Picture this. A woman in her early 40’s, good job with a pension and benefits, an active member on her union executive. She’s been married for over 15 years to a great guy who works hard. She has a nice 5 bedroom home in the suburbs, a working car, family holidays. She has a beautiful daughter in private school, great (if not functional) relationships with her family members. She has good friends, a nice garden, loves the outdoors and camping. Perfect. Right?

 

She also drinks most of a bottle of wine every night and is addicted to cocaine and prescription painkillers that she buys off the street. Maybe not so perfect.

 

Did it change your opinion of her? Yeah, I had a pretty low opinion of myself too. I was in so much shame around it that I wouldn’t seek help. I couldn’t risk losing all of those things listed above including what everyone else would think of me. I couldn’t even call my doctor even when I was in full on “Trainspotting” withdrawal. My dealer couldn’t get the pills anymore so it either detox or start using the stuff I knew I wouldn’t come back from.

 

So that was my bottom, or so I thought.

 

It was actually more of an outcropping that I caught my breath on before I hit the real bottom. That reprieve took about a year and a half while I kept living the same life I had before but without all the pain-numbing-mommy’s-little-helpers.

 

I hit my real bottom after going to a She Recovers yoga retreat in Mexico in the fall of 2013. She Recovers retreats are like no other. I had been running on fumes for such a long time I had forgotten what it meant to rest and I mean really rest. It’s a weird experience to have absolutely no demands put on you for a whole week. In fact, it can get downright uncomfortable learning how to just “be” when one’s life is all about “doing”.

 

When I came back from that trip everything was different. Well no, that’s not true, everything was the same, I was different. I didn’t fit anymore and it was painful. I was stuck in a job that was going nowhere, I was stuck in a marriage that hadn’t been working for years, I was stuck in a house I never chose in a neighbourhood I never wanted to live in.

 

So what did I do? Put on my big girl panties and I blew it all up.

 

I quit my job, I left my marriage and I moved out of my house. I had no idea what I was going to do for money but I knew what was going to happen if I stayed stuck and that was no longer an option.

 

So here I am almost 4 years later and a lot of stuff has happened in between then and now, some of it amazing and some of it terrible. But all of it has been on my terms, my choice and the only crazy I had to deal with was my own. I think the hardest thing I’ve had to learn over this time is how to be in relationship with myself. Forgiving and reconciling with myself daily for all the crazy shit I think (and sometimes do) is the only way I can keep showing up for all the other women in my life.

 

If you’re using something to numb out the pain or if you’ve stopped the numbing and the pain is overwhelming, give me call. I’ve been there, I get it and I’d be honoured to listen to your story.