Mental Health

The terror behind the smile….

This picture my mom posted a few weeks ago. It was 2006, a day we set out to visit my Aunt, my mom’s sister, and my cousin.

We planned a great day. Leave early afternoon and spend the day downtown Toronto. Catching up after so many years of not seeing them.

I phoned my mom that morning. I couldn’t make the trip downtown. I just couldn’t go.

“What’s wrong?”, my mom asked. I said, “I just can’t go!” Crying and pleading with myself that she would just say okay we will make it another day.

Nope! Not my mom. She told me to take a shower, get pretty and come pick her up that we would have a great day.

I was pissed! I was angry! I was so hungover and upset because the night before was a disaster. A night of drinking turned to a night of rage and blackout. I begged myself to stop this madness. God, please help me.

I arrived at my moms, pretty as I could feel and full of smiles, saying I felt better. I was hurting and hiding inside. My nerves were on high, my eyes feeling like a sack of potatoes from crying, I was exhausted, and my anxiety was through the roof. How was I going to get through this day when I had no idea what I would go home too after this day was done. If I even had a home and boyfriend left to go home too.

My mom had no idea of the state of mind I had going on and what a mess I had turned into. Oblivious to the point I could not drink, that I am alcoholic. She never saw that side of me. She never saw the hurt, the past I carried and showed it’s face when I drank or the turmoil I was going through in my past marriage.

We pack our sorrows and troubles away and continue to wear the mask we always wear. The happy one, the fake happiness we display while dying inside to get us through and continue on with life.

I spent a long time wearing that mask. A long time hiding inside from the people that haven’t seen the side of rage and terror I acted out while in a blackout state of alcohol induced horror. Even I can not say what I did or said because I have no idea, I was blackout drunk. I have only heard a few things and I couldn’t stand to hear what I had been like. I wanted to comfort the hurting child in me, the wife who just wanted a functional happy family, the person who had been through some tough times, and hold her tight and let her know it will be okay. I couldn’t do that because I had so much hate for myself for acting this way. For being the person who was such a let down to others and herself.

Why is it so hard for us to give something up that hurts us so bad and keeps us stuck in the past? Addiction. What keeps us coming back to relive the pain and hurt we impose on ourselves and our families and most importantly, our children? Addiction.

We give what we think others need to see, to protect ourselves from the truth of addiction and for me, not wanting to speak of the past when sober or afraid to. We hide behind our smiles. We keep pretending that everything is okay. Until it isn’t.

When we come to the end of our journey with addiction from alcohol or drugs, or any sort of outlet we used to bury the truth and hurt, we may not feel like smiling or pretending everything is okay. We are sad, we are raw, and scared to deal with the emotions we kept hidden for so long. Once we come through on our path to healing, our smiles become true. True to ourselves and true to others. We shine a light that radiates through our soul.

It is a step that many of us struggle to take. Taking that first step is one of the scariest things I have done in my life but being able to smile with all the true happiness behind it is worth everything. Knowing that I am true to myself, my family and friends, and dealing with and letting go of the past without any mind altering substance brings the biggest smile of all!

This is Being Me Sober…

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