I’ve felt pretty defeated lately – can’t seem to get a handle on this depression and anxiety. My frustration is growing and I’m tired. I’m tired of being so wound up. I’m tired of being dragged down. I’m tired of making the same mistakes. I’m tired of disappointing myself. I’m tired of feeling like a shitty wife. I’m tired of missing out. I’m just really tired. All of my energy goes toward being a mom. It’s the only thing I feel like I do right these days. My heart soars with countless moments of joy as I get swept up – it makes me so grateful for the love in my life. I have it really goddamn good. But, those other moments are breaking me down and I wonder how much longer I can keep this up.
This is a scary place – I can’t imagine that many people manage to sustain their sobriety once they get here. I can see the potential for suicidal thoughts, too. Don’t get your panties in a wad, I’m not going to drink and the ONLY thing that is clear to me about suicide is that people don’t really want to DIE, they just want their PAIN TO END. I’ve always known that things will swing back up, but this time around has certainly been the most challenging.
Last week I found the mother of all sparks – things were definitely looking up. I’d found a glowing light in the form of a handsome 2-year-old malamute mix. We were gaining a new family member who was offering me a legit way out of my hell. I don’t mean to get all dramatic here, but in saving his life, he was truly saving mine. Dogs love us more than we love ourselves and they make our lives so much better. They make us better people. The week leading up to the adoption was full of excitement, planning, and a blossoming love. That sweet fuzzy boy owned my heart and I felt lighter and brighter already. Just hours after we got him shit hit the fan. Although he was an amazing dog, he clearly needed a family without kids and it wasn’t going to work. My heart broke into tiny pieces and I cried harder than I can ever remember. I’d lost my new love and I’d lost my way out. I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself and felt heavy with despair.
A few days later I went to a meeting and saw what appeared to be a broken man. After spending the past 5 years in a battle with relapse, his wife had decided to leave him. It wasn’t that she didn’t love him, she just couldn’t trust him and needed to move on. Prior to this five-year battle, he’d been sober for 21 years.
He stood before a room full of his peers with slumped shoulders and defeated tone, and announced his 23rd day of sobriety. He went on to tell us more about how his life had fallen apart and I couldn’t help but notice the attention he commanded. The room was his. I don’t know how else to describe it – the confusion, embarrassment, agony, and support – we were all in it with him. The compassion surrounding him was palpable as we all became one beating heart.
This shattered man then declared how grateful he was to be in the room with us. I suddenly realized that even though his life may be broken, he in fact, was not. Although he was practically breathless with pain, there was something that brought him to us that night, into his 23rd day of sobriety, and to a place of gratitude. He wasn’t broken at all. He had found a spark – hope. And in that moment we all had hope.
Until then, I’d felt quite conflicted with the term, hope. I’d always thought hope was for religious people – hoping to escape eternal damnation by being just righteous enough – but that’s not hope, that’s fear. And I’m not saying that’s how all religious people are, so just chill. I thought of hope as a form of denial, clinging to something unsubstantial, or an excuse for not taking action. You know, like when dreams die because they turn into wishes instead of goals. Hope is what turns into change IF/WHEN you act on it. If you don’t act on hope, it also turns into a wish and then you turn into a pussy. I ain’t no pussy. Hope is the spark in a tunnel of darkness. Hope is exactly what I needed.
SO, I decided that this guy is pretty amazing – and if he can do it, I can too. I found hope and now I can set it on fire! The only thing that gets in the way is me. The only limitations set upon me are the ones I entertain in my freaky little brain. I can change how I feel inside and out. I can turn the voices around. I don’t need an excuse to get off my ass, I can just do it. And I’ve already begun.
THIS must be what people in the rooms refer to as spiritual awakenings. I never wanted or expected to have one. I look back in awe – I was hard when I walked in and soft when I walked out. I was overflowing with hope and felt that glow from within.
So there it is. A new chapter, now that there’s a fire under my ass. I will find my peace, I know it. With hard work I will turn my life around for the better. Depression and anxiety are gonna suck it. If something else tries to knock me down (and dude, that’s life) it will get bitch slapped. There’s no more time left for weak bullshit; it’s time to wake up and ACT. I am responsible for my life. I’m going to rediscover my badass.
If I can do it, you can too.
Thank you so much for reading.
Thanks for your support,
15 thoughts on “HOPE is not a four-letter word”
It’s so hard to see hope without seeing it in someone else first. Then we can see it within ourselves. Thank you for your powerful honesty. Hope you rediscover your badass 🙂
Thank you so much for this post. I find myself in a very similar place lately and have been in a ton of emotional pain. I needed your words this morning. I needed to hear “it’s time to wake up and ACT.”
We are in this together! I so appreciate you letting me know this helped you. Let me know if you get stuck – email@example.com.
Have you ever considered working the 12 steps?
Hi Ann! Thank you for asking – yes, I have considered working the steps and have made a few attempts. After many years, I recently made it through the “higher power” thing and got all the way to step 4. But step 4 was absolutely hideous. Not the path for me, plus, I’m back to being hung up on the “higher power” thing, only I don’t consider it being “hung up”.
Depression has been my biggest challenge in sobriety. My SAD was bad this year. I take meds, and do everything else. But there it is.
Being sober has opened my eyes to the small beauties in life. Mornings. Beautiful music. Coffee.
Keep asking for help of you are trapped in a downward shift. It is worth it.
Thank you Anne. I’ve been feeling a lot better the past few weeks. What a relief. It helps to know that other people go through the same shit. I can agree with you on mornings, music, and COFFEE. I’ll add gardening, hot showers, and bird songs to the list!
Wow! Am I ever grateful to have stumbled upon your page. I hear it all the time that in the rooms we are all the same…. however, the deep darkness really ties me up and consumes me in a different way…. a way that your words seem to set free. Your writing is a blessing… a treasure in the huge world of the internet…. ahh to have found it!
Cheryl, you are truly a gift. I’m really glad you found me. Thank you so much.
Chrystal, you’ve been my go-to for motivation and inspiration since I got sober 338 days ago. You fire me up, Rock Star! Stay hard! Al.
Al, you’re seriously the best!
It’s all about belief in yourself and compassion for those in worse circumstances. You continue to amaze me with your writings…even though many of them worry me! But I know you’re a badass and I know in the end you will figure it out and grow to be stronger and better and when you do you will find the life you truly deserve!
Thanks so much Mur. And yeah, I was hoping not to scare anybody, but it is what it is! Believing in myself more day by day. Thank you.
Seriously just wow you continue to amaze me ! As I read this w tears streaming down my face I realize people can hide the hurt so much it’s amazing that I saw you daily and didn’t pick anything up from you. Continue to be badass and kick the crap out of depression it sucks I know people who suffer w it and it’s a continuous battle! I admire the woman you are! Love you xox!
Tara. I can’t thank you enough for this.