Rainbows. Bunnies. Roses. Gumballs. I used to be a pro at hiding behind the rose-colored glasses. Anything other than puppy dogs, sunflowers, and ladybugs had me running for cover. In fact, one of the reasons I got high was to escape real life. I just couldn’t handle it.
Now, fluffy kittens and lollipops have been replaced by bills, rent, and clock-ins. It’s still not easy for me, but I know it’s necessary. I have had to work hard to become emotionally self-aware and to build up my self-worth.
Two eyes changed my life. Two bright, green eyes have been my guiding force for five years. Without the beautiful eyes of my daughter, it might have taken me much longer to find the motivation to get sober – and my story might have turned out differently. I want to be strong and confident because she will always be watching, and I know how influential the character of a parent can be.
I’m not saying my daughter keeps me clean. I wish that were possible, but it’s taken more than love for her to keep me sober. It’s taken loving myself, which I’ve found foreign and more difficult to learn and accept.
What I am saying is that I care now. Facing reality has made it possible for me to set goals. Learning to love and respect myself has made it possible to achieve them. My daughter’s upbringing is one of the goals I’m working on.
I want her to grow up knowing that life isn’t just cotton candy and baby elephants. Life can be painful and ugly, but it doesn’t have to be unmanageable. It’s taken almost three decades for me to start facing reality. It’s a daily struggle, but one that I’m committed to working on. I don’t know what the future holds – no one does – but now I’m positive that getting high doesn’t erase the problem.
I know now what I want, what I have to work on to get it, and what is important. Whatever happens in between – whether it’s raining jelly beans or tornadoes – if I stay sober and focused, the sun will eventually shine through again.