Things don't always go according to plan. I realized this, once again, today.
I found an open house about a mile from where I currently live for a modestly priced home. If I had money saved for a down payment, I would be able to afford this home. I was curious what I would be able to purchase on my income, so I checked out the house and accidentally fell in love with it.
Then I got to asking myself how I came to be at this point in my life - in my mid-to-late 20s with no money in savings, lots of college debt, only just beginning my career, and living in my parent's house. How is it that I've come so far, but still can only dream about living on my own? Everyone's story is different. While my life is largely an open book, this is one part I have generally kept to myself. Despite what many people think, it's not all that easy to say, "Hi. My name is C, and I'm an alcoholic."
I had a generally normal college life, the first go-around. I had a crush on a different boy on campus on every week, I spent my weekends traveling the Midwest for concerts, and I loved staying up late to just be with my friends. I turned 21 just before my senior year, and while I had tried alcohol on a couple occasions my freshman year, I chose to abstain until I was legally able to partake in the spirits.
Throughout my senior year I didn't drink all that often because I had quite a few responsibilities and a loaded semester in school. But those times I did drink, things got crazy. After going in and out of the hospital more than a few times and half-hearted threats at taking my own life, I was given an ultimatum just a couple weeks after I graduated college: Go to rehab and get help or find another place to live. Seeing as I had no job, I went to rehab.
Thus began the longest summer of my life. I was in an outpatient treatment facility, where I spent 7 hours a day in therapy and group sessions. Just like in the movies, we all sat in a circle and said the same phrase: Hi my name is ________ and I'm an alcoholic (or addict)." And, yes, we even said, "Hi _________" and clapped when they finished sharing. It took a lot to keep me from giggling at the cliche-ness of it all. But I also realized alcohol wasn't the problem - it was a symptom of a bigger issue.
Depression. I've made a post about it before, so I won't go into too much detail here. Depression is very real among diabetics. No, I can't contribute all my absurd drinking and depression issues to living with D, but I would consider it a contributing factor.
I laugh, rather sarcastically, when I think about the fact I spent a summer in rehab. I attended AA meetings (though that was fairly short lived). Especially when I think about my ridiculous reputation as a goody-two-shoes in high school (which was entirely true - every word of it). No one would ever guess sweet little C spent her days with meth heads and crack addicts, trying to overcome addiction and suicidal thoughts. I still find it rather comical, in a darkly humorous sort of way.
Though I'm definitely not proud of my past, I've finally come to a point in my life where I feel like I've moved past it. I've reached the turn in the road where those mistakes are no longer part of my reality but part of my past. I've moved far enough along in the journey to feel healed. While in rehab, I realized how much I had to offer the diabetes community. I knew my experiences were in no way unique, but maybe by sharing my story I could prevent others from making my same mistakes. Maybe I could catch them before they fell down the rabbit hole as far as I did. I also realized that even if I don't catch them early, I can be there to hold their hand on their way back up. While still in treatment, I enrolled in college, for a second time - this time to earn my degree in dietetics. A month after graduating from rehab, I walked into my first nutrition class.
People aren't always what they seem. Everyone has a story to tell. My name is C, and I'm an alcoholic.
***If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and/or addiction, here are resources you can use to help find your way.
"When journeying down the long dark road, we must continue on and never give up faith we will one day reach our destination - no matter how ugly that road appears before the naked eye." ~Reed Murphy