Almost exactly a year ago today, I woke up, pulled the covers over my head to block out the sun and mumbled to my husband, "I can't move." He quietly reminded me that I needed to be at school for a Mother's Day Breakfast. The kids had been making cards and gifts for weeks. They wanted me there. But I couldn't get up. I was too hung-over from the night before.
The rest of that day was filled with thick shame. It wasn't the first time I had made choices that landed me in a sea of headache, nausea and deep regret, but it was the first time that my drinking rendered me incapable of showing up for my kids. It was the first time I became deeply aware that my drinking was hurting my kids. It would take me another 7 months to build up enough strength to find the help I needed to quit.
Today, I woke up with a clear head and a very grateful heart. Over four months of sobriety with me, I went to my kids' school for Mother's Day breakfast. I pushed down the regrets that still surface about that horrible day last year and I embraced this new me. I allowed tears to roll down my cheeks as I listened to the chorus sing, "True Colors." The lyrics cutting straight to my heart..."The darkness inside you can make you feel so small...Don't be afraid to let your true colors show." And after that song leveled me, I went to my kids' classrooms and breathed in all of the things they had spent weeks making for me. I took all of their kind words and their beautiful art and wrapped it around me like a second chance blanket. Because I have to believe that I deserve this second chance. That we all deserve another chance in the places where we've really messed up. Even more than that, I know that my true colors are showing and they love me for that.
I've struggled with if, when, how to "come out" about being sober. Up to now, it's been a quiet conversation with family and a few friends. Society tells us so many stories about people who struggle with addictions and most of those stories are not ones I would choose to star in. But I believe that the stories can change and the only way I know to spark that change is to be brave enough to start a new conversation. It is time to shine a light into the dark spaces of depression, anxiety and addiction. The three are inextricably linked for so many...they are for me. In order to create meaningful connections with people who struggle with depression and anxiety, I have to be honest and clear about how those things show up in my life. So today I choose to let my true colors show.