by Kacie Brockman
I remember the first night in rehab. Mind you, this is the first night out of jail, the first night understanding that I would never see my child again, and also realizing that I had nothing and nobody left in this world. So when I asked the house mother, “What do I do?” I was not prepared for her reply.
Excuse me, what?
She had to be kidding. I needed help. Concrete, real, serious help. And that’s all she had? Pray? I truly believed I was in some cheesy hokey-Podunk rehabilitation center as she obviously had no professional training if that was her best answer.
But that was all she had,
And so that was all I got.
That night anyhow. Later she gave me something more, or perhaps it was an intercept by God. All I know is that I had been given a reprieve.
On Mother’s Day 2014, when I could not call, write or see my child and absolutely believing he was gone from my life forever, I was at the bottom, and I think the lowest I’ve ever been in my life actually. I reached into a bag that had been brought down by my family that contained approximately 10 Vicodin tablets, which a friend had given to me many months prior.
I took 2.
4 hours later, I took 3 more.
The next day I swallowed 5 with a smooth glass of ice-cold 2% Milk, and then I waited for the relief to embrace me, an embrace of comfort and warmth that I’d come to know far too well.
Then the counselor announced there’d be a drug test that evening. I’d been there only a few days and still on a highly monitored release until sentencing. And now I knew it was all over. My own damn doing. What now Ms. Book Smart?
For those who do not understand alcoholism or drug addiction, let me ask you this. Have you ever felt the sharp, agonizing pangs of loneliness and despair? An aching and relentlessly brutal sense of abandonment deep inside of your soul? But if somebody, anybody, would just come up and hold you for a moment, you might be okay? Might you be “just okay” for a minute?
Until you’re able to wrap your mind around this, you will never be able to fully understand what it’s like to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. So please, put your judgment down. In fact, put it away, far away. Because you don’t yet possess the capability to help an addict when you have no idea how excruciating it is to feel so utterly alone in this life. This world, this very existence can be unbearable for some, and if they know there is a way out, even for the briefest moment, they are going to take it. I mean, it’s sitting there…. right there beside you, only a short text away.
It’s indescribable how in that very moment, there is this absolute mental barricade that blinds you from seeing the ruinous reality that has already manifested in your life. The very existence from which you are now trying to escape from and which was significantly created due in part to that damned dependable, escape hatch.
It became a personal experience of infinite imprisonment inside Pandora’s Box- or another translation, Hell on Earth.
Often contributing to this perpetual cycle is that whatever the alcoholic or drug addict is feeling, enduring, or merely trying to survive through, are the reactions and verbal assaults from loved ones who’ve been deeply affected. Family or friends might inadvertently continue to reinforce the embedded belief system of the addict by voicing their own valid resentments and understandable anger.
As difficult as it is and while it might take enormous restraint, it is not in anyone’s best interest to vomit up your anger and pain upon the addict.
“You disgusting, immoral useless piece of trash drug addict, alcoholic, junkie, yes you are alone, for a good reason! My God, look at you! Get it together. You’re the only one who can fix this! Who in their right mind would even give you another chance? You’ve been given so many. You’ve burned so many bridges. You’re Pathetic!”
And please, for the love of all that is right and holy, do not, I repeat DO NOT establish a tough love agenda without Professional Support AND Education. This has proven deadly when applied irresponsibly without giving the addicted family member an option or opportunity to go to rehab or providing them with a positive reinforcing and achievable goal. Think BEFORE you react.
In my life, in my experience, this was precisely the case. I was efficiently and effectively cut out like a cancerous growth that had infected the family unit as a whole. Final words spoken to me before the procedure began will never be forgotten as they’ve been branded into my heart, my spirit, and my being for always. Yet, although some of my family had issued statements stemming from sincere concern, anguish, and pain, others, which I have now come to understand, were carefully crafted to inflict the most significant collateral damage possible.
It ends up a catch 22 for everyone. I have been blessed or cursed if you will, to have experienced both sides of the coin. At one time I could have told you which hurt more, yet today after all of it, I tell you this, each is equally paralyzing.
Mercifully a few months later came a day by which that indoctrination was to be critically challenged. One voice, it took only ONE person who possessed the power and strength to create some severe holes in that belief system. These are the words, her words, that changed everything.
“”I’ll tell you who you are—- amazing daughter of the highest King. An heir to the throne. Redeemed. Restored. Delivered. Beautiful. Wonderful. His workmanship. A masterpiece. You have been born for such a time as this! You are a conqueror, an overcomer, and an amazing friend! You are real. You are loved. You are amazing, and God has put a destiny and purpose in you. The only truth is what God says about you-and well, he made you, so you’re pretty darn special!”
This new idea challenged every single derogatory comment, harsh criticism, and any uneducated label I’d come to accept and believe.
Coming In From the North We Have Wind Speeds Picking up…
“Meteorologists rank hurricanes from one to five based on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The scale is a yardstick that takes into account a hurricane’s wind speed, storm surge, and air pressure. The scale begins with a Category 1, the least powerful and dangerous hurricane, and moves towards its climax at Category 5 — the most catastrophic.”
