I’ll never forget one of the many moments that caused me to question my mental health.
I had lost interest in everything. If it didn’t involve drinking, meth, cocaine and opiates, I wasn’t interested. I didn’t want to clean house, wash clothes, cook food, shower, raise my kids – none of that. I couldn’t be trusted to follow through with anything I said I would do. I went to work every day and worked hard, but at this point, it truly was a means to keep me in my addictions. I only had friendships with people who I could take from or who could get something for me.
One day I made a conscious decision to do laundry. I got some energy from somewhere. I gathered my clothes and went to the laundry room, but I couldn’t get the door open all the way. I finally pushed my way in. There was a pile of Budweiser 18-pack beer boxes in the room. More like a mountain. Oh the irony. It would be these boxes that eventually became my wake-up call.
I don’t even remember putting a single box in the room. I stood there staring at them trying to recall what happened.
At this time in my life, I drank daily. I don’t know how it happened – it was a slow fade. I had always drank to excess ever since I started when I was 11 years old, but this everyday thing was something I vowed I would never do. I methodically stopped at the store every day and purchase an 18 pack on my way home from work. I would drink three beers before I pulled into my driveway, and I only lived six miles from my job. When I got home, I would empty the box of beer into the refrigerator and apparently, I would throw the empty box into the laundry room. The ritual was so automatic I don’t even recall each step. I would drink that whole box of beer before I went to bed. Every. Single. Day.
I lived with three other ladies at this time because I had destroyed my relationship with my child’s father. By this time, I was having a sexual relationship with one of these women. It was sort of an arrangement I made in my mind. I needed something, she wanted something, I gave it to her, she gave me what I needed. I was a sick individual.
My roommates had stopped clearing the trash out of the laundry room. They all apparently got together and agreed that I needed to see the reality of my problem. So, there I stood staring at two weeks of my beer boxes. I started breaking them down to throw them away and I began counting.
There were 17 boxes. I added up the amount of money I had spent in two weeks on beer – it was $252.96. This was a reality check for me.
By the end of the next week, I was in detox after a four-day binge on alcohol, meth, cocaine and opiates.
I’m grateful for my roommates who finally decided that they were sick of me – no matter what their reasons were. Without this reality check, I may have sunk deeper into my depression and never have come out. Are you loving people enough to confront these issues?
Speaking the truth in love
There so many behaviors that are socially rewarded or even encouraged that are actually self-harming acts. Examples include overworking to achieve success at the expense of your family, giving of yourself without boundaries, spending too much money to keep up with everyone else, “do you boo” attitude when it comes to drinking, sex, and relationships.
We all seek to be “found”, to know “why we are here”, to have purpose and direction and value. We all really want to belong to something. We desire to be somebody. For those of us who are wounded soldiers on the battlefield of life, we are often seeking relief from the pain in unhealthy ways. I see this playing out in the identity crisis that our culture is condoning. Girls are boys, boys are girls, humans aren’t persons.
We’ve imposed distinctions that Christ removed. Our identity – who we are – is determined by our Creator. To believe that a couple of rocks slammed together and intelligently designed the human race is intellectually dishonest. We are divinely designed.
Coming up empty
I wanted to be different. I didn’t want to be identified by what my father did, what was done to me by my foster parents, by any of the trauma that had been inflicted on me. The crisis I faced was trying to decide what I was going to bank my future on. It meant I had to determine who was allowed to deposit into my reserve and was it building me up or causing a deficit. At the rate I was going, I was going to be bankrupt.
During this period of time, when I was drinking a box of beer every night, I was also in a same sex relationship. I was drawing from every well and they all came up dry.
There is hope – reach out for help
I don’t know you, and I don’t know your circumstances or situation, but God does. I’m not trying to be cynical. I’m doing my best to show love toward you. If you are stuck in a cycle or a crisis of conscience and when all of the noise dies you feel like you want to die or disappear or dissolve into thin air, reach out for help. Don’t go one more day feeling hopeless. You don’t have to live that way!
Here are a few ways you can get help:
- You can text the Crisis Text Line 24 hours a day and reach a mental health professional who will connect you with help in your local community. Text HOME to 741741
- For help with substance abuse, dependence or addiction, you can start with a free online support group through WeConnect Health Management regardless of your faith affiliation, pathway of recovery or recovery status.
- Smart Recovery Meetings mutual support meetings are free and open to anyone
seeking science-based, self-empowered addiction recovery.
- If you prefer in-person help (which is ideal), you can find a recovery meeting in your local community. Click on your state here to go to the meeting finder.
- If you would like to contact me for individualized assistance, you can reach me at email@example.com.