Thursday, December 15, 2016

I was supposed to relapse last month

So, I was supposed to relapse last month.  No really.  It was my time for it.  My season for relapse.

While some people enjoy the holidays immensely (think Clark Griswold-esque), others seem to struggle more during this "joyous" time.  Formerly, I would classify myself in the second group of people.  I always put up multiple trees, buy the perfect gifts, coordinate all of my gift wrap, send out beautiful Christmas cards, play all of the right music.....but I feel empty inside.  A sadness (of unknown origin) creeps up and fills my whole body, replacing any joy that previously existed, like fog slowly covering an early morn. I spend the Christmas season feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared.  I constantly tell myself that I don't measure up, and I sabotage myself....very early on in the season.

(Side note:  This holiday season has proven to be very different for me. It seems that sober Misty likes, maybe even loves, Christmas! But, more on that later.)

Let's jump back to late November 2014

I walked out of Karen's Place (the treatment facility) fully recovered (HA!) on July 18th.  So, that means November lands me at four months post treatment, seven months clean.  I left treatment feeling extremely confident in my sobriety.  Probably a little over-confident.  While I was in treatment that first time, I began having pretty bad pressure headaches again. I knew something was up, just didn't know what. So, after getting out of treatment and the symptoms continuing, I made an appointment with my neurosurgeon. Long story short, before I left there, he had scheduled me for surgery on December 2nd to revise my shunt.  I'm going to be completely honest and real here, and it's embarrassing.  While I tried to act like I was scared and upset about this surgery, I was inwardly happy and relieved.  Almost excited. Giddy.  I got to have my head shaved, have my skull drilled through, have a three inch gash in the top of my head, multiple staples holding everything together, and a three day hospital stay.  But, I was excited. Why? Because I would get a free relapse card.  I would get IV pain meds and probably a large stash to take home.  Twisted thinking, right?  

So, it's the week before Thanksgiving. I'm running around like crazy....putting Christmas trees up, doing Christmas shopping, trying to get everything done before my surgery.  I'm also helping plan and decorate for a Thanksgiving service that our recovery program is doing.  And I crack.

So, when I had first gotten out of treatment, I had "stumbled" across a bottle of medicine that wasn't mine.  A bottle of medicine that I wasn't supposed to touch. On this particular day that I "cracked", I can vividly remember all of the details.  I put the load of decorations from my house in the back of my van and got the kids buckled into the car.  I had parked out back, so I pulled around to the front of the house and started to pull out of the driveway.  But, instead, I stopped.  And I put the car in reverse. And I pulled up to the front door. And I told the kids that I had forgotten something. And I dared them to get out of the car and follow me inside. And I unlocked the front door. And I walked into the kitchen.  And I stood and stared at the medicine cabinet. And I opened it. And, sadly, I consumed a large portion of what was in the medicine bottle. And I walked out of the house. And I got into the car. And I acted like nothing had happened. And I told myself it was a one-time thing...that I wouldn't do it again.  And I knew I was lying. And I knew I was high.

The next day, I got up and tried to pretend I hadn't relapsed the night before, even though I could still taste it in my mouth.  I was good.  I was still sober.  It had just been a one time thing on a chaotic day. It wouldn't happen again. I just needed a little break from reality. I was stressed out and overwhelmed. So, I got everything done that I needed to get done, I got the kids picked up from school, I wrote out the short testimony that I was going to give that night at our Celebrate Recovery Thanksgiving service, and I started to walk out the door. And that little demon started speaking to me. And I, once again, picked up.  That night is still one that makes me sick to my stomach.  I sang in front of a lot of people that night....high. I gave a testimony about my recovery journey...high. I quoted my favorite scripture....high.  I heard my husband share his heart about what he had been through and I heard how proud he was of me.  And he didn't know that I was high. But I did. That night when I got into my dark, silent car, the reality of it set in.  I knew that I was standing on the brink, tiptoeing near the point of no return.  And I did absolutely nothing about it. I pushed the guilt to the back of my mind, and I continued to use.

I remained in the outpatient program that was a continuance from the inpatient facility I went to.  I continued to see my counselor (the one that I love and respect more than life), and I lied straight to her face. Told her I was doing great.  Talked and laughed like I had it all together. Told her how strong my faith was and that I wasn't worried at all about my upcoming surgery. What I didn't tell her was that I was scared to death that I had just failed the drug screen they had given me.  What I didn't tell her was that I had googled how long this drug would be in my system and had rescheduled appointments when I didn't think I would pass.  What I didn't tell her was that I was pretty sure I was headed back to a very dark place.  What I didn't tell her, and what I didn't know, was that the life that I knew was getting ready to a huge way.

During those next six weeks, I hit a low that I didn't know was possible.  I thought I had already hit rock bottom in the mental hospital, but I was dead wrong.  Some of these things I have dreaded writing about....I have sworn to take them to my grave. I have worried that they will completely erase any dignity I have left. Over the next few weeks, I am going to share some of those stories with you, and I'm going to ask you for grace.  I'm also going to ask you not to report me to Child Services. Kidding.  Kind of. I actually told a couple of friends this past week that I had some things that I needed to share but I first needed to see if there was a statute of limitations on those things. Ha!  But, when I decided to share my story, I decided to share ALL of it. Even the pages I want to rip out and the stories I wish could be written in fine print.

"Everyone has a chapter they don't want to read out loud." Ever heard that quote?  Well, for me, I'm coming up on that chapter.  And as much as I don't want to read it out loud, it's a part of my story, and it has to be told.  Out loud.  Well, kind of.

1 comment:

  1. Misty, every time I read one of your posts I am transported, I am more aware of God's grace and his protective hand and his eternal purpose. God bless you my friend. May you have the Merriest Christmas ever and may you enjoy every moment. God is so good.