I’ve Lived Long Enough to Survive
This week I turned 41. It’s a day I thought I’d never see.
I was sure I would be dead by 25 the way I was living. Homeless at 21, due to the choices I was making, I didn’t feel I had or was even worthy of any other options.
Alcohol was the love of my life, and I didn’t think I’d ever escape the abusive relationship it had become.
I almost welcomed the idea that I wouldn’t be around very long because life was so painful. Every day seemed an uphill battle I wasn’t ready or qualified to climb.
My daughter was only four, and I honestly believed my disappearance would help her. I knew I wasn’t a good mother. I had no idea how to be what she needed.
Thankfully, I lived long enough to realize I didn’t have to live that way. I got the opportunity to take action and make my way up that hill and battle many of the demons that brought me to that place.
I lived long enough to survive horrible relationships, jobs, and friendships that didn’t serve me.
I lived long enough to understand there was always purpose to the pain.
I lived long enough to find the most amazing man, who IS the love of my life, marry him, and create two more incredible lives together.
I’ve lived long enough to head back to school on my own terms to study social work and better equip myself to help others on THIER terms. I’ve founded the non-profit organization and missioned it to provide the support that I DESPERATELY needed at age 22 when I realized it was time to find recovery.
I lived long enough to celebrate my beautiful daughter’s 23rd birthday last month. I got to answer her call from a bar in Boston because she didn’t feel safe driving with the people she was with. I got to be there for that moment, and she knew I would be. I lived long enough to become the mother she needed and still needs.
In May, I will celebrate 19 years of sobriety. I can barely believe it.
I’m so grateful for all of the lessons, experiences, and knowledge I’ve gained – about myself and other people – in all of my recovery processes…because I lived long enough.
I thank God I gave myself a chance, accepted help (even on days I didn’t feel worthy of it), and got to build the life I always wanted. Today I get to decide where I’m going.
This year has not been easy as Depression hasn’t much minded how much I’d like just be happy and enjoy all of this life I have today. I lived long enough to get through it.
I have lived long enough to conclude my 22-year search for my biological parents and find out WHO I am and WHERE I came from. I learned of the FIVE half siblings I have and got to connect with the two people who created me and gave me this life to live.
I’ve lived long enough to make a million mistakes. To say and do things I haven’t always been proud of, and make them right.
I have lived long enough to live.
And today, more than ever, I am so grateful.
If you are struggling today, that’s okay. As long as you live long enough, things WILL get better.
If I can do it, you can too. XO
This post originally appeared on Facebook.
Julie Maida lives in Massachusetts with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and fiercely determined to advocate for, and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.