Category 1 hit me when I miscarried my son in 2004. Then I faced a Category 2 when I almost lost my second son in premature labor, forcing my hospitalization for 2 months and then my baby’s for another 3. Category 3 came with little warning as well. This storm lasted for an excruciatingly long season, subsequently resulting from my incarceration. (which for legal purposes I am not YET at liberty to discuss publicly.)
Then the Category 4 shit storm of 2018, which again buckled me to the ground. I am still Convinced of an agenda born and nurtured by a relentlessly manipulating matriarch. My conclusion, real or perceived, is that her plan was to extinguish my existence from her perfectly choreographed performance. I had become too much of a liability, always asking questions and probing for the truth. I gave her the opportunity she’d been watching and waiting for by falling off the wagon once again. She knew it was coming, hell she was the producer/writer/director of my life for God’s sake.
I am an alcoholic. Plain and simple. I’m accountable and responsible for EVERY SINGLE TIME that I ever placed that bottle to my lips. No one ever forced me, and of that, we can be sure.
But what if?
What if there was a cog placed in the machinery decades before. Or, for example, a virus if you will, which had been deliberately released to infect the host. What if someone wanted me, my inquisitive nature, my tendency to express trauma through writing, my high intelligence, what if they tried to contain that somehow? What if by creating/causing/spoon-feeding a lifetime of absolute inner confusion, fear, and self-doubt, slowly but steadily ensuring a structural weakness of some kind would appear leaving the host with zero credibility? What if it were more beneficial for me to be sick than well? What if by a simple tug here or push there, I could be entirely manipulated with pinpoint accuracy?
Think these “What if’s” preposterous?
I began to clear away the wreckage and rebuild. Alone. Alone except for one small but incredibly powerful and determined rogue soldier who’s always been able to think and react with complete independence. Still, beside me come what may…
Recently a Fierce Shit Storm forecast forgot to announce it’s arrival. It was coming in from the North and bound to arrive within minutes. There was absolutely no time to prepare. And so it hit. And it hit hard. No amount of preparedness would have helped me to escape or stopped the catastrophic fallout from this storm. All I could do, yet once again…was pray.
As cliche as it may sound, I got on my knees, and I begged my Creator for wisdom, strength, and discernment.
And I prayed, “Please help me, I can’t do this anymore.” And BOOM- prayer answered. Well, sort of…I wasn’t going to get out of it that easily. There was a pop quiz first before the answered prayer… I had to take an enormous leap of faith.
By enormous, I mean nothing left in the physical world to support your jump whatsoever. But you jump because it’s the only moral choice you have left. There are always choices. Always. But (whom/which/what) do you choose to serve?
Be careful what you pray for and be prepared to receive what you prayed for. If your feet aren’t steady and your mind isn’t ready, an answered prayer can be awfully slippery to hold onto.
Isaiah 42: 16-18
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them…
When God permits suffering, He also provides comfort. Trust me on this fundamental truth. He doesn’t allow you to endure life’s arduous trials without giving you the resources, support, and understanding that you will need to get through it.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
On the surface, it looks insurmountable, whatever tribulation or difficulty you may be facing, as impossible as it may seem, it is absolutely survivable. And you will be okay.
These life lessons provide us with opportunities to gain wisdom, compassion, and experience to become the complete and whole human beings that God intended for each of us to grow.
What I want you to understand, it’s okay to fall apart, it’s okay to break down and completely crumble when faced with an undeniable truth, a severe life transition, or maybe a devastating health issue that’s beyond our control, it’s perfectly okay to fall apart…
But stand back up. No matter what, always get back up. You don’t stay there, you can’t. However comfortable it may appear at the moment, if you stay there, you will most surely die there.
So you will rise, and you will rise again. With each obstacle that we overcome, we are stronger, wiser, and more capable of facing the next one and the next one, and …well, you get the picture.
If you feel like you can’t stand back up, if you genuinely believe in your heart of hearts that you cannot arise out of the muck and mire, out of the trauma, or quite frankly, an excruciating shitstorm, then call out to God. YOUR GOD. Your source, your Creator, your Lord, your higher power, I don’t care what “translation/identification” of God you choose, because from my experience, he’s been there when I didn’t have any idea what or whom to call him. He still appeared and provided me with his divine comfort, mercy, and grace.
And to be quite honest, God should have been my FIRST choice, not my last resort. That understanding would have made this entire journey far less painful.
He will send angels that don’t look like angels, they may look like strangers you might pass on the street, or perhaps they might seem like an old friend from high school that you haven’t seen in 30 years, or they could look like someone that would never be accepted by society’s “norms.” And you know what? When you are broken and afraid, and you don’t know what direction to move on this game board of life’s new and dangerous reality, those angels will guide you home. They will guide you back to self. They will teach you about who you are, about what you are capable of, and they will teach you about your worth, your value, and your real purpose. And I promise you, by the grace of God and the angels that he delivers, you will always find your way back home.
“…And you can take that to the bank! ; )” -Michelle G. – a guardian angel of sorts