It’s 5 o’clock in the morning’ and I still haven't fallen asleep. My alarm hasn’t gone off and I’m dreading the start of the next day. I stare at the ceiling for a minute and get out of bed, knowing what’s to come, half aware of what it means for my life. I go to the bathroom and grab some pills. Taking a couple and looking for the feeling that tells me I won’t be getting sick. I puke as the opiates hit my bloodstream. I don’t get high anymore I just take it to feel normal and not get sick. I take a swallow out of the the bottle I hide in my cabinet then brush my teeth really well. Most people would be laid out by this, but it’s what I need to function, without it I can’t move or face the day, trying to find the correct equilibrium, the correct concoction to allow me to breathe.
I turn on the shower, avoiding my gaze in the mirror. I don’t want to see me. I can’t see those eyes looking back at me, peering into my broken soul, judging me for the things I have to do. The water hits me and I begin to wake up. The racing thoughts of my mind beaten back by the alcohol and drugs coursing through my veins attempt to break through to the surface. “You are useless. You are better than this. You should just end it. No one loves you.” I fight to push those thought down to where they can’t reach me, to a place below my consciousness. This hopelessness that I feel that saturates my soul I will never be free of it. That is until I got sober that was the tonic that helped me overcome the hopelessness that plagued me.
This is what my mornings were like before I got sober. I wouldn’t wake up most of the time I couldn’t sleep and if I did it wasn’t really sleeping but passing out. I would come to with an overwhelming fear and anxiety that would lead me directly to the bottle and my pills. I didn’t have a choice. I had to. If I didn’t wake up and use then I would experience withdrawals and I wouldn’t be able to function. Functioning was the name of the game and that whole morning routine was just so I could go and face the day. I needed to stop the thoughts that would bounce around my skull inflicting pain and the only way I knew how to do that was through the very thing that was causing their onset in the first place.
The problem with all of this is that it wasn’t sustainable. Eventually no amount of drugs or alcohol could blot out my pain and left with no reprieve I had a decision to make. I could either kill myself, which at times seemed like a viable option, or I could seek help and attempt to get sober again. Luckily, I chose the latter, and since I made this decision my mornings have changed completely.
I no longer wake up with overwhelming dread for the day. I no longer come too with a pounding headache and fear that I will potentially hurt the people I love with my actions. I no longer instantly reach for the bottle because my life is too painful for me to handle. My mornings are a lot more mundane, in a positive way, and exponentially more peaceful.
Most morning I wake up when my alarm goes off. I wake up happy and ready to face a new day. This is mind boggling looking at the desperation I used to feel before when I would wake up. Not before because I am about to experience withdrawals or after because I drank too much the night before. I do not wake up with a sick feeling in my stomach or an overwhelming guilt for how I am going to act that day. I simply get up, and though sometimes my mind will still be loud, it is nothing like it was when I was in active addiction.
When I get out of bed I grab some coffee and I sit down for some quiet time in prayer. I usually read a morning meditation I have a couple that I read and that nurture my soul. They give me inspiration and thoughts to focus on during the day. I also take some time to just sit quietly and meditate. To just listen as I have found that this is when I find the most peace. Sometimes I hear from God but most times it is a time to center myself.
I have some set prayers that are personal to me that I usually repeat in the morning, but it is mostly just a time when I talk to God about what the day will bring. I ask for strength and wisdom to continue to do what I need to do in order to maintain my sobriety and then I am ready to face the day.
I try not to do anything before I pray. Sometimes I feel a draw to check social media, but to me starting my day off in prayer, before I let the world in, is a great way to get centered and helps me carry an attitude of peace into the day.
After I have completed my morning routine I get ready. I don’t have to avoid my mirror because I no longer fear my own gaze, I can look directly into it and like the person that I see staring back at me. I never thought that this was going to be possible. I hated myself for so many years that to now be in a position where I actually like myself still sometimes seems strange.
My life has been altered so dramatically by getting sober that writing out what my mornings used to be like seems almost foreign to me, as if it is from someone else’s life. I remember so clearly feeling those ways, but I can no longer really relate to them. I hope never to return to the desperation of those days. When just to get going in the morning I’d have to use to function is a foreign concept. My new life where I wake up, pray, and go to face the day is so much easier and so I will continue to do what I need to in order to maintain this.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
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