I stopped believing in miracles months ago.
I let go of hope, and I let go of faith. I stopped reaching for the sun, stopped lifting my head to the light, stopped breathing in the 5AM air. I was terrified of what came next so I stopped raising my glass to the possibilities and started drinking to feed the demons within me.
I gave up on beautiful metaphors and filled my journal with harsh lines. I was full of anger, and spite, and regret. I told myself: You have always been like this.
You see, when you spend so much time in the dark, when you let it take over, it becomes nearly impossible to remember the light. It’s not all bad, you tell yourself.
It hurts sometimes, in your chest, in your head…but most of the time it doesn’t feel like anything, just empty. Empty is familiar, empty is easy, empty is what you are used to. It’s not all bad.
And, sure, sometimes Fear steals the breath right out of your lungs, but it isn’t all bad. No, it isn’t all bad. Fear has become your friend. Fear is your security blanket, Fear holds your hand, and Fear is the only one who doesn’t leave. Fear never leaves.
You forget. You forget that there is another way to live: a lighter, more fulfilling, better way to live. You forget there’s a future that isn’t married to Fear. When you’re in the dark for a long time you can forget.
Sometimes you need a reminder: a spark, a jolt, a hint that the light isn’t unattainable. The light – the way out of the dark, out of the empty, out of the grip of Fear – is yours. You just have to take it.
It’s an uphill battle, this recovery business. Some days you will be convinced that you are going down and not up; I speak from experience when I say it’s not easy. It is not a movie montage. It is not falling asleep dead and waking up alive. There is no magic to it.
But there are miracles.
For me, it was a rainy day. It was the miracle of water falling from the sky to remind me that I’m not the only one who cries, to remind me that I’m never alone in what I’m feeling. It was the miracle of a full rainbow, the promise of tomorrow, a sign of a God, and hope, and light. The droplets gently falling on me as I lifted my face to the sky gave me a reason to dance. For the first time in months, I was happy to be alive.
I made the mistake a long time ago of believing that recovery would be full of magic. Now I know that there is no magic, only miracles. And with the miracles come all the other things you forgot about. You forgot about things like hope and what it feels like when inhaling and exhaling come easy and what it means to have faith in something – faith in yourself, faith in the people who love you, faith in some omnipotent being. But most of all, light.
When you believe in miracles you remember to reach for the light. And when you are in the light, no matter how hard things might get, you know you don’t have to be afraid of what comes next.