I started this blog on Day 50.
Today is April 19th, 2017. Today marks Day 365 clean and sober. One year. All in a row, all nights, holidays, and weekends included.
I first got sober on June 1st, 2014. I started in recovery at 22 years old with the ends of my hair brushing my waist, a different name, different pronouns, and a head fogged up from four years of substance abuse and denial.
When I got sober on June 1st, 2014, I had very few consequences. I had just graduated from college. My parchment proof of an exorbitant financial investment was en route to my parents’ house. I felt different, like I didn’t fit in with those I met who had been arrested, charged with DUIs, lost their kids, dropped out of school. Those situations were not my reality.
But I was focusing on the outside circumstances of these people, not on their inside feelings.
Had I paid mind to the way these people felt, regardless of what they lost, it might have been different. I convinced myself that my alcoholism and addiction was simply a college phase and relapsed on August 1, 2015.
It only took 8 months to collect many of the consequences I heard other people share about.
During that 8 months my mind kept repeating, “If you kill yourself you don’t have to tell anyone you’re transgender.”
On the night of November 30th, 2015, I drank a fifth and tried to swallow two bottles of antidepressants. EMTs whisked me off to an overnight stay in the hospital and I was transferred to the psych ward the following morning. 72-hour hold.
I continued to drink.
On the night of April 15th, 2016, I drank a fifth and sliced a serrated knife through the soft skin of my forearm. EMTs whisked me off to an overnight stay in the hospital but I talked myself out of the psych ward.
I didn’t truly want to die but I wanted the pain to end. And I knew what I had to do.
I knew life would change when I got sober three days later. It changed the first time I got sober, however minimally. I didn’t get completely honest and it brought me back to the bottle and the bong. I knew if I wanted it to be different this time I had to be honest. Entirely honest.
Today I am 25 years old, I have short hair, my name is legally Elliott, and I’m still getting used to the fact that men pee all over the toilet seats in the bathroom.
This past 365 days has been a journey, a transformation of both mind and body.
Of learning who I am.
Of discovering my place in this world.
Of realizing I have a story that can help people.
I do my best to show up on time, try to be the places I say I will be, and reach my hand out when someone needs help. I’ve developed emotionally, mentally, and physically during this past year. I’ve hurdled the logs and boulders in my path and tripped over twigs. I’m still learning every day. Today I’m grateful for the car with a cracked radiator, the 30-minute commute, the dogs that still poop on my floor, and doing the things I don’t always want to do.
Thank you all for walking beside me. I’m grateful for all of you, too.