So, apparently, I’ve quit smoking. It’s been a full week now. I hadn’t intended to do it. But last week I was siiiiiick. Sickity sick sick. So I didn’t smoke. And here I am. I was only smoking 3 or 4 per day as it was, so I’m sure I’m having an easier time of it than many of my amazing friends who have quit this past year (*waving at Jess*).
I worked out today, my first day back after being ill and holy f*&king criz-nap, I could BREATHE. I haven’t breathed that well in years and years. All the junk I expelled with my cold plus the non-smoking and voila, respiratory revelation. I think my old friend Kerri was right – all these “allergies,” all my misery… I just needed to give up the cigarettes. Duh. Well, I shouldn’t say “duh” yet. We’ll see. But it’s looking good.
Seriously? I can’t possibly begin to recount my worries about my breathing this last few years. This is a Christmas miracle in the works. Like, I could cry happy tears JOY JOY. *Deep breath* Ahhhh.
So. There’s that.
Anyway, I was reading Ellie’s post yesterday and it reminded me of something I wanted to get down on (virtual) paper…
I was in bed with Steve a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about it being 4 months for me now and how different things are. And suddenly, acutely, I remembered. I remembered the despair and the panic panic anxiety panic pain shame inside that I used to feel every single day. That my life was in ruins, that everything was bad. That I was losing hope. Me. The eternal optimist. It was SO SO SO bad. God so bad.
And what’s weird about, well, in my opinion, not only addiction, but any terrible things that we as human beings go through, is that it’s so easy to forget how bad it really, really was. But it was. There is no mistaking it. In that moment when the memory enveloped me, and that horrifying feeling came back to remind me of what it once really was, I said to my husband:
“If I had continued the way I was, I would have literally gone insane.”
I believe that. I was already halfway there. If you’ve been reading me for a time, you know that when I finally stopped, I made the observation that the first month was very strange, very blank, that something different had happened with my brain chemistry – it had “dropped” another notch lower with the last few months of my drinking.
If I had kept drinking, I don’t want to imagine how I would have ended up. Would I have killed myself? I’d like to think not, but I really have no idea. My thinking was so skewed, about everything and everyone. It’s painful to recall the horrible things I thought about my husband, my friends, my family, my coworkers. All of it untrue. Blatantly untrue. And alcohol did that to me.
I poisoned myself. I poisoned my own mind and stole sanity and happiness away from myself. I am simply lucky that the damage I did was negligible. Having read so many stories now, I am luckier than I ever imagined.
I must never forget how deep the darkness really went. I must never forget the real truth. I don’t need to rehash and I don’t need to let it rule me, but I need not ever truly forget. Remembering the reality of it is a pretty powerful tool in my arsenal for future moments of “maybe I can just have…”
Because I can’t. And that’s okay. That’s more than okay. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here saying so.