Now in recovery, today’s guest blogger writes from the perspective of a person who used substances as a young person and today is the parent of three beautiful children. There is something here for everyone no matter where you are on the addiction journey. She writes about her experiences and perspectives in a blog called Discovering Beautiful Thank you, Brittany for sharing your thoughts with us!
As a young girl I knew something wasn’t right in our home.
I may not have been able to put a name to the drugs that I saw being passed around and used, and I couldn’t have put names to the unfamiliar faces that I saw, but I would have been able to articulate how I felt about all of it.
I had a long list of unanswered questions and was a child with a slew of unmet needs.
I yearned for consistency and begged a God I didn’t even believe in to rescue me and drop me anywhere else in the universe.
So when that didn’t happen, I made my own way through and swore off that lifestyle before I finished kindergarten. I couldn’t read fluently, but I knew what I didn’t want to be when I grew up.
Sixteen years later, I became exactly what I had grown to despise.
All of the self-taught coping skills in the world couldn’t have saved me from myself.
I manifested all of the qualities that I hated and I became exactly what I didn’t want to be.
I was a twenty-two year old, high school drop-out, and single mom-
and I was addicted to drugs.
It wasn’t enough that every day I had to look into the mirror at an image that I had trouble recognizing, I would also throw myself into shame oblivion daily.
Every thought that I had about myself was toxic.
I regularly reminded myself about exactly how far down I had gone, and how closely my lifestyle resembled that of my own parents. I had believed that I could never hate anyone quite as much as my parents, right up to the point that I began to hate myself.
I was in disbelief and I believed that my life was no longer in my hands.
I believed that I had done too much damage to ever make my way back to anything socially acceptable or normal.
Whatever that was; anyway, I knew I couldn’t ever be that.
In my heart I felt like I had already damaged my son, who was 4, far beyond repair.
He would grow to hate me just as much as I loathed my own parents.
I would never be remembered by him for anything other than my poor, selfish, destructive choices. I felt that there was no coming back and it was simply best to give up.
But I didn’t.
And it wasn’t.
I took a chance on myself when someone offered to help me.
After years of substance abuse and addiction, severe clinical depression, isolation, self-harm, and abusive relationships, and a load of legal trouble, I chose to gamble on my own capabilities.
I knew that I didn’t have much to offer, certainly nothing positive, no strength left, and I hardly knew what truth was at that time.
But I tried anyway.
I tried because my son still somehow looked expectantly at me like I was perfect.
I tried because deep down, I knew I was finished. I was tired of fighting.
It turns out; I was the perfect mom for my son. I am the perfect mom for him.
It took me a significant amount of time to quit with the self-torture. I tortured myself with reminders of how horrible a mother I was for a long time in early sobriety.
I battled with immense guilt and fear that I had damaged him. I had hurt him and I refused to forgive myself.
As I sit here typing this I want you to know that he forgave me, and I was able to forgive myself.
He has survived to the ripe old age of 14 years old and he loves me.
He has somehow become this well-adjusted, creative, funny, smart, goal-oriented, God-loving young person full of energy and positivity.
I have given myself permission to accept forgiveness. Its okay to move on and I believe that.
I have set my focus on building new memories with him with a goal of overwriting all of the times I screwed up, all that I forgot to do, and all that I simply cannot remember with new and fresh things to look back on.
In regard to my parents, well, I forgive them too.
After all, a different perspective is just another wonderful gift of sobriety.
My parents are humans who made mistakes.
I am not that little girl anymore, filled with hatred, bitterness, rage, resentment, or regret.
I may not have a relationship with either one of them but what I do have is a vast amount of valuable wisdom that came from all of this mess.
For me, God has shown me how powerful love truly is.
I have learned to love myself.
Through that healing, I learned to express love to other people and I have even allowed myself to be loved.
Healing has taken place and I have been working every day for almost ten years of sobriety now to shed that old sense of self, and to embrace this new, whole, healthy person that I have found through my choice to live a sober life.
I just want you to know that it does get better. You CAN do it.
About Brittany Shelton:
She is a wife, and mother to three young boys.
Although she is certified to be a drug and alcohol counselor, she is a stay at home mom who spends her spare time crafting things she finds on Pinterest, blogging things on her blog, Discovering Beautiful, and writing things as she works on her first book for publication.
Get in touch with her here: