I do the work of healing my heart.
So, you see, you can’t run, you can’t hide…….and I know you can smell what I’m stepping in when I tell you that you’d be so much better off getting the necessary help to get sober as early on in your addiction as possible.
Get thee to a meeting. Call a friend. Talk to your therapist.
The following information could save this from happening to the next person. There is help, and financial aid for those in need.
PENNSYLVANIA ADULT AND TEEN CHALLENGE-WE CAN HELP! (844) 888-8085.