I sit here, curled up in a blanket on the couch, my computer on my lap. Yesterday something happened that lead to a new experience. My brain is racing and I feel as though my body is disassociated from my mind. The words I write just poor out of my head onto what I perceive as paper, though it’s just a laptop screen. I’m exhausted, as I have been for the last 4 months (I have a 4 month old baby). The exhaustion isn’t affecting me because this doesn’t feel like work. It needs to come out; if I left it inside it would fester like an untreated wound.
I’ve been working hard to count my blessings and truly take time to consider what I have to be grateful for. As of recent, I’ve discovered sometimes the best blessings are disguised. When you’re aware that, what would normally be a negative event, can actually be turned into an opportunity—when you realize this and actually put it into play—a weight is lifted from you.
I’ve been in recovery for over a year and a half now and everything is going great. I have so much support and love around me that I know someone would catch me if I fell. During recovery it’s important to surround yourself with the right people and only visit the right places—people and places conducive to mental health and wellness. I started going to church with my husband not long after I got pregnant. We were a little reluctant because we felt that we would be shunned for having a “colorful” past. To the contrary, we were welcomed with open arms. We witnessed a different way of living. Forgiveness isn’t a dirty task—it isn’t something you do reluctantly because the culprit has finally suffered enough. Forgiveness is the right thing to do and in the end it’s better for everyone. No good comes from holding on to anger. There’s a saying;
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” -Buddha
At the beginning of my journey, many people still judged me for the mistakes I had made. How could they not? I hadn’t shown them anything else. After a year of working hard to better myself, most people I knew, saw that I had changed, down to my core. I have to admit that I’ve gotten used to people knowing me for who I am now, not who I was. I’m accustomed to receiving love, support, respect, and being treated as a valued member of the community. I haven’t just been blogging, I’ve also been working hard to organize a support group. I’m trying to offer information, coping techniques and simply a place to share freely without being judged.
Just when I forgot what it felt like to be looked down upon, I crossed paths with a person that clearly didn’t think I could ever change, and they certainly didn’t think I had. A few years ago if I would have been confronted about my failures, especially on a public forum, I would have been crushed. I felt like this guy was attempting to take away my hard work by ignoring it! To him it didn’t exist and I didn’t deserve the time of day. Why should I be offended? I have so many wonderful people who support me and I know who I am. I am better than no one, but no one is better than me. I would have drank myself into a stupor until I was numb in the past. Now, I wouldn’t dream of it. I know that I’ve made incredible progress and he can’t take that away from me; in the past I may have just let him. Not today. Not anymore—my first reaction was immediate curiosity. Why was he saying these negative things to me? My second thought was, is he right? Next I thought about how angry he seemed and I felt bad for him. It seems as though my past misgivings had angered him and they were creating more problems in his life than mine. The odd things is that I don’t know this person, so it’s a bit confusing.
I see what happened as an opportunity to strive or fail, and I DID NOT FAIL. I didn’t let anger take over just because my shiny new reputation was threatened. I reflected upon my life and learned from it. I feel empathy for others; I don’t know what they have gone through, or why they are the way they are. I’m so happy that I was given the opportunity to be tested. Now I know how I will react when someone questions my sobriety, my will-power, and my heart. Reaffirmation was something I needed and it found me in an unexpected way. I vowed to live my life with love and positive energy and I was forced to put my money where my mouth is, on a public site nonetheless. I am going to post the conversation I’m talking about; not to call anyone out or open discourse. I want to show my readers what its like and how you may be treated during or even after recovery. Prepare yourself and be strong. Be kind, humble and understanding.
By the way, this is a very small county and no one has heard of “Alton Franks”. Everyone I’ve asked thinks it’s a fake profile. Take a look at the first blog I ever wrote and see if you see any correlation between the post and the comments.