Level Up, Bitch | 7 Months

I’ve always dreamed of being the man I am becoming now: grounded and moving forward in a sure direction. Who knew that removing the drugs and alcohol would make that possible? I truly believe that I am right where I’m supposed to be.

On January 31st, I picked up my 6-month chip!

Shortly after, I was promoted to a salary position at the rehab I work at. I get to manage our residential recovery house and supervise a team of behavioral health technicians. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to cut it.

How is this even my life? I just-

At the end of today, I will have 213 days of sobriety behind me. That’s 7 months. Today, that’s what I’m working for.

When I take life one day at a time and choose to not pick up a drink or a drug no matter what, the days add up and I stay sober. However, just because I removed the substances doesn’t mean that I’m “fixed.” My brain is still broken. I didn’t just have a drinking problem, I had–and still have–a thinking problem, and the chemical imbalances in my brain have been having heydays left and right. The mental illnesses I self-medicated away for years have been begging for my attention.

I live with severe depression and anxiety. It’s truly debilitating at times. I often struggle to get out of bed and stay present. Recently, I’ve been experiencing depersonalization and derealization, as well. There are moments, days even, where I don’t feel real. I enter a fog, my body doesn’t feel like mine, and I end up wrestling with insane thoughts about my existence and what it all means. These are all new symptoms for me. I’ve never dealt with any type of dissociation like this. My mental illness evolved, like level up, bitch.

Working my recovery isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Not even close. My sick brain definitely gets in the way of my wellness. For that reason, I recently started medication, and next week, I have my first meeting with my new therapist. In my addiction, I was a self-proclaimed mental health advocate, but now that I’m sober and allowing myself to get help, I’m actually walking the talk (at least, I’m trying to).

So let me tell you–there is no shame in therapy, or with being on medications designed to help your brain find balance. It is okay to ask for help. You don’t have to deal with life’s shit all on your own.

The fact of the matter is that you deserve to be well and there is much to look forward to.

I graduate in December with my BA in psychology and sociology. I’m applying for Master of Social Work programs this fall, as well. I’m looking at a program here in Florida, one in NYC, and a few in the United Kingdom. When I pray about my future and ask my higher power what the actual fuck it wants from me, I feel most at peace when I envision myself earning my master’s in the UK and then moving back to the states to pursue my license in social work. My heart is pulling me to Europe and I’ve always dreamed of living in NYC, but the reality is that I have no idea where I’m going to end up next year.

And that’s okay. What matters is today, day two-hundred and thirteen. 7 months is definitely a feat for an addict–and I celebrate it because every little victory counts–but it’s not a lot of time. I have to remember that I’m still very much susceptible to the cunning nature of my disease. Old habits die hard, and that includes the ways I used to cope with being human. I’m not perfect and I will never be, but I’m striving to be a decent person without drugs and alcohol in my life, one day at a time.

Thanks for letting me share this journey with you.

With hope,
Donaven


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