I used to think that I was never at risk for a relapse, but sadly that isn’t the truth. We are all at risk for relapse. It doesn’t matter if you have 1 year sober or 16 years sober. We are all at risk and that’s why it’s so vitally important that we continue the daily work that helps us to stay clean and sober. I want to tell you all how close I came to destroying my life a few weeks ago. I have never been more scared in my life. I was hanging on by a thread and by the grace of God I was saved.
We have all experienced heartache and I have to say that pain is probably the worst pain in the world. It's not like getting a bad cut or breaking your leg. With physical pain it can be treated by a doctor and the pain is relieved. Heartache is in a class of its own. There is no medication you can take, It's not like a sore muscle where you can get a massage to relieve the tension. With heartache the only thing that relieves the pain is time.
I was in a very passionate relationship with a man I thought I would be with for the rest of my life. This was the man I had been searching for since I can remember. I left my 16 year relationship to be with this man. My marriage had been over for more than a year. I was slowly dying in my marriage and I had forgotten what it felt like to be in love. A man came into my life and unknowingly over the next 6 months I would grow to like him and then eventually fall in love with him. I knew it was time to exit my marriage because for the first time in 16 years I had feelings for someone else. Falling in love gave me the courage to leave my marriage.
I know some of you will judge me and have some harsh words for me. I have to accept it but I won’t let it hurt me. We all make decisions in our lives and sometimes the decision we make is the right one for us in that moment. I wanted out of my marriage but I had no idea how I could leave. There was so much fear around not being able to live and support myself and most importantly I would be losing my insurance. I have a lot of health issues and I can’t afford insurance. I believe there are a lot of women out there in the same situation with the same fear.
Falling in love with this man took all my fears away. I told myself that I would make it work no matter what! If I had to get a second job I would. It didn’t matter because all I knew was I had to be with this man. We both jumped and found ourselves homeless and bouncing from hotel to hotel and finally ending up living in a spare apartment at my grandmother’s assisted living community. We didn’t care! We were together and that’s all that mattered. We finally got a house and we were so happy. We began to build our brand new lives.
It wasn’t easy, that's for sure. I had everyone in my family turn against me and telling me what I was doing was crazy. Someone even wrote a letter to my therapist saying that they were very concerned for me and that they thought I could have bipolar disorder. There is nothing wrong with having bipolar disorder, but I have never shown signs of bipolar disorder. They just couldn’t understand why I would leave my husband for a man who literally had nothing. The man I fell in love with hadn’t even been in America for a year. He’s from Belize, a country I’ve wanted to go to for many years. It has always been my dream to go there and stay in one of the huts on the water. It was almost like we were meant to be. I still feel like we are meant to be. I forgot to mention he has children and he was also married. This was a recipe for disaster. We fell in love with each other and we jumped with both feet.
He’s an amazing father and in the beginning his ex allowed the children to come over but it was a ploy to get him to come back. I am a woman and I know what his ex was doing. His children are his weak spot and she thought by letting the kids come to our new house for a Saturday would make him think twice and want to come home. It didn’t work so what she did next was cruel. She refused to let the kids come back. He could only go there to see his children. This started our downfall. I would beg him to tell her that this isn’t how this is going to be. I wanted the kids to come Friday and stay until Sunday and we would bring them home in the evening. He just wouldn’t do it and I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t put his foot down to her. It didn’t make any sense. During all of this I had my back surgery which added more stress to the situation. I was in the worst pain of my life. I was stuck at home going stir crazy and all I wanted to do was go to work and see my man. I failed to mention that I met him when he came to work for me. Now you get how I fell in love with another man. I saw him every single day.
It was a Saturday and I was in excruciating pain laying on the living room floor when he came in and said we need to talk. I knew what was coming and honestly the way things had been going I was kind of relieved. The few months that we had been together were some of the most stressful months of my life. He missed his kids dearly and we both decided he should go back. We packed all his clothes and loaded them into the truck. We cried in the living room and held each other. He kissed me softly and I could feel his tears on my cheek. In my heart I knew what was happening was wrong but in my brain I knew it was right. He had been very sad for many weeks and we couldn’t live like this. I drove him to his aunt's house and we held hands the entire time. He got all his belongings from the truck then came around to my door. I got out and we held each other and kissed for a few minutes. I asked him what are we doing? We are obviously madly in love with each other. He kissed me one more time and turned and walked towards the front door. I put my truck in reverse and pulled away from the man of my dreams.
