When do we stop being whole? Is it the first time a grade school friend hurts our feelings? When a boy breaks our heart? The moment we realize we have flaws? We get pushed down on the playground and a little piece of what was disappears. That boy tells us we’re not pretty enough and we believe him. Or we look in the mirror and see something of a mess in place of what was innocence. How is it that in an instant, we go from being a whole, seemingly complete human being with a full heart, to a broken, empty existence? Does everyone go through these transformations, or is it simply those whose character defects glare against the sun?
These questions fill my heart almost every day. Some days, it’s a fleeting thought and some days it echos through my entire body until I can no longer ignore it. So, it’s time to shine some light on the broken pieces. I don’t have the answers to any of the questions that push against my soul. The answers aren’t needed. A solution is.
I walked through the doors of Tallgrass in 2011 with a broken spirit and soul. The girl that once stood tall and proud was nothing more than a shell of a human being. There was no fight left in me and the last small piece of hope was hanging by a thread. There was never any intention of getting well and staying well. I wanted the dope-sickness to go away so I could return to Wichita and become a productive member of society. Leaching off other people was no longer an option and I just wanted to work hard and play harder… but responsibly. God had other plans and for that I will be forever grateful.
Little by little, and not very quickly might I add, my perception changed. What did I have to go back to? Did I want to live that life? The moment I realized there was nothing left for me in Wichita, a small piece of my shattered existence repaired itself. A scar will always remain, but I was one step closer to being whole. I fought this for nearly an entire year. I continued on with a relationship, now long distance, until I could no longer fight the pain that it brought. We were never healthy enough together to know real love and what it required.
Plus, I couldn’t keep both feet in recovery. Every time I relapsed, another piece of me broke. Everything that was slowly being repaired, crumbled again, taking even more each time. Two years of back and forth. I would gain clarity, get a little “clean time” and go back out. I could never surrender to the idea that I was the problem. It wasn’t the drugs. It was the alcohol. It was staring me in the face the entire time, but I couldn’t see it. I became broken enough that there was nothing else to lose. The last shred of courage disappeared and I accepted my reality of dying a hopeless addict. And I was ready… but again, Divine plans changed my path.
I don’t remember my last drink. I don’t remember my last high. What I remember is waking up in the hospital, alone and empty. All I could do was sleep. I was again just a shell, broken pieces falling into a void of space. The details of that day are no longer important. It’s what happened when I was discharged three days later that holds precedence. I went home, disposed of the alcohol that was left and changed my clothes. I washed away the last few days and hit my knees. I have no idea what I prayed that day, but I know that God heard me. I wasn’t going to go to another twelve step meeting. No way. I didn’t want to go there and face “those people”… but my dad called and suggested I go.
Against everything my head told me, my heart won out and I got in my car. It wouldn’t start. “This is a sign!”, I thought. And it was… from my addiction. With tears in my eyes, I felt the intense pull of addiction. Never before had I been able to recognize the feeling. It scared me enough to ask for help. Needless to say, I got to the meeting. I can’t remember anything about that meeting, but I know I got there. Within the next six months, meetings became a predominant part of my life. I was still incredibly angry, but the pieces that were so broken started to come together again. Again, scars remained.
When I was nearing six months of continuous sobriety, I was fighting. The scars of my past were manifesting into an ugly wound. The world before me was a cloudy haze of past mistakes and ruin. Hanging on by some small shred of hope, I cried. And after a long night of laying on the couch, praying over and over and over again to just not drink, I woke up to a new world. The scars were healing and the desire to use was absent. Those broken pieces, every last one of them, had found their home and made me whole again. I surrendered to the great fact that drugs and alcohol were no longer a solution to the “me” problem.
Today, I feel the pieces shifting. I am still scarred, but differently. Pieces continue to break, but I remain whole. So frequently I think to myself, “I’m going to lose my shit. I absolutely feel insane”. I question my very existence and my entire world feels like it’s spinning out of control from underneath me. Then I remember that night, nearly one and a half years ago, curled into the fetal position on my couch, begging God to get me through the pain. I’ve heard people say, “The longer I am here, the less I know”. I absolutely believe that to be true, today. We are all learning. We rebuild ourselves, with the help of God and our fellows. We are the broken pieces. Scarred, bruised, beaten. We are whole.