Because sometimes flaws should be celebrated…

Stones,

I am proud to announce that as of January 17th, 2020, I have been clean from narcotics for 4 years. I got my 4-year chip. It’s a grudge match every day to make the decision to stay clean. That’s why addicts are always addicts. Some are active and others are in recovery.

I began abusing narcotics when I was 12 years old. I have a lot of chronic pain conditions and in the early 2000s, doctors weren’t as diligent about giving Oxycodone and Percocets to a minor as they are now.

Anyone who says that addiction is a “choice” has no understanding of human nature.

I do not say this as an insult. I do not say this to attack anyone. I say this as pure fact. No one wakes up thinking, “You know what, life is going way too easy. Let me try [insert drug of choice here].” That’s not how it works. People use drugs to numb pain, plain and simple. There was a lot going on in my life at that time. A lot of abuse, sexual assault, bullying, and then, of course, the normal troubles that come with being a preteen. I could not cope. I began self-harming and knew how to hide it. Before the obvious is suggested, therapy wasn’t an option at the time.

When going through all that physical and emotional and mental pain, it became impossible to differentiate between was physical and what wasn’t. Eventually, it all just melted together and the emotional pain became physical. Simply put, I was always in a lot of pain. Eventually, after seeing so many doctors and being a bit on the advanced side, I learned how to finesse doctors out of the good stuff. Dilaudid was absolutely amazing and made everything go away and being numb was the ultimate goal. Luckily, I’m allergic to Morphine or I’d probably be addicted to Heroine.

Things got a bit trickier when the side effects of the pain medications led to the prescription of Benzodiazepines. So now I’m cross buzzed reaching dangerous levels of numbness and an ever-building tolerance is developing faster than I can manipulate a doctor out of my favorite candy. The pressure began to build when I began my mental health journey and got more prescriptions for more complex benzos, the dosage changing every two weeks. Who was I to refuse?

In 2014, I admitted to myself that I had a problem and tried to get help. As a struggling addict, I knew to ask for help. However, as a struggling addict, I was not prepared to turn down 120, 1-milligram tablets of Ativan prescribed to me by a negligent, arrogant new psychiatrist. Then I overdosed on Ativan and tried to stay away. August 24, 2014, I tried to kill myself and I thought things would get better because I thought that was my rock bottom. And then life got harder.

So I’d continue this pattern of starting and stopping until 2016. I was with this man that I loved, and I thought loved me. But he was abusive, mentally ill, and an addict. He didn’t want to get better. I wanted to get better I also wanted to be with him and unfortunately, those two things could never be mutually exclusive. Because I was born with crippling soul-crushing anxiety, I always did what would be considered “downers”. I, to this day, can’t comprehend people who do amphetamines. Who wants to be that high?

My husband at the time loved what would be considered “uppers”. Crack, coke, bath salts, things of that nature. He and another friend of mine would get together and toss back ten Ritalin pills each and then snort five more. (Snorting: another thing I don’t comprehend). As the peer pressure mounted, I gave and tried. They did ten so I figure I could do it too. Why not, right? This was the absolute best and worse decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I could not sleep for three full days. My heart was humming like a motor, on steroids. I was sweating profusely, rocking back in forth praying for sleep, wondering why the carpet was moving like an ocean. I ended up being hospitalized for amphetamine-induced psychosis. It was bad, but I’ve been clean ever since. Not saying I haven’t been tempted, but I never want to feel like that ever again. Being numb works for a while, but no one can thrive numbly. They can’t even really survive. They just exist in a familiar nothingness.

My call to action

Celebrate the small wins. The small feats that occur every day. We are not perfect. Perfection does not exist. Let us strive for progress, the more attainable and rewarding. Every day won’t be perfect, but the possibility of progress should make it worth it. That’s all for now.

Exist and Bleed,

S. Hollisway

Because sometimes we need inspiration…

Stones,

Happy 2020 and fake new year. The world was created. Humans inhabited the Earth. Someone invents time. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day. Cool. 12 months, four different seasons. 12 months divided by 4 seasons would equal 3 months per season. Why in the world would you start a new year in the middle of a season? Insert April 1st being Aprils Fools Day because April 1st is really the beginning of the new year. But I digress, let’s stay on topic.

Welcome to the New Year. It is supposed to be the time of the “New Year, New Me” cliche. I was never immune to it, I fell into that trap every year too. This year, however, I can finally admit to myself that I have no idea who I am. Not a single clue. My entire life I have had my insides brutalized, damaged, and spilled all over the place. So I’ve collected up what I could along with God knows what else along the way, filled myself up, and stitched myself close. Welp, as the years’ have gone by the stitches have begun to wear, and my three-year-old just pulled the string holding me together. So figuratively, my insides have spilled out all over the place. I’m trying to find me in all of this mess and quite frankly, I’ve never felt more lost, vulnerable, and exposed.

Life is complicated. Imagine trying to find yourself when you have no actual time to find yourself. Living is like that job where the only training is on the job, and you have a new trainer every day sometimes really good and sometimes horrible. Living doesn’t pay enough, and the worst part is that it definitely constitutes as face to face customer service. Forced face to face customer service at that. I stand corrected, the worst part is that NO ONE IS DOING THE JOB THEY SIGNED UP FOR.

However in the interest of my word for the decade which happens to be “THRIVE”, I refuse to exist in another decade where:

  1. I am still allowing things to happen to me; and
  2. I have no clue who I am

No more! I refuse to just exist. I am going to THRIVE.

I have so many goals I want to reach. I am 25 years and besides having a kid which let’s be honest isn’t that miraculous, I have nothing to show for being on Earth this long.

Before everyone sharpens their pitchforks, let me clarify. Physically having a child, for most women, is not a huge feat. Being a mother, however, is a different story.

I’d like to leave a lasting impression. Not so much to live in fame or infamy, just impressionable. I’d like a positive lasting impression on everyone I met, but there is no pleasing everyone and good girls don’t make history. I also have the same cape of most social justice warriors so I’m bound to piss at least half the world off. It’s funny how being 25 can make you feel like you’re halfway there and nowhere at the same time. It’s not quite 30 but it’s definitely not 21. But the expectations are there. Expectations from when you were 13 to when you hit the dirty 40, pressure from both sides hitting you right now to achieve the way society wants you to. The madness. When will it all end?

As far as figuring out who I am, I’d love for you all to enjoy the spectacle. There are so many levels to who I am, but for right now I’d love to share this journey with you all of finding out who I am as a writer. I’ve wanted to do so much with my voice and really I’ve just felt like I’ve been squandering my gift. So, I want to throw caution to the wind, bare my soul to the world, and see what I can do if I act as if I cannot fail.

My call to action: Share with me what you are going to do this year as if you could not fail.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small, but maybe by sharing it we can work toward our goals together. Really corny, played out and cliche I know, but I work best when I’m working on behalf of someone else, or I’m accountable to someone. So let’s hold each other’s hands as we take a leap of faith.

Until next Sunday.

Exist and Bleed,

S.Hollisway