Nothing Hurts More Than Being Completely Alone
Jan 27, 2023
I was born with a genetic defect that caused constant pain. That’s how I spent most of my life growing up: in pain.
Most days, the pain was tolerable but on the days it wasn’t, the pain consumed me. I had countless surgeries and spent my days in and out of hospitals. Eventually, I was prescribed narcotic pain medicine – without an official diagnosis. It was years of ups and downs, highs and lows, surgeries and appointments. Suffering was my only option, it seemed – and I didn’t suffer well.
You probably already know where this story is going. The pain pills stopped working. I couldn’t get any more. So heroin was the next best thing. My situation was already pretty dire, with my husband was being deployed. I was miserable. I was praying to die and thought that was my only way out.
So I tried it, and it worked. I was able to get up, take a shower, make dinner, and take my son to the park – something that I hadn’t been able to do in so long.
But of course, that feeling was short-lived. It only put a band-aid on the pain.
As I spiraled into full-blown addiction, a new opportunity for pain management opened up. Just like that, all my years of pain and suffering were gone following the implantation of a pain monitor.
What was left: my addiction. Even though the pain was finally gone, I still needed drugs. The pain of living like this – lying to my loved ones, asking for money, doing things I never thought I would do – was just as bad as my physical pain had been. I never thought I’d end up here, but I was living it every single day.
After a while, everyone just threw their hands up and didn’t know what to do with me. I couldn’t see it then, but I was covering up a lot of things I didn’t want to deal with – anger, depression, boredom, frustration, sadness.
After years of disappointment, loss, fights, close calls, run-ins with the law, it was my turn to throw my hands up in the air and scream HELP.
And that’s exactly what I got: help. I learned that I needed to fix what was hiding behind the addiction.
I was in the process of doing just that when my mom committed suicide. Having less than a month clean, I quickly turned back to my escape and starting using again. My husband knew right away, packed up the kid and dogs, and left me alone.
I’ll never forget standing by my mom’s casket, all alone.
I realized in that exact moment that, no matter how bad things get, it could never be as bad as this: standing over my mom’s body and not having a single person next to me. I didn’t ever want to feel this again. There was nothing that hurt as much as this.
Not even the felony I didn’t realize was waiting for me after my mom’s funeral.
That’s when I completely gave in and accepted I didn’t know how to do this alone. I leaned in fully to a strong network of women in recovery. I gained connections I never thought I’d have and learned the opposite of addiction is connection.
At the time of my mom’s suicide, I didn’t know I could call my people and lean on them to get me through it. I thought I was tough and could get over anything, but it just wasn’t true. The shame and guilt kept me in my isolation.
My suffering may have been necessary but the misery I put myself through was optional. Now, my time is spent volunteering and helping others, focusing on my family and recovery, and being grateful.
I’m a living reminder that recovery is possible.