About halfway through my rehab stay I absentmindedly grabbed a hot curling iron by the wrong end. The pain was instantaneous and all-encompassing, and was followed by a wave of self-hatred so fierce I leaned against the bathroom counter for support. You fuckup, I thought. You utter and complete piece of shit. You worthless loser. My hand throbbed and I just stood there looking at the reddening skin feeling like something had come loose inside of me. Some protective seal, ruptured. See what you get? See what you get?

I picked up my six-month chip recently. I have a little pile of them now: 24 hours, the Serenity Lane graduation coin, outpatient graduation, aluminum months differentiated by number and color. I don’t feel the way I used to, so raw and ashamed and loathsome. Every day I take another step, small movements but they add up.

Things are different, better, but the terrain is new and my confidence has been rebooted from scratch. My sponsor gave me a magnet that reads, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” which I kept for a few weeks before I decided that I didn’t like the idea of viewing my own comfort as a failure so I threw it away. Then I dug it back out of the trash because maybe the preachy magnet is right. Or maybe that’s just, like, the magnet’s opinion, man. I have no certainty about these things.

All I do know is that I have to keep walking towards forgiving and accepting myself. For all that I’ve done, for all that I am. I guess there’s no real finish line for this, just the hope that I’m going in the right direction.



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