I’m an alcoholic. Sounds fun right? Not always.
I’m not even a fun or exciting alcoholic. It’s not like the movies, guys. Sure, it started out parties, adventures, amusement the morning after a night of reckless abandon. “Omg I can’t believe I did that! Ha ha ha so funny! I’m so wild!”
But then it changes. Then it’s like, dry rot-mouth, puking bile, can’t remember your last meal, “where’s my phone?”, scraping up change for shitty beer, pangs of regret (right in the gut) that leave you breathless as you try to remember the day, night, week, month, before.
Sometimes the depression is so great, you can’t even imagine breathing enough to make your heart beat and your chest go up and down. Breathing is hard. Living is hard.
As an alcoholic, these small things were my victories for the day.
If I could take enough breathes to make it to another sunrise, I might be ok.
And then, come the people– the well meaners. Meaning wellers? The hot steppers. Jk.
As an alcoholic you have two types of people. The type that want to help you. The type that want to watch you. Guess which ones I pushed away and which ones I hung onto?
In addiction, it’s hard to know your worth. Even if I wasn’t drinking, my mind was still in addiction-mode. My behaviors, my self-worth, my attitude was all affected by the knowledge that I could reach out and drink a liquid that would make me feel very different.
This eventually all led me to jail, as you may or may not know. I served 3 months and 17 days in a county jail in Santee, CA for my third DUI.
I had the option at that point to be ashamed of what I’d done to my life. I had the option to hide who I am and what I struggle with. I had the option to ignore Gods hand in my life and shove my history under the rug and cross my arms and turn my back and forget this all happened. I had the option to get out and drink and be proud and not learn. But I didn’t. I decided to over share and give in to my biggest fear: being considered a loser by a lot of strangers in society.
Losers don’t change though. Losers don’t learn.
The women in jail who eventually all asked what my story was all said the same thing, “You don’t belong here” and they all made me feel right at home, anyway.
The women I met in jail don’t belong in jail, either. They were well educated, book smart, street smart, caring, selfless, “strong as hell”, funny, successful, AMAZING, beautiful women. I think the entire time I was in jail, I cried more for those women than I ever have for strangers before in my life.
The morning I was released, I cried for them too. The ones that wouldn’t be home to see their families. The ones that lost family while they’ve been incarcerated. The ones that missed out on birthdays. The ones that missed out on 5 years of their lives for mistakes made in desperation. Mistakes made because they didn’t know their own self worth.
Some had addictions to drugs and alcohol, some to money, some to power, some to their own pride. But in jail, everyone is the same and you don’t get to have any of those things. You really have to look at yourself, dry hair with no make up, and find your strength.
Sometimes you’re having a good day and you can provide strength to others. Sometimes you give strength unknowingly by sharing your story. Sometimes you give strength by just listening. In jail, you all are one entity so any weakness has to be strengthened and it’s not by beating it into you, it’s by building you up.
The day before I left, the girls surprised me with a birthday cake made out of Honey Buns, French vanilla cappuccino coffee mix, and melted dark chocolate bars. While I was meandering the halls on my way back to my cube (cells are so outdated) the girls hid in my cube and popped out and sang me happy birthday. After I recovered from my brief heart attack, I was embraced in hug after hug and genuine words of encouragement because they know if I don’t make it out there on the “outs” I’ll end up back in there, locked up where I don’t “belong.” I kindly reminded them they don’t belong in there either. Tears, tears, tears.
I almost wish I would’ve just got the stupid beat out of me in jail like my ex said I would (thanks, dude), but instead I just got loved to life and better yet, I got to love some people to health.
That being said, I’ve entered my third decade of life with opened eyes and a deep and faithful love to God for showing me what I needed to see. The blinders are off and my pride is tossed, and I’m ready to shed my past to bring on the future. To take some risks for my benefit and not for my demise. To use my life to glorify God and not squander my life by living it for myself.
I share my life so that maybe someone out there can relate and learn from it or at least not feel like such a loser. Don’t be a loser. Try.
This will be the end of deep posts. I felt I just owed my readers some insight now that I’m out of what’s going on. Be prepared for more stories of success and failure as I venture into doing amazing new things which will inevitably cause me much embarrassment and discomfort but that I feel called to do regardless.
Please pray for strength for Nickie, Rachael, Lisa, Ernestina, Nikki, Amy, Karla, Veronica, Cara, Blanca, Lori, Ahn, Michelle, Jessica, “Chata”, Araceli, Gena, Kendra, Cristina, Minerva, Deborah, Vanessa, Anya, Edith, Rosa, Jennifer, Yanet, Franco, the rest of the ladies at 1B–the best women and more importantly, friends and coworkers that taught me my worth. May their release dates come quickly and God be with them during the holidays when they can’t be with their families.
And for all of the ladies at Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility— may you find your worth in Salvation and freedom given to you by God that no one can ever take away from you.
That’ll be it for the jail posts, folks. Thanks for bearing with me.