One hour later he called me. I answered the phone and he said “Jenny” I said “Marlon this is Emily I think you accidently called me because I’m not Jenny.” He kept saying that he didn’t call me Jenny and that I misheard him. I knew what he said and I knew he was trying to call his ex but accidentally called me. He said he didn’t know what he was doing there because he is madly in love with me and he doesn’t want to be there. I told him if in a few hours he still feels that way I would come back and get him. He asked me if I loved him and of course he knew I did. I went to the gym and within an hour he called me and told me to come get him. Had I known what would happen two months later I never would have picked him back up. This first breakup wasn’t hard. I was mentally ok. The second breakup nearly killed me.
I'm going to fast forward to our second breakup because I’m sure you are ready to hear how I nearly destroyed my life.
It all started when his ex began to call and text me. She told me that they had never stopped having sex and that every time he goes to see his kids they sleep together. This broke me and it broke my trust in him. It didn’t matter if she was lying because just the thought of them sleeping together put so much fear, sadness and doubt into our relationship. It was around the 4 month mark of our relationship when he said we needed to have another talk. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was getting ready to go do our grocery shopping. I told him while I was gone I wanted him to think about it and decide whether or not he was going to be with me and we would figure this thing out or he was to go and to never come back. In my mind I never thought he would leave. He told me constantly that I was the love of his life and that he couldn’t picture his life without me.
I was in the grocery store getting all our groceries. I had the coconut milk that I needed for his rice, I had his coconut water that he loves to drink when he gets home from work. I was happy to get all of his favorites when I got a WhatsApp message. It was a voice memo and a photo of the garage clicker hidden in our front door wreath, the wreath I had made just a few days prior. He said he couldn’t do this anymore and that he was sorry and that he loves me but he has to go. I dropped everything right there. I began to sob inside of the Food Lion. I slowly walked around putting back all the items that I had needed for him. I put his coconut milk back. I put his coconut water back. I walked aimlessly around the store trying to hold back my tears.
People began to notice me and I would quickly look away or look down. I got my chicken and headed to the checkout. I don’t know why I got chicken because in my mind I knew I wasn’t going to be around much longer. I wanted to die. I said fuck it in my mind. I was going to go and find drugs. I didn’t give a fuck. I was destroyed emotionally like never before. I hadn’t felt pain like this since my beautiful dog River died. I checked out and walked out to my truck. I was on a mission to get drugs and get as fucked up as possible.
I was crying so hard in my truck driving back to my house. My plan was to find a homeless person and ask them where to get drugs. Well to my luck there was a lady walking a bike with what looked like her entire life belongings. I had to do a U-turn and I pulled into the median. I hollered out my window “ Hey! Are you homeless?” she said yes and I told her I wanted to talk to her and to pull into the road that was just a few feet ahead of her. She said ok and as soon as traffic was clear I pulled in. I got out of my truck and just began crying to her. I told her what had happened and I said “ I know this is going to sound fucked up, but I don’t care. Do you know where I can get some dope?” To my surprise she said no and that she only smokes pot. I thought that was bullshit because why is a person homeless if all they do is smoke pot and look 100% able bodied? She told me she was trying to go wash her clothes so I gave her 20$. Before she left she told me to go to the gas station a few miles up the road and there I would find someone who could help me. I thanked her and she began to walk off. I turned to get back into my truck when I finally took notice of where I pulled in. I was behind a church in what I can only imagine is where the preacher parks and the choir and whoever else works for the church. I couldn’t believe it. God had saved me! Christ was there when I needed him the most. Christ saw my suffering and knew that I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life. I began to scream thank you God! Thank you God, you have saved me!
