This is part three of a four-part series on life lessons. Feel free to catch up on parts one, two, and four. Otherwise, enjoy.
I don’t remember saying no because I don’t remember anything.
After he was done, I remember finally passing out. I always felt safe when I slept but not tonight.
I have a blurry memory of him getting back on top of me. As if he didn’t do enough.
But the damage was done. There was nothing I could do about it now. And that pissed me the fuck off.
So yeah, I remember waking up that next morning still pissed and in a lot of pain. I recall sneaking into the bathroom just before dawn. Apparently, this kid William, who bought drugs off Kane last night (the creep I was staying with) ended up passing out on the living room couch. No one bothered him. He had a good night sleep. He didn’t wake up aching down there. And that pissed me off even more. What a double standard. We were in the same place for basically the same reason. Drugs and shelter.
Because that kid Will was actually pretty nice. I find that out as I make my way to the bathroom. I needed to brush my teeth and stuff. Luckily, Kane was still asleep. I think Will heard me get up. Because he stops me in the hallway. He tells me, point blank to get the fuck out. But I don’t think he was being mean. I got the impression he was trying to warn me. He presses that my new friend is not a good guy. I tell him, “I kind of figured that. But I have nowhere else to go.”
And I didn’t. If you remember from a few posts back, I had just gotten evicted from the house I was renting. This is before I went to treatment. Before detox. And before my intervention. This was before anyone knew anything about my double life. But if you looked hard enough, I think you could have figured it out. I was a junkie. There was no way around it. No matter how hard I wanted not to be, I was. I barely had enough money to buy myself gas —let alone cover rent and utilities.
So yeah, I got kicked out.
I was too prideful, at the time to tell anyone I had nothing. I also felt like nothing but that’s irrelevant here. Eventually, I did put my tail between my legs. I did ask my sister if I could stay with her again. Because when I originally moved to Florida, I lived with her and her husband in their east Boca penthouse. But at that point, I was still a functioning addict. So I get a job as a medical recruiter, which was around the time I moved out. I thought I’d be making enough to keep everything up.
For about two weeks, I tried really hard to make it work. I tried not to go home again.
I knew if I did, eventually, my sister would figure shit out. Because I was no longer functioning. I was straight up addicted. So one couch led me to another and another. I didn’t actually want to be there. I didn’t want to be doing any of this. But clearly, I couldn’t afford anything else. Plus, up until this point, it wasn’t that bad. Because most of the places I was staying at were actual friends or a friend of a friend. But when I burnt all those bridges, well —that’s when shit really hit the fan.
Because now, things were worse —like way worse than before. Worse than you can imagine. And let me say, even then, it made me sad. But it also made me want to get high. Like I wanted to get high more than I was sad. Because getting high trumped everything. And you know what? That’s exactly what I did. That’s exactly what I kept doing. I guess we could call this rock bottom 1.5. And it’s hard to admit now. But the truth is, I had to be down for anything; otherwise, I’d literally be on the streets.
Or, worse —sick. Opioid withdrawal sick. The worst kind of sick.
So through a friend (and I use that term loosely) of a friend, I end up meeting this restaurant owner, Kane (who happened to have a prescription for my drug of choice) who said I could crash with him for a few. I thought he was doing me a favor. He wasn’t. I thought he was a nice guy. Nope. Wrong again. But he had pills. He had the pills my body needed. The drugs my mind craved. This shit is all consuming. And it nearly ruined me.
Luckily, I was only at Kane’s for a night or two —before I finally called my sister. Before I finally went back home. Because ultimately, when I did go home, I got that intervention I had been trying so hard to avoid. Except, it turned out to be exactly what I needed. Even though you couldn’t tell me that at the time. But remember, that didn’t happen yet. I was still stuck on stupid. I was looking at myself all wrong. Because we’re not as bad as the worst thing we’ve done. But I didn’t understand that. I couldn’t.
Because My Perspective & Attitude Were Way Off Back Then.
It was all about getting more drugs. And because I had to do bad things to get those drugs, my actions fed those feelings of inadequacy. Because eventually, I became the person I said I’d never be. I did things I said I’d never do. And when my buzz was about over, all of that shit always came flooding back. Hence why I always needed more. Because I kept doing the same awful things. Over and over. I knew it was wrong even then. So yeah, I felt unworthy. As if I was as awful as the awful shit I was doing.
But I wasn’t. Because we’re not. You already know that but clearly, I didn’t. Because it’s all about perspective. It really changes everything. Anyway, I’m still in the hallway. Will says he knows where the clean towels are. Because I needed to shower really bad, and I think he knew that. I also needed to find more drugs. It was morning after all, and my high had long since faded. I didn’t have a plan. But it seemed like this kid had done this before. Maybe he could help?
