I let the shame of what I’m about to share control me for far too long. I’m putting this out there to free myself.
At 20 years old, I was severely underweight and addicted to Ritalin. Everyone said I was pretty and my grades sky rocketed, so the last thing I did was vilify the drug that brought me attention from boys and accolades from my Economics professors and parents.
Eventually I became an unstoppable party girl who began mixing Ritalin with alcohol. All it did was help me to consume more and more alcohol. Slowly, I became the party girl who stayed up for days – alone. Everyone would go back to their normal day-to-day lives while I would still be ‘geeked’ out of my mind, alone, drunk and awake two days later.
There was such pain and loneliness in those moments because I wanted to sleep but couldn’t – all I wanted was to chase that high. I kept using because of the pain I felt inside – or at least that’s the lie I told myself. That kind of justification was the same kind of self serving, self indulgent excuse that kept me high for a decade. Stuck in a rut. Chasing nothing and going nowhere fast on a hamster wheel.
One day, I finally woke up and realized that my 20’s were wasted and devoid of any meaning. That may sound harsh – but it’s partly true.
Changing my lifestyle could not have happened without being completely honest with myself. I realized that I could no longer frequent bars. I could no longer attend social functions – the temptation to make boring conversations stimulating by mixing Ritalin with alcohol was too tempting. This also included so called obligatory family functions. Parties. Going out to dinner with girlfriends. All of it ceased. It had to. If I had to escape these places mentally, then there was no point in being there physically. (I loathed gossip and small talk anyway, so having reason not to attend was kind of awesome).
Having children enabled me to become less self serving and I haven’t abused drugs or alcohol in 8 years now. I’ve experienced depression in the interim but not one part of me misses those days – not one part of me has any desire to dabble because there is not one good memory there for me to chase.
If there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that I am not defined by my past. My past merely molded me into the person I am today. I am someone who has learned that people can change. That your past does not equal your present. That you can wake up one day and begin a new life – no matter what the circumstances and no matter what lies you’ve been told.
Life may be unscripted, but remembering that we are each the author of our own, should empower us to rewrite and make changes – wherever we see fit. We are completely free to be whoever we want, regardless of the mental shackles society tries to put on us.
Rewriting your story is possible – if you don’t like the one you’re living today, change it. I changed mine.
Chains off – my time to fly.