In active addiction, my connections with life were completely severed. I excised all else from my soul. My priority was “to anesthesize the pain of living, to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.” Russel Brand gets credit for those words. A 20 year run of this lifestyle equaled an overwhelming sense of not knowing where I belonged.
The foundation of my recovery is honesty, because it’s simple. It is one thought, one word. The idea was that maybe I could manage one simple thing. An honest existence is one where drugs and alcohol don’t fit. So, armed with honesty and sobriety, I set out to find my place. It didn’t go well. I felt more lost than ever, and naturally I went back to things I knew: the religion I had once wanted, the friends I had once enjoyed, the hobbies I had once found interesting, the books I had once wanted to read, the places I had once found fascinating. I bought everything I had ever wanted… still no result. None of that clicked for me. I felt I was hovering above life trying to find a landing strip, and my fuel gauge was getting low.
Then I tried out new things I thought might “fit”: AA meetings, NA meetings, new friends from all the sober events I attended. They were all a total disconnect. It wasn’t happening. I didn’t feel like a wife, a mother, a grandmother or a friend. I was not a part of society. I was not where I should have been in life because I had taken a 20 year detour. On a particularly heavy day, I went to the church my husband and all his family had belonged to for generations. I walked into the empty chapel, sat in the darkness and wept. I thought being drug and alcohol free was supposed to feel good. To me it felt worse; I knew I was not going to find my comfort here, either. This was not where i belonged.
As I walked out, I reached out to my therapist at the IOP program I had attended. She listened until I was all cried out. She said she “got it.” She understood. I had to find out who I was now. In order to belong, I had to first be alone with myself. I had to belong only to me before I could belong with others. That was a scary thought; I was not comfortable being with me. I went to book stores and wandered around and found what really interested me. I read books about new and different subjects.
I spoke to people I didn’t know. I tried new foods I thought I didn’t like, discussed different topics, stopped buying things and invested in myself instead. I focused on things that would last. I went to restaurants and enjoyed a meal alone.
These things took time. I leaned into myself. I became accepting and forgiving of others and myself. I treated myself well. I allowed myself time to just be quiet, time to be in the moment and be OK with me. It became routine for me to have quiet time on my patio. One particular evening, alone with the noises of the night, I had a vivid image of me holding the last piece in a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle and knowing exactly where it belonged. That piece was me… whatever or wherever I was, I finally “fit.”
Are you still trying to find your missing piece/peace….?