In many past lives I’ve been a warrior, facing down enemies who had my painful death as their primary objective. The excitement, vigor, fear and hopelessness became my common companions.
But the life of a warrior could not adequately prepare me for the task of facing myself, my broken parts, my wounded inner child, my hypervigilant inner judge/superego, and all the trauma over these lifetimes that was never healed. As my naturopath put it: I came loaded in this lifetime, the task before me to relinquish my sword and heal myself.
In my ego wounded view, I’ve often saw myself as a coward. Now at age 36, I have a much different perspective. For most of my life, even while trying to run from myself in my active addiction, I have been trying to uncover myself, and heal myself. I started therapy at age 20, having received psychiatric medicine treatment for five years before after a mental breakdown.
For most of my life I’ve sought the answer to the question: how can I end my suffering? It turns out to really find those deeper answers, I would have to dig deep and know exactly why I suffered, much of that not coming to the surface until many years later after I would start therapy. However it would take quitting alcohol for the first time in 2009 to really even begin to understand.
But I fell complacent, with thinking Reiki and therapy were enough; there were layers of trauma and painful secrets I hid from myself.
In 2015, two days before I would have six years sober I relapsed, wanting to experiment with whether or not I really could drink myself to death, after spending time in the psych ward three months prior for planning that scenario. In December 2014 I was fired from my job at The Denver Post, and was not truly dealing with that trauma and grief. As much as I had faced and healed on my spiritual journey, I lost, or packed away, my courage to truly face my self destructiveness and its root.
But life has a way of pushing you on the path of courage to inner engineer, which would come in the extreme of homelessness in 2016 after relapsing on alcohol and pot again, and not being able to fully meet my financial needs, in another attempt to avoid myself.
This avoidance overtime became a callus of self-hatred and misdirected forms of rage and fear. Regardless of my addiction, I believe this unraveling would have led to a sharp decrease in my mental health, but the alcohol accelerated it, for the first time in my life, hit a true rock bottom when I moved to Portland and was homeless here as well.
I had momentum from having done work on myself before in Denver even if I slipped away from it and was able to see clearly, especially not having the financial means to obtain alcohol regularly, that to really heal and get out of homelessness I would need to quit alcohol and drugs.
On March 2, 2017, I had a psychosis breakdown that led me to demand that the police come to the hotel room where I had been staying temporarily with the help of a local mental health organization, and being taken in handcuffs to Providence St. Vincent hospital where I spent about 5 days in the psych ward. I still count that day as my sobriety birthday. In the hotel room, I was trying to kill myself by flooding the floor with water and stripping one of the electrical units to electrocute myself which wouldn’t have worked anyways, but I was at that point feeling hopeless, even though I was getting help that could have propelled me toward a better situation — but the inner war was too violent and loud. I had cut myself and put blood over the walls and window, crying for help as much to the outside world as to my higher self and my higher power, which I felt completely disconnected from at that point.
That first day in the hospital I had made an attempt to try to flood the shower, in a grandiose attempt to fill up the bathroom with water and drown myself. I was then moved to the unit for more severe cases in which I was told that there would be no charges filed against me for what happened at the hotel, though I was convinced in ways that were completely unsubstantiated that I was a criminal, the only crime I had committed being against my own well being and self esteem.
That propelled me on a path of wanting to find deeper self-awareness just out of a necessity to heal, though it came in starts and stops of acting out, and often reaching out in unhelpful and unhealthy ways to get help, and trying to understand the resources around me that would put me on the right path. The time since then has been one of necessity to finding out who I am something that I couldn’t have avoided at all by fighting for my sobriety and recovery at all costs.
In that way I’m grateful for having gone homeless and hitting true rock bottom — it ultimately helped me get in touch with the majesty and power inside of me, the power to heal, grow and support others in their healing and growth.
And most importantly, I now have the vantage point of seeing what an emotional warrior I have been, allowing inner and outer catalysts transform me into a more refined, stable and healthy version of myself.
The battle has been worth the scars.