How to Get Through Your Darkest Days: Lessons from Addiction and Loss

It was a spin cycle that likely would have killed me had life not intervened in manner ins which at the time felt devastating; in a period of two weeks my “normal” façade collapsed and, with it, the majority of pillars in my life. Like a home of cards toppling, I lost my job, vehicle, relationship, and was kicked out from my home.

It felt like a cliché country tune where the singer loses everything, other than in those songs that person is generally likeable and innocent– however in my story, I felt like the bad guy.

I left into my own home, went back to school to finish a long-sought college degree, and had a waitressing task that I enjoyed. Then, just after I accomplished one year sober, I got a call from my sibling that would alter everything.

My stomach dropped as I gripped the phone, unexpectedly feeling about 5 years of ages. I d discover later on it was a cardiovascular disease.

That was how my early days sober felt.

As I enjoyed my whole life crumble around me, I felt no choice other than to return house and look for the shelter of the only person who had always been there for me– my mother.

In the ins 2015 of my twenties, my life totally broke down.

I desired so much to stop but felt trapped on a terrible ride: I d wake hating myself for what I d done the day in the past, and with deep pity I d vow earnestly to give up– then afternoon would come and with it, withdrawal signs. As my stomach would turn and my head would spin, I d lose the resolve to stop and begin searching for my next fix. With that repair would come a few hours of relief, followed by another cycle of self-loathing, a vow to quit, and more failure.

I understood I d crossed an unnoticeable line when I began to feel ill without a “dosage” of medication. The physical pain they d been recommended for had long went away, however they d produced a requirement that just grew with more usage. Soon I became ill if I didnt take any tablets, which is when I started going to any lengths to get more.

In the recovery program I discovered soon after, there was an oft duplicated stating on every wall: “its always darkest before the dawn.” If taken literally, it makes you consider how dark the night sky is before dawn breaks … how heavy, looming, and consuming. Prior to the light returns, it can feel like the darkness will never end.

” Melissa, you need to come home,” he said, his voice close tears. “Its mama.”


As I cobbled together a few weeks and then a couple of months, I began to feel the faintest bit of trust in myself. Through abstinence and treatment, mindfulness and a sober neighborhood, the despondence that had seemed so intense started to crack open and let in some light.

I felt the darkness descend once again.

As the years injury to a close, I stumbled upon the final lethal component in my harmful way of life: opiates. A few little pills prescribed for pain opened a part of my brain I didnt understand existed: a calm, confident, and numb variation of myself that seemed way more manageable than the over-thinking mind-chatter I was utilized to.

The mama who had raised me with morals like responsibility, honesty, and compassion, although I hadnt been living them for a while. The mommy who had actually struggled raising two kids alone, gotten us off food stamps by going to nursing school, and who watched helplessly as I descended into the same cycle of dependency that had taken the life of my father.

At first the pills resembled a casual indulgence– I d pop a few prior to a stressful audition or very first date, the exact same method other individuals might have a few drinks prior to going out on the town. But my casual relationship to opiates was short-lived: quickly the pills were no longer reserved for nerve-wracking auditions or uncomfortable dates, and instead essential for any kind of trip or interaction.

“You are never stronger … than when you arrive at the opposite of misery.” ~ Zadie Smith

In the days that followed her death I seemed like a dependent kid that was unable to care for myself. I dragged myself through brushing my teeth, dressing, and arranging her funeral; it felt like my heart had stopped along with hers.

I d relocated to Hollywood to end up being a star, however after a couple of years in Tinsel Town things werent panning out the way I hoped. My debilitating stress and anxiety kept me from going on auditions, extreme insecurity caused binge eating nearly every night, and a failure to really be myself equated to a flock of fair-weather buddies.

She told me I might remain if I was sober; I swore to attempt, though I d stopped thinking my own pledges long in the past.

The very same thought kept circling around the drain of my head– how can I live the rest of my life without my mom?

But when my mom died, I didnt understand that losing her would again scatter me into a thousand unrecognizable pieces– pieces I kept trying to fit back together however werent ever going to be the same, since I wasnt.

Enable feelings to come and trust that they will go.

In healing from dependency, I began to believe of my sobriety date as a second birthday– the start of a real brand-new life. Though the way my former life had actually burned to the ground hurt, I welcomed the opportunity for a new start.

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I couldnt imagine not having her at my graduation, wedding event, or when I became a moms and dad. Her disappearance from my future brought up a dread much even worse than that of the previous year– but as I began to settle into my sorrow, I understood I had a course through this moment, if I wanted to take it.

Sharing the pain I felt after my mothers death resembled standing naked in the middle of the street– I wasnt used to weeping in front of people and didnt believe they d like me when they discovered I wasnt constantly “fun and simple going.” However it was exactly this type of vulnerability that permitted true good friends to emerge, old connections to deepen, and the support I longed for to appear.

Much of what I d been ranging from as an addict was the discomfort of my sensations. I didnt want to feel rejection, so I contorted myself to be liked; I didnt wish to feel sadness, so I busied myself with the next activity. In recovery I learned that we can run from feelings all we desire, but eventually they catch up to us in some form. Rather of running I d found out to permit; rather of busying myself I d been taught to turn towards discomfort and trust that it would not last forever.

Something I now keep in mind is that its constantly darkest before the dawn– I understand I do not have to always see the light …

I didnt have to know what having a wedding event without my mother would resemble– I just required to eat breakfast. I didnt need to envision my graduation– I just needed to get myself through another class. As I pieced my future together one minute at a time, I found that I might deal with the emptiness in bite size pieces. I didnt have to figure it all out– I just needed to keep going.

I just have to simply going.

Once I permitted my life, relationships, and priorities to be changed by my grief, I found a self that was more powerful, more resistant, and in some way more tender. I never would have picked the form of this lesson, but I came through these experiences a more authentic version of myself … an overarching objective of my life.

The tools I d created in sobriety would prove to be helpful in the dark days that followed. I share them below as an offering for anybody who takes a trip through a dark night of the soul: simple steps to remember when you cant see a course forward.

In sobriety, you learn that imagining your entire life without another beverage or drug can be so daunting that you just offer up and get loaded. So rather of borrowing future concern, you learn to remain in the week, the day, and the minute.

Take things one day at a time.

Its now been seven years considering that my mothers death, and Ive been sober for 8. As my journey continues to unfold, I never ever lose sight of how broken I when was and how dark things appeared. I likewise understand that the battles of life arent over; theyre part of being human and living a complete life.

It wasnt pretty and it felt terrible, but when I let the grief shake through me. I found that there would always be an end … that at the bottom of my spiral a thread of mercy would appear, and I would be able to go on.

Permit yourself to be forever changed.

I didnt want to feel rejection, so I contorted myself to be liked; I didnt desire to feel unhappiness, so I busied myself with the next activity. From a young age, I felt much more comfy in a mask of smiles and jokes than sharing how I was really doing at any given moment.

I understood I d crossed an unnoticeable line when I began to feel ill without a “dose” of medication. I wanted so much to stop however felt caught on an awful ride: I d wake hating myself for what I d done the day previously, and with deep shame I d vow earnestly to stop– then afternoon would come and with it, withdrawal signs. Prior to the light returns, it can feel like the darkness will never ever end.

From a young age, I felt a lot more comfortable in a mask of smiles and jokes than sharing how I was in fact doing at any given moment. Getting sober had actually assisted me shed layers of the mask, I still found myself attempting to likeable, approved-of, and “good.” As sorrow zapped my energy and capability to make myself tasty, when individuals asked how I was doing I began to be truthful.