It is so funny the two different views of me people seem to have. They either seem to forget my past all together or won’t let me move beyond it. I did some incredibly dumb things while using and even after in my first year of recovery. Who am I kidding, I do dumb things now. There is still this addict brain I have that can trip me up sometimes, but I will not drink or use. I am the only one who knows that. There are some people who refuse to believe me, that is their right. It is hurtful. I can’t change what I did. The funny thing to me is, I didn’t go to jail or prison. I changed jobs too many times. That is what I did. I was unhappy with myself and didn’t want to believe it. So I kept leaping into new careers, thinking I would find happiness. You can’t find happiness outside of yourself when you are dying on the inside. It is physically impossible to love others when you hate yourself.
It would be incredibly easy to get down on myself. I see why addicts go back to using or convicts go back to committing crime. Society continuously tells you that you are no good and useless. Well, if you say so type attitude develops. I am more than my addiction. I am more than my past. Party Sober has a shirt that reads, “Don’t judge me by my past, I don’t live there anymore.” I love it. That person is dead and gone. I don’t recognize her anymore. I have dedicated my life to helping others with this disease that captures so many. I am so grateful for the support and love I get daily. Not everyone has that. I am blessed to have parents that refused to let me be homeless. They never allowed me to die. It doesn’t look like I could be that addict now, but that is only because of God’s unfailing love.
I know I have lost job opportunities and friendships because of my honesty about my addiction, but I also know I have helped people. The latter is more important to me. If I am not accepted because of what I did in the past and what I have overcome, I feel that that person is truly losing. It is still painful sometimes, but I can’t let that dictate my feelings. I allow myself to cry for a moment then I get back up and keep moving. I am transparent on this blog because it is my way of helping others.
There are some people who don’t know the old Vanessa. They don’t know the girl who had to drink not to shake. The girl who let no one close because trust died the day she was raped. There are even fewer people who knew the Vanessa before all that happened. The girl who dreamed of making a career out of using her gift of singing. The Vanessa that wore a purity ring and intended on keeping that promise until marriage. The Vanessa that loved music and theatre. Regardless of which Vanessa you remember, one thing remains the same; she keeps getting up no matter how many times life keeps knocking her down. OK, enough of the 3rd person. I laughed when my husband was shocked at the blue streak in my hair. I use to have 13 piercings. So many things have changed in my life, but my God has not changed. I turned away so many times, He didn’t leave.
I don’t hate everything about my past. There are so many wonderful memories and positive things that happened. It is hard to remember them in sequential order, but is that really important? I learned. I am better for it. It has been 2 years 7 months and 12 days since I have had a drink. My Dad told me a story of an employer that denied him because of his addiction 10 years sober. There are some places that never forgive or “give you a chance.” The odd thing about that is that I am being honest. There are so many people who aren’t. They lie and use. Those people avoid people like me. They know I can see them. So many people don’t though. I don’t blame people for not wanting to be honest or ask for help. You are judged and the stigma still exists. I am sure they must be thinking relapse is around the corner. There is no way for me to guarantee it isn’t. I, personally, think someone who is fully and completely aware of themselves and working towards being a better person is a good thing.
I do struggle sometimes with the symptoms of addiction, but I won’t use again. There are some people that think it is almost like I never drank and that I never think about drinking. I do still think about it, but I am stronger than my addiction. I am also more than my addiction. Yes, this blog focuses on my sobriety because it is a huge part of who I am, but it isn’t the only part of who I am. My sobriety has given me the gift of discovering parts of me that I might not have if I had kept drinking. It forced me to fill time in other ways.
So basically, here is the deal. If my being sober makes you uncomfortable, you have a problem you need to address. If you don’t want to give me a chance as an employer because of my past, your loss. I can’t go backwards, nor would I want to, only forward towards my forever. I am a muti-dimentional human created by God to love everyone and give all I got everyday. I love being alive now and I have a greater appreciation for it since I almost died. (Seriously, my liver was failing.) I don’t take for granted the days I am given, they are truly a gift. Take it from me, someone who has lived life white girl wasted and super sober, sober is better.