A Year Sober

Earlier this week, I shared my story about sobriety on youtube. It wasn’t easy recording that video. I had several takes, mumbling through my words, asking myself if I really wanted to share that vulnerability with the world. I couldn’t escape the feelings of shame and hypocrisy, knowing well that I was helping people through difficult times with their mental health while I struggled with mine and self medicated.

A year ago this week, I decided to stop smoking and self medicating with marijuana. It was the biggest decision I ever made and stuck to. While I worked through my journey of sobriety, I uncovered a lot of grassroots problems of how my substance abuse came to be. From a series of sexual abuse in my teens to an unstable home, I began using non prescribed medications to deal with my depression and anxiety as early as age 14. At 18, everything was amplified because I experienced fame and went further into the rabbit hole of substance abuse. From bromazepam to deal with anxiety, to valium to deal with insomnia to codeine to escape my reality. I phased out of each then became solely dependent on alcohol and cigarettes which were terrible for me because at this point I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II and was placed on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.

I phased out alcohol and cigarettes, stayed away from them until I became acquainted with marijuana. When I smoked weed, I felt elated. I escaped from my reality and those wandering and demeaning thoughts. I felt like I could do anything but it was short lived. I suddenly forgot how to feel, how to laugh, speak and emote without substance. My decision to go to therapy about 5 months before I quit weed cold-turkey helped me resolved some underlying issues that I was oblivious to. Going to therapy became my sacred place and I knew if I stopped smoking my life was going to change forever and drastically as well.

The past year has been about me getting to know myself all over again. Being in the present and sitting with those lingering feelings both the good and the bad. It has been about taking care of my mental health and forgiving myself for the ways I have mistreated and undervalued myself. It has been about mending myself and learning to soar again.

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