Hi ladies and gentlemen of the fellowship, whichever one you may choose. My name is Peyton. I am an alcoholic, an addict, a poet, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and survivor. I am writing this with a wrapped hand, arm, and a sling from a recent relapse I had last week. Let me paint a picture of the journey of experiences, both good and bad, that got me to this sober day today.
Let me just lay it out there, at twenty eight years old, I have chronic pancreatitis, epilepsy (up in there air if the alcohol was involved), suffered a stroke, cardiac arrest, have been into the ICU five times, and the hospital over a hundred.
This is not a war story, nor is it a pity party, but the damage done to this body that should be at the peak of it’s health is just an example of the impact I will forever carry on my entire life
I could go on for about an entire day about my past family history and my trauma. My sexual, mental, physical, and emotional abuse from so many important figures in my life. The question always remains the same, what came first? The chicken or the egg? In my life, I always was known to be an intelligent female, but I always had the reputation of being able to party like the rest of them. Skipping forward ten years, I find myself without the drug and alcohol for less than 6 hours. I collapsed on the floor at a whopping 85 pounds, muscles tensed, shaking violently, incapable of breathing, and my tongue was so swollen I could not speak. Those five days in the hospital I suffered such severe delirium tremors that I am uncertain to this day what actually happened. Imagine acid times a hundred. Full on strapped down to a bed.
This hospital stint was the first of what I was unknowingly entering into a part of my life where I ignored all the health officials, my own mental and physical health, and into a dark abyss that continued to get as black as the night sky- infinite.
Of course, I tried moving back home to Pittsburgh, PA. The good old geography change. Except that change included moving into a sublease with rent of $1800 I could not afford, an empty studio, no food in the fridge, and a blow up mattress. What there was an abundance of was self loathing, an abusive boyfriend, and give or take 50 empty half gallon bottles of plastic vodka. The routine began as such- wake up, drink a bottle, not consume any water or food, run out, and walk across seizing to the hospital conveniently down the street. This lasted until my boyfriend abandoned me, I passed out malnourished and dying in my trash filled “apartment” I was evicted from, and alone. I was lucky enough for a friend to find me to enter me into my first detox program.
This detox program was the first of what I was unknowingly entering into a part of my life where I understood the severity of the problem, but I simply did not care. I was given the choice of live in the winter streets of Pittsburgh with $0.00, or go to a hole in the wall, might I add notoriously disgusting, therapeutic community rehab. 90 days. I relapsed on the cab ride home.
From then on out, I jumped from house to house, couch to couch, job to job. Surviving every which way I can. Having a few days pulled together of not drinking, or maybe just a few shots to ensure I did not throw up. I was so sickly that I entered the hospital for my heart, my pancreas, or detox almost every week. My detox count may be up to thirty, and that is NOT something to be proud of.
Eventually, I met a man in detox together (DO NOT RECOMMEND), and we relapsed together. We did, however, get clean together. I finally entered a rehab with my hands up. With no shelter, one set of clothing and shoes, and once again $0.00. I loved it. I made friends, I felt like I actually had a personality again. I was relearning myself. After over a decade of masking trauma and blacking out past events, the pieces of myself that I refused allow people to see, began to come to light. I embraced the character defects. I listened and went to a three quarter house. I spoke at a charity event for mothers and fathers who lost their children to addiction. I had almost eight months clean. I was CURED.
So I thought.
See, this is something I need to stress to the new-comers so intensely. You are never cured. This is a daily, exhausting, rewarding way of life. The only other option is the clique- jails, institutions, or death. And in my experience, that is LITERALLY what a drug or a bottle in the hands of an addict will do.
My boyfriend, more so me, suffered chronic relapses during my clean time. I had a sponsor, we had our own place, I did steps, I got the shot, I took care of him. But in that immense energy that I poured into his own recovery, I lost sight of my own.
Beginning in September, I became as frequently relapsing. When I drink, it is a half gallon until I run out until the liquor store closes. Then 9 am, the same thing. Until I am too sick to get anymore, then I call an ambulance and go to detox for five days. I am not kidding when I tell you that this happened so many times that the police and paramedics know us by name and told us they are tired of coming to this address.
Upon again getting alcohol ketoacidosis, I have FIVE doctors. I will not make it past thirty years of age if I keep drinking. I would be lucky to make it to March. That is how quickly the pink cloud or your recovery can change. One decision, one impulsive move, one “I can have just one,” or “I am cured,” can lead you nowhere but deeper in the bottom. And the bottom has a bottom.
Currently, I just published a poetry book with my writings of my addiction. I help out fellow addicts, a main pillar of this program, even if I am not healed myself, I am in intensive outpatient, I have a sponsor, I do step work. But guess what? My boyfriend who I SWORE was the problem is in long term treatment, and last week I drank.
You have to come to realize that it is yourself you have to live with, You choose your own destiny. You have to have self acceptance. I have now accepted that every relapse a lesson is learned. I look to the positive. I am so brutally honest, almost to a fault. I will not stop fighting. I will not be a statistic. Because as addicts, we are the most resilient, intelligent, capable human beings on the face of this Earth. So, if you feel like giving up- it is NEVER too late. I have made 1,000,000 mistakes and counting. It is how you handle them. The pillars of happiness aer so important. If anyone ever needs to talk or reach me I will include my handles at the bottom of this page. ONE MINUTE AT A TIME. WE are in this together.
Feel free to reach out and get in touch with Payton below:
@pmack011 - INSTA
Pey Arlene- FB