This is my journey however it does not mean others haven’t helped me face it with encouragement and support. I never would have made it this far without my “hidden gems” turning up where I least expected and wasn’t looking. I have not forgotten my other gems, always present and by my side in the thick of it-sometimes the best and sometimes the worst.
Kitkat- following in your footsteps you’ve helped me when I couldn’t help myself. Facing sobriety, teaching me to be kind to myself, inspiring me to write this stuff down, I would be lost without you. You have let me in on your journey, taught me how to listen, and how to slow my roll. You call out my bullshit and hold me accountable, which is exactly what I needed to start this new life. Don’t stop calling me out, I’ll need that forever. You taught me I am enough and I don’t have to be hilarious to be loved. You show me everyday the importance of self worth and the life I live is not a joke. My only wish is for you to see yourself how so many others do, especially me. You’re a fucking warrior. We put the “bats” in Batman & Robin and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Love you sister
LS- you are one fucking patient therapist. You helped me uncover things that were very obvious to people on the outside looking in, but never forced or rushed me to see the truth. Instead you had faith I would discover, admit and own all of my vices sooner or later and much, much later finally I did. The tears I thought wasted, you assure me are valid. Thank you for the tough love and pointing out the huge fork in the road that was jacking up my life. Your patience for my bullshit goes unmatched. I would not have 4.5 months without your ultimatum. Thank you for sending me my soul sister. We know it was a risk, I hope we have made you proud.
My IOP counselor. A year ago it was not exactly easy walking through your office door for my AODA assessment. I didn’t want to hear the truth. I just wanted a diagnosis, and you laughed when I asked what the verdict was. You shot it straight from day one. Six months later I finally checked out what you had to say and you definitely had a lot to say. You taught me about honesty starting with myself. You see through the bullshit, calling me out when needed, for that I’m forever grateful.
My IOP brothers- I love you Austin & Rob and lucky to call you my friends. And all the other friends I have made in IOP- Hailee, Jennifer. Not in a million years would we have all been friends outside of our group, I am so lucky our mistakes led us to helping each other inside our safe room and outside of its walls.
My DBT therapy group and counselor. Mindfulness taught me to look at myself instead placing blame on others. It taught me to forgive myself and forgive others. It has taught me to listen more and speak less. Most importantly it taught me to BE HERE NOW. I have carried on these skills to my students who all know when to pause and take deep breaths. I didn’t think when I started DBT I would stick with two full rounds, it shined a light on my addiction and gave me courage to consider what sobriety would look like in my life.
My yoga teacher- I have learned to find balance in places I didn’t know existed. You have taught me to be still with my practice. Every other place I’ve practiced I felt judged and dumb for not getting the poses just right. I’ve always felt safe and not judged when practicing with you especially when the emotions start to flow. You give me confidence I always needed.
My sponsor- Thank you for saying yes when I asked you to be my sponsor ..even if our AODA counselor didn’t give you a choice 😉 I instantly felt comfortable with you and trust you with things that are hard for me to even admit to myself. Slowly I am finding my spirituality without the pressure of having to know all of the answers to everything right now or ever.
PDB- Our journeys started 2 days apart, not the most ideal way to reconnect but I’m glad we did. Thanks for being my friend through this, giving and taking advice, and listening. You checked in with me at times I needed most. You get it when not many do and that means a lot.
EFW- Your wisdom and advice guided me through some dark shit. Your sick sense of humor effortlessly intertwined with mine. Our like minds and zero filter were an acquired taste and not for everyone. You made recovery fun. You showed me a sensitive side many men are too proud to reveal. I am still in shock. Can’t believe I’ll never give you the finger again as I stroll into a meeting fashionably late, KFG style. The banter we had is rare, I hope you are finally at peace. I miss you my friend- so fucking much.
All my recovery friends-‘once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right’
And to my not so ‘hidden gems’ that have been here all along, but gems you still are. You are the ones by my side for a long, long time. Sometimes I don’t know why but you all stayed. Thank you.
TMW- you’re my Gomi guru. I love you.
MKF-you put up with a lot of shit and always talked me through it, my original therapist since 2000, sister from another mister.
DM- Putting up w me since 1999. Despite double cheese’s to the head you never stopped being my mother hen which saved me more than once
MAC – your humor makes me smile when I want to hide and your support has been a pillar for me-thank you
BB- my dear zen friend… you’re one of the few who knew me before it all started and stood by me the past 25 years without an ounce of judgement, pure encouragement.
KK -since the 6th grade our talks and your advice always leave me calm and hopeful. You say it just right that it makes sense.
MP- Seeing a difference in me and reminding me when I forget.
KH- Thanks for believing in me cuz, I love you.
KB-Checking in not with nosiness, but encouragement and support. When you ask how many days it makes me smile not annoyed 😉
All the other girls in my life from childhood, grade school, high school, college, hockey family, and my adult life. I am lucky to have each of you.
And finally my family who doesn’t really know what to say with all of this but loves me just the same. Mom and Dad especially. The millions of fuck ups you forgave while believing in me my entire life. Happy, healthy and being a good person is all that mattered to you both, I would like to believe I am well on my way to all three.
I love you all