It was mid-January 2013 and I was driving home from a friend’s house. It was a night similar to many others, except this particular night, I had more strength than I had ever felt before…
My spirit was sick. I felt guilty, ashamed, exhausted. I knew the night would have been better had I been sober. When I was high all the time, I wasn’t the real me. My ego almost completely would take the wheel. The other me was lost, lonely, and detached. I wasn’t proud of that person. I had been her for almost a decade. Every time I gave into my addiction, I felt simultaneously excited and ashamed. I could feel my body revolting against what I was doing; my intuition nearly screaming at me to stop. But being high made me forget. The pain, guilt, anger… the past, the disappointment. It kept me in a state of numbness.
Creatures of Habit
We can all more relate to this. Many of us have addictions; to substances, obsessive negative thought patterns, being involved with toxic people, eating disorders, overworking, or downright denial of taking responsibility for the past or present. We are not bad people. More often than not, we are very good people who are wounded. We are your mothers, brothers, sisters and husbands. Our common denominator is that we keep ourselves trapped, suppressing and repressing what we really need to feel due to pain. We consciously or unconsciously engage in addictive/compulsive behaviors because they’re familiar. Familiar things give us comfort. We are creatures of habit.
Throwing It Out
Back to the story. I was over manning the trenches in my mind, as I’d done for years. It suddenly hit me that I could do it now! I could just throw it away; the physical evidence of my addiction, along with the emotional and mental torment that held its hand. I could actually do it. Tonight… like, right now… I began to cry, hyperventilating and everything, and, anxiety peaking, I threw everything I had on me out my car window onto the highway’s cold shoulder. I was stunned, I had actually gone through with it this time, after considering getting rid of the paraphernalia hundreds of times, I didn’t think I’d ever have the courage to really be done with it. But I finally was. I gathered myself together during the remainder of the drive and gradually felt better. The physical objects were my shackles, and I had just torn them off and thrown them away.
In the following days, it was time to face everything I’d been covering up, ignoring and hiding. All the fears, doubts, the insecurities. It was not pretty. It was not easy. I will not lie and say that it was. I craved my crutch of choice initially but I held out. I knew I deserved better, I badly wanted a better life for myself. Shit, I wanted to be someone I was actually really proud to be!
Taking Baby Steps
Emerging from being in a dark place for so long, I accepted what was, started where I was and began to focus on nurturing myself. In the beginning, you start small. You take baby steps. An inch of forward progress is 1000 times better than stagnation. You begin to give yourself credit for each healthy choice you make. You build momentum.
I started to discover who I really was; the things that deeply resonated in my heart as truth. I made a huge effort to be more conscious of my thoughts, to re-direct them, as I would a reactive dog (I have a good deal of experience with canine behavior modification) and to notice if they were coming from a place of love, or from a place of fear – because that is the root of every thought we have.
Marianne Williamson has been of utmost importance in my recovery and spiritual transformation. She has pulled me out of dark places that nothing else could touch. She is a serious game changer. One spiritual text she most often references is A Course In Miracles. It is a spiritual mind training. An important aspect of the text teaches us that every thought we think brings the world closer to heaven or closer to hell. And from a metaphysical standpoint, heaven and hell are right here, right now. Heaven is an experience of our oneness; hell is an experience of our separation. “Heaven is a choice I must make”, it says.
The Embodiment of Strength
Eventually we acknowledge, either within us or via signs outside of us, that it’s time to give up the struggle because we’re not living. We’re hiding. And merely existing. One of my favorite quotes is by Oscar Wilde, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
You get to a point where you become strong enough and/or pissed off enough to stop engaging in those repetitive/compulsive destructive behaviors. We realize we deserve better. We all deserve the very best life has to offer! “We are perfect,” as Ms. Williamson says, “the only one who doesn’t get it is you.”
Addiction to anything hurts on many levels. I do not believe in coincidence. I believe people and things present themselves in our lives when we are ready for them, or when we need a signpost along the way. I hope something in this, my first post, speaks to you. I hope you find the strength that I found and you acknowledge that it is in you. It is you. You are the embodiment of strength.
Today I encourage you to let go of any destructive element you’re clinging to; person, past, present, future or thing. You’re ready for this. I encourage you to honor and respect yourself enough to let go. Give up the fight. Allow yourself peace. Find your truth. Realize that is who you are.
If not now, when?
About the Author
Julianne (Juli) Snyder is an abstract painter, spiritualist, lightworker, reiki practitioner,entrepreneur, dog mother and Tolkien enthusiast.
For the majority of the latter half of life, she rode a roller coaster of depression, anxiety and addiction, but found solace in art, spirituality, nature and the unconditional love of dogs. A Temple University graduate, her paintings are check points; atmospheric illuminations on her journey of self discovery. Within the last couple years, she became a certified reiki practitioner, developed a keen interest in metaphysics and the exploration of intuitive living. This year, she officially started her own business, Black Arrow Arts.
To inspire others to honor themselves, fearlessly create, live their truth and make a positive impact on the world is of utmost importance to her.
She currently lives in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania with her dog, Scarlet, and her 20 year old adopted python, Vermillion.
Main image @ andlun1
Featured image @Bokeh Burger