Day 255. It’s been awhile since I have done any writing here. For those who have waited with bated breath, I believe this post is worth your long wait.
If you’ve been following me for a while, have read my story here or heard me on podcasts I’ve been interviewed on you know about the thing. The thing that I did to a friend while in a complete blackout that ended my friendship with her, cost me a whole circle of acquaintances and annihilated my reputation.
Allow me to share what a complete HELL I was in for months after the thing. I started drinking everyday and alone (cause of that whole ‘no friends’ thing). I was blacking out daily, contemplating suicide and gained about 30 pounds. At this time I was so disgusted with myself that I could not even look in the mirror. My anxiety and depression were at an all time high and I cried constantly because I hated myself so much for what I did.
I looked for forgiveness from my friend for months. I sent I’m sorry texts and emails. I left I’m sorry voice mails and handwritten letters. I sent flowers. I tried approaching her in person. I showed up at her house. None of it helped. Nothing I could do or say was going to change her mind about me and what happened. My once closest friend was now a stranger because of MY actions. She wasn’t going to forgive me, and so I couldn’t forgive myself.
I got sober and there was a shift. It happened in September 2018 at SheRecovers LA. On gala night, we had the honor of listening to Amy Dresner talk about her story. If you don’t know her and her work, allow me to tell you that it is jaw-dropping shit. Girlfriend gave herself epilepsy by shooting up too much cocaine. She pulled a knife on her ex husband. She’s been to jail and spent time in psych wards. Amy stood up in front of 500 women that night and shared it ALL. She told us that when you own your ‘shit’ no one can hold it against you. That’s when it hit me- it was time for a shift around the thing.
After returning from LA, I was interviewed on The Bubble Hour. And through tears I shared my thing with ‘the world’. After I hung up with host Jean and digested it, I felt free. There it was for everyone to look at. It wasn’t a secret that people needed to whisper about (and, TRUST ME, they were whispering). I was no longer going to carry that with me. If other people wanted to, than that was on them. I HAD to move on with my life.
And so, I slowly started walking with my head held a little higher. With time, I was able to make eye contact with my reflection. I clawed my way out of the black hole that I created and started celebrating myself. I started helping other women in recovery. I got to know and love myself for the first time in what felt like forever.
Imagine my surprise when my phone rang last week (March 2019) and my ex friend’s name popped up on the screen. (We are talking about someone who has not so much as looked in my direction for one full year.) I immediately texted to say that I assumed it was an accident or one of her children, but also said that if she ever wanted to open the lines of communication ,I was here.
She responded that it was indeed her and that, yes, she meant to call. With shaky hands and voice, I called her back. Emotions ran high as she told me that she forgives me for the thing. That she needs to move on with her life and needed to tell me this in order to do so.
I was so relieved, but NOT for me. For her. The thing is, I had forgiven myself months ago. I no longer waited and prayed for her forgiveness because I gave that to myself a long time ago. But, I was so happy for her. So elated that she may be able to do the same now.
Forgiveness does NOT mean that you are okay with something. It does not say ‘no big deal’ or ‘don’t worry about it’. Not. At. All. It means you no longer carry anger with you wherever you go. Neither she or I are okay with what happened, but I am so relieved that we can both move on.
If you are reading this and are holding onto anger towards someone, I invite you to forgive. If you are reading this and haven’t been forgiven for something you’ve done, I invite you to grant yourself forgiveness.