A New Kind of Courage Turns into the Most Pride I Have Ever Felt
I am, and always will be, someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s aunt, I am also a hero to someone. Their love for me, the way I knew I could inspire them once, is the reason why I want you to know about my shame, my fears.
First you should know, I am a really brave person. I have always been known for my courage, by my friends, my family, and literally hundreds of thousands of strangers, too. I grew up in the most incredible way, to the most amazing, loving, interesting and unique family. I am a third-generation circus performer. I traveled across the globe defying death to the amazement of children of all ages. Every day that I performed I spoke to wide-eyed kids, or a local news anchor for a television interview, I would inevitably always be asked some form of the same question, “Do you ever feel scared? Scared to perform these stunts? Scared to fall? Scared to go out in front of all of these people?” My entire life, as far back as I can remember, the answer had been the same; effortlessly authentic, honest, said with a bold, effervescent, glimmering smile. I was confident, fearless, I was many things, but I was NEVER afraid.
When I was first getting high, sneaking around, first denying that my habit had the potential to have far more control over me than I had over it, I still knew who I was. Then, I was not scared. I should have been, if I had only known, but I was not. By the time I was living a life sustained entirely by drugs, 24 hours a day with no breaks, with very little discernible control over my eighty-four-pound adult body, despite the constant unanswered phone calls, stream of text messages, voicemails, each and every social media platform blown up, police knocking for a well-check, I’d all but forgotten I was ever someone to anyone. I had made sure to try to get high enough to forget I was anyone at all.
But I was scared. Lucid moments left me filled with an overwhelming, foreboding sense of fear. While I was dope sick, I was scared. When I felt the pain of hunger but knew that eating wasn’t even remotely a priority compared to getting high, if nothing else, making sure I didn’t go into withdrawals for just a little while longer, I was scared. When I found a place to score, in an area known for the most heinous acts, front-page prolific crime, I was scared. When I first woke up in a strange, sketchy place where I had nodded out, I was scared. When I came to in a hospital, I was scared. When I suffered a seizure from the first time I withdrew from benzodiazepines, I was scared. When I looked into my reflection in the mirror, someone else’s frail hand devoid of both fat and muscle, brushing a wisp of hair away from my hollowed cheeks, I was scared. But I never admitted I’d felt scared of any of these things. The only thing I would say I was scared of, was going to get treatment. I was afraid to commit the time, I was afraid to walk away from things in my life, I was afraid to admit I had a problem. Most of all, I was scared of how I’d live without a drug or a drink. I had never been to a single rehab. I had never admitted I had a problem. I was afraid to be dependent upon anyone, I was afraid to experience the pain and sickness I knew my body would feel after 15 years of daily drug and alcohol dependency. I was afraid to be vulnerable. All of it scared me.
I was anxious throughout my program at Narconon, of the mess I had made of my body, my mind, and my relationships. The kind and caring staff carried me through, from drug-free withdrawal, where I experienced the physical pain of cessation from drug abuse, but was comforted and guided by the withdrawal specialists, to my time in the New Life Detox where I felt the effects drugs had upon my body and mind diminish before my eyes, where I regained my physical health and vitality, to the objectives, where I was able to restore my mental acumen, to become properly oriented with my surroundings again. In Life Skills, I was able to work through my past misgivings, forgive, and restore balance and harmony to my sense of self, repair my most valued personal relationships and make right what plagued my conscience to move forward with dignity, to vanquish everything I had feared confronting.
The bravest thing I have ever done, in all my life, was to get sober. By far the boldest choice I have ever made was to accept the help, the most courage and pride I have ever felt, is now.
This content was originally published here.