These past three weeks have not been easy. There have been moments where I felt as though I’d made a huge mistake in going back to residential. There were conversations I had that I certainly didn’t want to have. I wasn’t sure where I was heading most of the time and I had to live in a very uncomfortable uncertainty. I faced many obstacles I had been avoiding, especially myself, and, though I knew there would be challenges when I admitted, I didn’t expect to be as affected as I was- by the battles and by the victories.
As I discharged from treatment today, and left behind the four walls and all of the wonderful souls who caught me mid-fall, held me, and empowered me to stand again, I was able to step away from the words I’d been immersed in and see the chapter for what it was, knowing how it ended. Though there is still so much left of the story to unfold, the majority of that, I can see now, is impacted by and possible because of these past three weeks.
When I entered treatment, I was searching for a refresh, a tune up that would stop my recent increase in behaviors in a time frame I knew would help my body heal enough to function and give my mind a break from the chaos I felt so trapped in. I was not seeking connection. Having been in a lot of treatment, I have many friends I’ve made along the way. I have supports all over the country, I’ve crumbled in the midst of people before, I’ve felt vulnerable in ways I didn’t think were possible, and I’ve gotten so much out of that. That being said, it is not an easy process to lay yourself bare and not only wait to see others’ reactions, but also discover your own perception of all of who you are.
When I entered treatment, I forgot my physical, mental, and emotional state all go hand in hand. The increase in my behaviors had changed my mind and myself and, just as the relapse had affected all of me, so would the treatment. I had to connect.
In short retrospect, today I see these past few weeks not as a simple tune-up, but another set of steps closer to meeting who I am in my most natural state. I have made new friendships and felt much laughter. I have healed the parts of myself which were most raw, and have uncovered many areas which still need attention. I have gained further perspective on my struggles and appreciated my persistence to continue fighting. I have defined what I’m fighting for and regained a desire to obtain those things. I have made progress and allowed it to be both possible and realistic to continue this pursuit for all things shiny. Though it hasn’t been easy, it has been so worth it and I have learned my gratitude for the opportunity I had to reconnect.
With these reflections, I made a commitment on my graduation ceremony Thursday for this next chapter. Here it is…
In a world full of contradictions and chaos, she held fast to the laws of fantasy. As surroundings spun and her feet lost their ground, she found herself flying in fallacy. The environment changed, yet numbers stayed secure. Her sanity could slip, but embracing the structures of panic would save her.
In a world full of contradictions and chaos, she listlessly began to dig herself a whole away from the sun, forgetting it provided light, and found herself buried in a familiar, yet no longer comforting darkness. She screamed.
Today, I agree to listen. I agree to take the words of my cries and give my voice attention and power. I hereby agree to give myself a chance.
With this promise, I know my steps will not be stumble-free, but I agree to take each one with grace and compassion for my humanity. I vow to see my missteps as information and remember my path is not laid out for me. I agree to see choice and use this to my benefit.
I acknowledge the sun may sometimes burn me, the memories of dirt and holes will, at times, seem like a better alternative. I know the truth, however, that comes with being buried and I agree to see reality and seek umbrellas instead.
My mind may try to block this out, my ego may get in the way of my soul and twist my certainties, or perhaps I may believe I belong underground. In these moments, I promise to look around, to surround myself with people who can reflect veracity. I agree to walk in company.
With every step, I will allow myself to be loved and embraced, even when I don’t believe I deserve it. I agree to fuel myself in search of freedom and follow the guidance of nature in place of numbers. I can eat my food. I can take bites. I can consume. I can survive. I can breathe. I can live my life and move towards one that isn’t framed by my nourishment, but rather enhanced by it. I commit to continue to expand my beliefs and open myself to what I can’t yet see.
Today, I agree to live and fully participate in a world- one full of joy and passion, as well as contradictions and chaos. I am giving myself a chance.