My high school sweetheart died of a drug overdose.
I spoke to her 2 weeks before she OD’ed and told her that she needed to check into a detox.
She wouldn’t do it.
She had been to treatment before and the idea of returning to a 12-step program left a bad taste in her mouth. She hated them.
To her, 12-step programs were a cultish brainwashing society. The idea of re-starting a program that emphasized a group relationship with “God” didn’t sit well with her.
I couldn’t debate. I had no response and I didn’t know how to translate my own experience without sounding like another drone to recovery.
At the time of our last phone call, I was in the thick of it.
I’d been sober for a little over a year and the AA language was all I knew. I didn’t have the knowledge to communicate the principles behind recovery. I had no idea “why” it was working for me, I just knew “how it worked”.
Its hard not to. They read the mission statement at the beginning of every meeting.
But, I had no real understanding of the therapeutic nature invoked within “the program”.
The “how” was clear, but the “why” was still a mystery.
During our conversation, I had no real understanding of human psychology.
If I had, I feel like I might have been able to help.
But I was still exploring myself; looking for truth behind the words I heard in meetings. Trying to express myself and find an answer to the life I had lived up until that point…
Searching for a reason behind the madness of addiction.
Over time I discovered answers, and yet, still, I think maybe I could have said something, or done something, that might have had an affect for her.
Though I don’t think it would have.
The sad truth is: nobody can save anyone.
The only thing we can do is listen while people save themselves.
To do our best to be authentic. To be empathetic. To be aware of the human need for connection and understanding.
Even if we’ll never truly understand anyone other than ourselves…
We can still try.
That’s how we learn. That’s how we build relationships and share love.
It comes with perception.
Accepting our own and attempting to change as we understand others.
Over time, I’ve learned that life is only learned while living. Nothing ever takes shape unless I DO something.
Speak, share, move, make: create.
The only thing I know for sure that saved me, was me.
Sure, I had help along the way, but NO ONE kept me sober. I did.
Just like no one is gonna write this post for me, or open my heart to be seen.
No one is gonna raise my hand to speak when I’m anxious or scared. No one is going to be vulnerabile for me during moments of honesty; whether it’s shared into a room, a blog post, an audio recording, or a stage.
In the process, I’ve learned a great fact of life:
No one shows up unless you show up for yourself.
And it starts, and ends, with honesty.
The answers I’ve found, the essence of life I’ve discovered, have only been afforded by the risks I’ve taken to share.
To open my thoughts, my emotions, and my ideas to others.
It saves me, and it allows me to see myself…
From the hearts of those I love.