In 1975, at the age of 22, I was admitted to a hospital in New Hampshire for alcohol and substance abuse. I stayed at this hospital for a period of three months and then was transferred to a halfway house for alcoholic women, where I lived for the next two years. I have not had a drink or illicit drug since that time. Although I was far from knowing it at the time, I was so very fortunate. In 1975, the median age of women entering this house was 45 years old. I was the youngest person to ever cross the threshold, validating for me one more time how unique I was. Poor me. This feeling of uniqueness had permeated my entire life, I always felt different, like everyone else knew something I did not know, and they would not tell me. It was my theme song.
For many years I attended a 12-step program regularly. On the outside things looked better. I eventually got an apartment, I went to nursing school and graduated with my RN degree, I went to graduate school and got my MBA, I got married and had two children. So much more went down, but, let’s make a long story short… Twenty years had passed and I continued to live on an emotional roller coaster, suffering with paralyzing bouts of darkness and depression. Thoughts of uniqueness, and an unrelenting case of nobody understands plagued me, coupled with short spurts of high energy and inflated self-esteem. My unpredictability and bouts of what appeared to be unstable behavior became more frequent. I began to be let go from my employment situations…Eventually I was admitted to a locked psychiatric facility, which began a new chapter of my life, with a new label. Recovered alcoholic, now bipolar. This chapter, bipolar, recovered alcoholic brought with it a moment of, I finally have the answer to my long suffering, however, it was short lived. Another label that just could not fix me. I felt I had tried it all and nothing got better, nothing worked for me, I was so misunderstood, so unique. I became obsessed with thoughts of suicide, it seemed like the only way out.
These truths about my life, I have hidden from most. However, lately I am motivated to just put it out there, reveal my real self, with the thought that it may help someone else. My suicidal thoughts, brought me once again to a locked psychiatric unit. It was in a time of darkness that I was introduced to “A Course in Miracles”, a book of self-study for a spiritual thought system. The words of this book began for me a transformation of love, forgiveness and healing of thought and perception.
I carried this book with me for several years, reading it over and over. The basic message was no different from what I had been told many times, in many ways, by many people but was unable to hear. The message that when the thoughts in your head come from a place of love and forgiveness, healing will begin, and the road to inner peace will grow.
Each human on this earth will travel their own unique journey to love. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes not at all…. inner peace will grow for anyone who chooses. When you are ready to change the lens, the vehicle will be right in front of you. It is there for anyone who wants it. The road to inner peace begins with a small opening, a spark of light in the dark, one moment when you see things in a different light. A present moment awareness that can lift you, for one moment from the unconscious to the conscious. The beginnning of a spiritual awakening.
The title of this blog is inspired by my long-deceased father, a man whose demons kept him from choosing the light during his time on earth. I joined a 12- step program when I was 22 years old, my father told me then; “be careful Kathleen, all the sick people are not in pajamas”. Words to live by,