And unfortunately, this kid handing me a clean towel would only do so much.
I did appreciate it though. So he gives me that towel and this is where I learn that the creep’s house I was at, had a roommate —who was nice like Will. And apparently, Will crashed here a lot since the two of them (not the creep) were friends. Then he tells me to take my time in there. “Go shower. Enjoy. But make a pit stop in the back bedroom whenever you’re done.” He said he wasn’t like that. He said I deserved a pick me up. He even said he’d give me a shot or two for free. I thought that was really nice.
I thank him and then I lock the bathroom door. I remember looking at myself in the mirror —something I tried to avoid. I mean, the dark circles under my eyes took up my entire face. So I wash it in hopes I’d wash away some of this pain. It didn’t work. I stare some more. I hated my reflection. I couldn’t believe that me wanting to have fun turned into this. WTF. I mean, I came from a loving home. I had everything I wanted, yet, I never felt good enough —even back then. Even when I clearly should have.
I never understood that. But I never took the time to understand it either.
I’d get high instead. Eventually, before I even knew what I was doing, my body was physically addicted. And then the mental cravings. Ugh. They devoured me. That shit took on a life of its own. Because my whole world revolved around getting more pills. Escaping. Not thinking. Because if I did think about all the shit I had to do in order to get more pills, well —that was the worst thing imaginable (at least for me at the time). So I tried to never let that happen. I tried not to go there.
But that’s where that vicious cycle comes in. That’s where perspective takes hold. Like I said, I was looking at things all wrong. Because my outlook and attitude were based on how many pills I had. Because I’d be sick if I didn’t have enough. And I made it my life mission to never let that happen. Consequently, I became pretty desperate. Hence why I was where I was. I remember climbing up on the sink. I remember sitting on it starring even harder at the reflection that gazed back at me —almost like I couldn’t look away.
“Where are you, Macey?”
I was so fixated on everything I wasn’t. Everything I lacked. Everything I could have been. That I didn’t realize I was the one holding myself back. Shit could have changed at any given moment but I didn’t understand that. I couldn’t. Not yet anyway. Luckily, I took that kid’s advice. After my shower, I walk to that back bedroom. I knock on the door —soft enough so Kane wouldn’t hear, but loud enough so William would. He opens it and says to come in. He asks if I needed to talk. He said he was sorry.
He said he didn’t know what went down but he figured he knew enough. I said this isn’t me. “I’m not this girl.” But I was. Well, as it turns out, like me, he was also from New Jersey and addicted to opiates. So he gives me a clean needle filled heroin and injects it into my right arm. Damn. I could breathe. After that, he starts calling some of his friends. He said he’d try to find me a place to stay. I didn’t understand why he was being so nice. But I wasn’t about to argue. Then, I learn he lived with his parents.
They had recently relocated to South Florida from up north. So I couldn’t stay there.
One of his girlfriends like a girl he was friends with actually said I could crash with her. She had a one-bedroom condo near East Boca. I end up sleeping there for a few days before I ultimately go home. She helped me see the light. Thanks, girl. Timeline wise, when I did go home, that’s when everything came to a head. That’s when my sister’s friend found out I was on drugs. That’s when he tells her about it. And that’s how and why she arranged my intervention, which brought me to detox and rehab for the very first time.
Because today, I’m OK. I’m OK even though all that bad shit happened. I can’t erase any of it. I never could. No matter how high I got. No matter how far I tried to run. It’s never going away. Like I could still be sitting in all that misery. All that hurt. And I did. I sat in it. I sat it in for a while. But then I decided to get up. Because things are never so bad that they cannot be undone. So from the girl who dug herself out of multiple rock bottoms, here are five more life lessons I think you need to know.
11. Everything is Temporary —Even Our Pain. So Let’s Embrace Change with All That We Have.
I’ve always hated change. Maybe that’s why I stayed stuck for as long as I did. Like even though I was miserable, I kept doing the same thing over and over again. Don’t have a place to stay, oh I’ll stay with you because you have pills. And even though you’re a creeper, I’ll take your word for it that you’re not. Like no. But yes. That happened. And it kept happening. Because I’m sure you remember reading two other instances when I didn’t have a place to stay. And the same shit went down.
So yeah, everything is temporary because eventually, I did get out.
At the same time though, I want you to remember that you still have to do something about it. I mean, I wanted my life to get better but I wasn’t willing to put in the work. I wasn’t willing to change. To grow. Evolve. I couldn’t do any of that. I think deep down I wanted too but I couldn’t see two feet in front of me. I realize now that I should have welcomed it. I should have welcomed change. But I want you to learn from me.
