5 Years

5 years

5 Years ago today I was broken. I was sitting down for an admissions interview at a rehab facility. I was wearing the same long-sleeved zip-up I am now, except that today I wear it because I’m cold. I was crying. There were so many tears that I had poured back inside by rerouting them with whatever substances I could find. I was alone. I was scared. I was TERRIFIED. I didn’t want to stop but I knew I had to. I had already lost so much and I knew that there was only more to lose if I continued using. I was numb and overwhelmed with emotion at the same time. I hadn’t felt anything in so long that even the smallest emotion was unbearable.

I wanted to hide, but I walked through.

4 Years ago today I was ten days free from a 9-month incarceration. I was back in the world. I was at a meeting. I moved in with my sister and felt lost in that world. I couldn’t return to a career in pharmacy so I wasn’t sure what the next step would be. Should I take whatever job I can get? Should I go back to school for psychology? What do I even want to do??

I wanted to hide, but I walked through.

3 Years ago today I was 6 months into my first job since getting out of jail. I had moved in with Neil in VA. I had given up smoking. I was scared to meet new people in a new place so my meeting attendance suffered and my recovery took a back seat. I began to exercise compulsively. I started to restrict what I ate and became preoccupied with external results. I was numbing my emotions with food and exercise. Even though they weren’t the drugs and alcohol I had used previously, I was using outside things to control and ignore the way I felt. I finally talked about what was going on and in doing so reignited my recovery.

I wanted to hide, but I walked through.

2 Years ago today I was now a married woman. I had changed jobs and learned to not let others take advantage of me. I had paid off all the credit cards that went to collections when I went to jail. Neil and I had moved into our first condo. I had started to learn what I did and did not like and was able to ask for a bright green wall in our house (my favorite!). Although I had a job I enjoyed, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. I wanted something more for myself, but I didn’t know what that was. Life was good, but I was scared to really explore pursuits that may have taken me out of my comfort zone.

I wanted to hide, but I walked through.

1 Year ago today I finally started to feel like my own person. I was 7 months into writing Erin’s Inside Job and I still loved it every day. I began to speak at events on drug abuse and shared my story and my hope with other families. I wanted to break the stigma. I wanted to bring more attention to the disease of addiction and how it does not discriminate. A few months before, Neil and I had hit a really rough patch in our relationship that I wasn’t sure we could overcome. I spoke about strength and hope to hundreds and questioned them in my personal life.

I wanted to hide, but I walked through.

Today I can slowly see where my life is heading. I know what makes me happy and I know what gifts I have that I can use to help others. The future is never clear, but I can feel it taking shape to be one of the best things that I will ever do. I took risks to pursue my dreams and they are slowly but surely starting to pay off.  On the flip side, I am putting in a lot of hard work into things that I still have to resolve. I am working on practicing vulnerability. I am working on myself and my marriage and I know it is going to get worse before it gets better. I still get sacred about life. And you know what? I still want to hide, but I’m still going to walk through.

5 Years — May 20th, 2010

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42 comments on “5 Years

  1. It’s wonderful to reflect on everything. You’re really amazing and strong and your honesty and willingness to share your story is truly empowering (to you and to others). Life is unpredictable and we never know where one day will end up taking us the next. One day at a time trying to be our best is all we truly ever can do. I have no doubt the next five years will hold amazing things for you as well! 😉
    Erin recently posted…5 Items For An Awesome MondayMy Profile

  2. I am so glad you shared. I know in today’s society we hate to look or appear weak. I struggled for many years with an eating disorder and in January I will be 2 years ED free. I am so glad that you didn’t let your addictive personality lead you to an eating disorder. I for a short time was drinking mass amounts of alcohol and I am so glad I caught it before it got out of control and I became and alcoholic. We need more people that are in recovery to share their story so that those struggling know there is HOPE!

    1. I can’t believe it’s already been almost 2 years for you! Congrats! I feel like just yesterday when we first talked about it. Keep spreading that hope!

  3. you are an incredible woman!!! you are so much more than your past and you are proof that everyone has the power to change.. if they will just walk through 🙂 so happy for your life today and excited for your future. thank you for sharing and inspiring!
    danielle recently posted…IMy Profile

  4. Happy 5, Erin! Man, what a story you have. You are so inspiring and strong, but strong enough to get help. Strong enough to be vulnerable and honest and open. That takes an inner kind of herculean strength that not many people possess. You are one of the Greats.
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: A Nice Piece of GoatMy Profile

  5. Hi Erin! I’m Johanna and I am an addict. My sobriety date is May 6, 1986. I love reading your blog. It reminds me that even after this many years I still need recovery. It’s a daily thing for me.

    1. Congrats Johanna! That’s so much time! I like to write about these things because I know that once I stop making recovery important in my life I will slip back and lose everything I have gained. Thanks for reading!

  6. New reader. Just want to say that I admire you for sharing your journey and appreciate how difficult sharing such personal stories can be. You are doing an amazing service to the world by being open and honest and awesome 🙂

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