I got into my truck and began to pray to God for help. I was in a bad way and I was so close to destroying my life, but God was right there to hold my hand and gently pull me out of harm's way. I was right there ready to make the biggest mistake of my life. I had forgotten every tool I had ever used in the past to get me sober. I allowed the pain of my life to drag me to the deepest darkest place. I’m so thankful that God was there to help me because at that very moment I realized just how weak I had become at saving my own life. We can’t do this sober thing alone. It takes just one extreme bad thing to happen to us to drag us down. So, what did I do next to start saving myself? I actually didn’t do anything. I went home and cried myself to sleep. I went to work depressed and angry. My prayers to God slowly began to fade and I began trying to figure out how to buy Fentanyl. I had seen many documentaries on how people are dying left and right from using Fentanyl, I thought this is my way out of this life. I began looking on reddit trying to figure out where I could buy it. I was trying to use Snapchat by entering special characters, but nothing worked. I was too afraid to drive to the areas I used to go to buy drugs. I would be driving in to work and think I could just take this exit and I would be right there. A few roads over and I could buy the drugs I need to die. I wanted to tell the drug dealers “ I need Fentanyl so I can die, please.” I know how that sounds. Maybe you are judging me right now. Maybe you are someone who’s never been addicted to drugs. Maybe you are someone who’s never experienced this kind of pain. All I wanted to do was die. My heart had been shattered. I had been left alone, at least that’s how I felt. I felt all alone in this world.
The reality of it all is I wasn’t alone and all I needed to do was reach out to my support group. My support group is my family and my long time friend. I had to start tapping into the skills I had used all those years ago. One of them was journaling. I grabbed every colorful pen I had and I began to write. It didn’t matter what I wrote about, I just wrote. I found that it was too painful to write about him so I wrote about work, home and what I wanted in my life. The next tool I pulled out was listening to inspirational people. This is when I found David Goggins. How could I be so sad when he had a childhood that should have broken him. He rose from the ashes and decided to be the hero of his own life. He’s teaching me how to harden my mind and not to let what others do affect me. It’s a daily practice of turning my negative thoughts around. A negative thought comes in and I question it, then I take that negative thought and I throw it into the trash because it doesn’t serve me. I began to take my prayer time more seriously. I began to talk to God throughout the day. When I was driving to work I would talk to Him. When I was planting plants I talked to Him. When I got home I would get on my knees and pray. The biggest thing is you can’t allow yourself to lay in bed and wallow in your sorrow. You’ve got to pull yourself together and realize you are worth it and this world needs you in it.
Listen to inspirational people; David Goggins, Lisa Nichols, Tony Robbins, Jocko Willink, Les Brown… Find your own inspirational people!
Journal your heart out! Write out your life goals, write out what's hurting you and choose to throw it away in your imaginary trash can. Doodle if you can’t find anything to write about. Sometimes I sit there and look at a blank page but I never let that last more than 5 minutes. Just write whatever comes to your mind.
Pray like you’ve never prayed before. Get on your knees and talk to God like he’s your best friend. Because he is your best friend. He wants us to talk to him. He wants us to lean on him when shit gets hard.
Talk to family and friends because the truth is they only want the best for you. Sometimes it’s scary calling them because you don’t want to hear the negative things they might have to say, but what you need to do is tell them “I know I made some mistakes in my life but I’m calling you because I'm having a hard time and I really need your support right now.” That will stop them in their tracks.
Start doing things for yourself. Cook yourself a healthy meal. Go shopping and get an outfit that makes you feel beautiful/handsome.
Get your ass outside and into nature! There’s nothing more soothing to me than going out into nature and taking in the beauty of the trees, the animals and listening to the wind. If you really want to experience healing this is the best place to talk to God. You are out in his creation, talk to him and see how he talks back to you.
I was nearly destroyed by this breakup and I am so angry at allowing myself to get that close to destroying my life. You can bet your ass that I’m still using all these skills daily. I will never again forget that sobriety is a daily practice and that I need to be on guard at all times. It only takes one horrible, tragic incident to take me down. I must learn to be stronger than that. Day by day I am becoming stronger and more confident in my inner strength. I am so grateful that God was with me that day. He is with us daily but I believe sometimes God allows things to happen to teach us lessons but he knows I had already gone through that and I didn’t need to go through it again. He put an angel in my life to gently pull me from danger. That angel was that homeless woman, I was meant to talk to her. I have never seen her again. I drive the same route everyday. I haven’t seen her since. She was an angel sent from God. Sometimes we don’t realize the angels that God sends to us until much later. I'm so grateful for my angel that day.
Life is undoubtedly hard but God will never give you something you can’t handle. I want you to dig deep and find that strength that you have within you. I want you to lean on God even if your God isn’t my same God. Pray out loud to whomever you believe in. Don’t let your weakness destroy your life. Realize your strength and pull it from the darkest depths of your soul. Be the strong woman or man that you are. If I can do it I know you can. Remember that God will send you an angel at the right time. Your life is important and this world needs you in it more than you know. We are all meant for greatness.