Because there’s no point in having regrets. None of us can change the hurt we experienced. The pain from our past. From yesterday. But we can change how we’ll feel about it tomorrow. How we feel about it today. And don’t be afraid of it either. So if you’re sad right now. If everything sucks. If you’re in pain and you don’t see a way out, I promise you there is. Because nothing is permanent. So let’s welcome change with all that we have.
12. At The Same Time, Please Know: We Can’t Change Other People & We Can’t Control Every Situation. We Can, However, Change How We React and Control How We Choose to Deal With it All.
Some people are nicer than others. And some people just plain suck. That’s on them though. We can’t change how those people treat us or even what they say about us, but we can change how we chose to react. Because we can’t control anything but ourselves. It really is as simple as that. Because when you think about it, most of our anxiety doesn’t come from thinking about the future but rather from wanting to control it. Wanting to change the past. But we can’t do any of that.
So as paradoxical as this may sound, we must give up control to gain it.
13. Because If Someone is Constantly Putting You Down, It’s OK to Cut Them Out. Don’t Feel Bad About It Either. You Don’t Need That Shit.
You don’t need anyone who doesn’t need you. Who doesn’t respect you. Who makes you feel inferior. What we really need are more people who set our souls on fire. Because some people are like clouds. When they go away, it’s a brighter day. And I think we hold on to people and relationships because we want things to be like they were in the beginning. But that’s not real. People change. Or maybe, on the hand, it’s you that needs to change. Either way, the minute you realize shit isn’t going back to the way it was, is the moment you can move on.
Because that’s how you find freedom.
14. And for Goodness Sake, Stop Trying to Be Perfect.
Somehow I believed that I couldn’t be loved if I wasn’t perfect. So I found myself in that damn vicious cycle. I was aiming for perfection, failing, beating myself up for the failure and then goading myself on toward perfection again. Lather, rinse, repeat. I’m sure you know what I mean. The thing is, it’s OK to want to improve yourself. Because that’s a good thing. But there’s a huge difference between healthy striving and the devil of perfectionism.
To put it another way, healthy striving is about honoring your true self by endeavoring to achieve your full potential. Perfectionism is about dishonoring yourself by telling yourself that there are certain things you need to achieve before you’re enough. Spoiler alert, you already are. Ultimately though, it’s all about attitude.
15. Because Attitude and Perspective are Everything.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact our attitude has on just about everything. I’m learning that attitude, at least to me, is more important than facts. It’s more important than the past, our education level, how much money we make, our current circumstances, our failures, our successes, even what other people think or say or do. Because attitude trumps what we look like, how smart we are and what we’re good at.
Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.
The remarkable thing is —we get to choose our attitude. We pick our own perspective. Because we cannot change the past. We cannot change the fact that certain people act a certain way. We can’t control them either. And we definitely can’t change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. And shit isn’t going to transform overnight. Great things take time. Don’t rush it. It took me a few years to get over everything. To turn into the girl I am right now.
To be in the disposition I’m in today. But I’m here and it was worth the wait.
I’m convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. And so, it’s with you. Because sometimes —actually most of the time, changing our circumstances isn’t possible. Or, we simply can’t change them soon enough. We also can’t make someone else change against his or her will. And we certainly can’t erase the pain we feel. So what options do we have left? Well, that’s where attitude comes in. Because it’s a little thing that makes a really big difference.
If we change our perception about our awful circumstances, we’re changing how we view that problem, and ultimately that’s when we’re able to grow beyond the struggles we can’t control. Because our trials and tribulations are not going to go away. We can overcome them, of course, but there will be more. That’s just how life goes. But if we can start changing our actions (start small), we can change our attitude. Simply begin acting differently. As a result, slowly, you’ll begin to think differently and that’s how you get better.
That’s how you liberate yourself from all the other shit.
That main photo is supposed to signify that. It’s supposed to show you that not only am I happy as a stand-alone adult-female, I’m also a partner in a happy healthy committed relationship. I was finally able to heal. I was able to move past my trauma because I changed my thoughts and actions. And you know what? Not changing them probably prohibited me from having a healthy relationship. Because I didn’t for the longest time. I didn’t think I deserved it. But I did. And so do you.
Even though I can’t erase all those bad things I did —all those bad things I went through, I can change my perspective. I can change my attitude. So that’s exactly what I did. That’s exactly what I want you to do. Because I’m not perfect. And no offense, neither are you. But that’s the point. Because attitude and perspective are key if you too want to be happy. I mean, nothing changed in my life—at least the facts didn’t. But I did.
Because when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
This is part three of a four-part series on life lessons. Feel free to catch up on parts one, two, and four. Otherwise, enjoy.
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