FROM CHAOS COMES CLARITY: How to navigate through the wreckage of past addiction
“Children of chaos, we have defiantly played with every brand of fire, only to emerge unharmed and, we think wiser.” (12 Traditions: Tradition Four)
For as long as I can remember, I was that stubborn child. From “Hey don’t touch that stove, it’s hot!” to “You know, you really should finish school.”, my father would desperately offer words of wisdom against potential dangers. Gravitating towards the dark and lonely path, I’d choose the opposite of whatever was advised. A glutton for punishment, I reveled in people, places, and things that did not serve me. Rebelling, in spite of the suggestions of others, led to my demise. Until one day, the fear of change was far less than the pain I was living in.
I spent most of my early childhood playing the perfect victim. Plagued and oblivious, I was drowning in untreated depression and anxiety. Isolation and self-loathing became my solace. And then my mother passed away unexpectedly. The relief I found in these behaviors eventually evaded me and I sought reprieve in the seemingly hopeless pit of addiction. Opiates produced oblivion and ultimately wrecked my life. I didn’t stop there, I indulged in all mood/mind altering substances.
Do you ever find yourself in complete auto-pilot mode when driving home after a long day of work? After taking the same route daily, your brain orchestrates a pattern… an effortless pattern. My addictive behaviors were mapped out and I didn’t have the conscious tools that would enable me to drive to a new destination. CPS, misery, lost relationships, losing friends to overdose, and even jail didn’t stop me. Until one day, my father suggested I go to treatment. I’d love to say I was grateful, but, quite honestly, I was angry and full of fear. For the first time I took heed to his advice and sought out recovery.
Entering treatment, two weeks sober, I was riding a pink cloud. After all, who wouldn’t love a vacation far away from the self-induced wreckage? I walked in thinking this was going to be a 30-day escape and I was all in. Once the real self-reflection and therapy started, I found myself completely defiant. The idea that I had to face the painful memories of my past terrified me. I spent my entire life seeking oblivion over facing reality. When asked, I was a victim of circumstance. I remember sitting in a caseload group when I was asked why I never talked about my mother’s death. The group continued with their pressing questions of what the relationship with my mother looked like and why I felt guilty over her death. The facilitator challenged me to write a goodbye letter to my mom and I remember grief rushing through my body into a suffocating lump that consumed my chest and throat. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and instantly I rebelled against their concerned inquiries. After wallowing in self-pity, I finally gave into their demands and thus my healing began.
After that dreadful day, something changed. My entire perspective shifted and I sought to redefine myself from victim to victor. I started with the seemingly ridiculous positive affirmations, changing my I can’t into I must. I began speaking life into my situations and noticing how this shift in language manifested positive outcomes. It was suggested I find a new relationship and dismantle my old conceptions of God. I started meditating and inviting God into all aspects of my life, instead of choosing to hand over only the hopeless situations that consumed me.
For as long as I can remember I have been a glutton for dysfunctional relationships. As I continue to grow in my recovery, I am learning to let go of the relationships that create chaos and no longer serve me. Fear of abandonment has been a common theme for me. In the same way I must stay vigilant in my recovery, I must do the same to relieve myself from the bondage of codependency. I made peace with the grief that consumed me and started sorting through old damaging resentments. I was able to see how I, often times, placed myself in a position to be hurt. This made way for me to focus on improving myself and I started making amends to everyone I harmed.
All of these new habits began, one suggestion at a time. I would often seek out the addict that just relapsed and asked them what they missed. I would hold onto their suggestions and note their struggles like a precious keepsake. After all, repeating the same behaviors over and over again expecting different results is utter insanity. I gravitate towards the women that have walked fearlessly and gracefully through catastrophe and maintain their sobriety. Today, I am able to experience gratitude when pain finds me. Every single struggle and triumph ebbs and flows exactly as it should and, with God’s help, I am able to practice humble acceptance. Today, I live a life I never would have imagined. I’m comfortable in my own skin, I gravitate towards intimate interpersonal relationships. From pain to pleasure, I get the opportunity to take every emotion and grow from them. The true miracle of recovery comes when I get the opportunity to pass along the same grace I was so freely given to the next alcoholic. There is nothing better than watching a broken woman find unconditional love, hope, and happiness. From chaos, comes clarity.
After demolishing my thinking and warped self-image, grace found me. I fell in love with myself for the first time. Think of the concept of a flower blooming through concrete that was me. I now have two years sober, and I live a life I never would have imagined. I have two beautiful children and we live 5 minutes from the beach. My relationships, with the people that mean the most, have become the foundational support from which I get to chase after my dreams and unabashedly live life to the fullest. I spend my days spreading awareness on the disease of addiction through a recovery-based web marketing company, founded by other addicts just like me. I meditate every morning and I’m able to sort through my emotions, pausing before responding. New hobbies and passions have surfaced and I no longer feel unworthy of true happiness. Daily, I use my torturous experiences to share hope and bring light into the darkest places.
Tricia Moceo is an Outreach Specialist for Stodzy Marketing, a local addiction/recovery-based marketing company. She advocates long term sobriety by writing for https://www.12keysrehab.com and https://journeypurebowlinggreen.com, providing resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Tricia is a mother of two, actively involved in her local recovery community, and is passionate about helping other women find hope in seemingly hopeless situations.