I’m not a bad person for cutting out a friend who chose addiction

I know I’m not a bad friend.

Still sometimes my heart and my mind collide.

It had been months of no contact when my daughter’s picture appeared on my ex best friend’s profile picture (read to the friend that isn’t a friend anymore).

My jaw hit the ground.

I had boldly and clearly expressed my wishes in this relationship… what did she want from me?!

A tone that sounds so cold but saying goodbye to that friendship was never easy for me either.

I made one of the bravest protests in my life by saying I wasn’t going to do this one way friendship anymore.

Then I just shut off the feelings completely so that I could learn to live with that choice.

It’s just as hard as choosing to leave the one who keeps cheating on you- not because you want to but because you need to.

I want the friendship back so badly but she isn’t in a stage where she’s going to chose to grow up any time soon.

We all have our limits.

This isn’t my rollercoaster.

But that wasn’t always the case.

You see, part of the freaking problem is that same annoying voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering, “you gave up on your friend… those are not your values.”

This voice sits and interrogates me until I’m blue in the face in conflict with myself.

A voice that’s so beyond false I can’t even believe it yet the power it still holds over me is so much more than I like to admit- even to myself.

This process has been constant battles of reminding myself of who I really am and the lengths I went to trying to save the friendship.

I wanted you back so badly and you still picked the drugs- again and again.

It was TWO YEARS of desperately searching for a way to fix this addiction.

I never compromised my values by refusing to enable her.

She mainly kept her distance and disappeared for long periods of time, leaving my mind to fester.

Boy did I make myself crazy in those two years…

I spent more time trying to fix her self-inflicted situation than I gave to my own family.

As a wife and mom to two young children, I feel like that in itself is why I did all that I possibly could have until it just wasn’t enough.

Instead of comforting my husband after a long day at work, I would obsessively google her name to make sure she hadn’t died yet.

While she was shooting up to numb the chaos she’d created, I was living all of it in full strength and it was freaking terrifying.

I did it because that is the type of friend that I am.

After two years of begging, pleading, making myself crazy, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I never wanted to lose her as a friend, but our lives have taken two very different paths.

How many friends from grade school have you grown apart from?

More than you can count probably.

As we grow and change the people that mesh well in our lives change also.

It is completely appropriate to grow apart from people- that’s life.

Putting needles in my arm and nodding out in a motel isn’t really my thing and I think that it’s fair for me to acknowledge that.

I would have helped her get clean but she didn’t want the help to do it properly because she doesn’t want to be clean.

Being fed by a household that enables her every need.

Call me insensitive but as a former addict myself, addiction is NOT a disease that makes you incapable of asking for help.

You have to want help and be ready to put in some insanely hard work… you have to OWN everything and everyone you ever wronged while using.

This requires a great deal of not so comfortable self reflecting.

There is nothing easy about looking in the mirror and doing some serious, heavy self reflection.

It’s not an easy process, and yes I would know because I’VE BEEN THERE.

I came to that dead end where I’d had enough of what I’d made of myself and so I changed.

Until an addict makes it to that road, they will keep hiding behind their “disease”- another reason “they’ve been done wrong in this world”.

This ball is in her court and her court only.

I’m genuinely sad that our story had to end this way.

When she stood next to me as a bridesmaid at my wedding, I never could have imagined this is where we’d be in four years.

I hate that I just wasn’t enough to make you want to get clean.

It kills me that I couldn’t be that friend who helped you get through this dark time.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you get back to the sweet person I first became friends with.

I genuinely pray that someday this will all make sense to you.

Saying goodbye was insanely hard for me but it was a choice that I stand behind.

No matter how twisted the story gets through the telephone line, I know who I am.

I’m not the person who just dropped their friend when they started using heroin.

I am a die hard believer in a person who is hiding behind drugs and I refuse to put myself through their negligent choices anymore.

I am a girl who loves her friends SO much that I will NOT bite my lip and settle for anything less than what’s best for them.

I will fight for what’s best for her, with or without her, until the day I die. ❣️

Check out my Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️❣️❣️

To the friend that isn’t a friend anymore

I’ve had enough.

While I work on bettering myself, you continue choosing to make all of the wrong choices.

The easy thing and the right thing are hardly ever the same.

You’ve been stringing me along like it’s part of your game.

You were once a friend… that is true.

Not anymore.

Looking back at the childhood memories when we were both on the same page…

The laughter, the love, friends for life without a doubt.

We had our whole lives ahead of us then.

Sadly only one of us would make that life count.

I hate that you just don’t care enough to make a change- I’m tired of rooting for a team that isn’t even playing.

What I want for you is very different than what you want for yourself.

You were once a friend… that is true.

Not anymore.

We are grown now.

Though only one of us has truly grown up.

Sorting out my past mistakes as you refuse to let yours go.

Left standing alone trying to plant a garden with your pile of dirt.

I can’t make you be a garden.

You were once one… that is true.

Not anymore.

So here I stand alive and I’ve decided it’s been overdue.

Friends are the family we choose.

And I’m no longer choosing you.

When you change your mind again and want friends instead of drugs

Remember that I’m praying for you, in the place of hugs.

I won’t be there to wipe your tears.

I won’t be there to share your cheers.

This is the end to the childhood friendship that we could no longer sustain.

Whether you choose to get better or not, gone is where I’ll stay.

I’m living in my garden.

Where you wouldn’t come to play.

The gates have closed, the sunshine glows, I finally can see.

That after all we’ve grown apart, I’m better off just me.

We were once friends… that is true.

Not anymore.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more inspiration! 💕

What I didn’t know about addiction

When I got sober it was a fairly unique situation.

The day I quit drinking was also the very first day I wanted to quit drinking.

A couple days of seizures on the bathroom floor was enough to start anew.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned how much my personal experience has clouded my opinion on addicts.

To me, alcohol was an escape from myself.

I hated myself.

I hated my life.

Numb was the only way that I could continue functioning.

Alcohol was that door to checking out from reality and entering a world where I just didn’t care.

With booze, life always seemed less real.

I didn’t annoy myself as much when I was drunk.

The bottle was my ticket to escaping the life I couldn’t bare anymore.

My brother had his own struggles with addiction.

It would be years after my new leaf of living that nightmare with him before things turned around.

The only thing more difficult than addiction itself is watching a loved one throw away their life for it.

Your life becomes a living hell while they are escaping this reality with substance.

“I promise you that life in sobriety is fun T!!! PLEASE just give it a try and find out!!!”

I pleaded, for years on end.

The best word to describe myself in this plea would be naive.

Naive to feeling that every addict is running from reality.

Naive to think that my brother just liked being drunk too much to quit.

A couple weekends ago we were visiting my now 20 MONTH SOBER brother for fall festivities!

It’s MY FAVORITE family tradition we’ve created!

Our life is so normal now.

We get together and do things as siblings and I swear those are some of the best memories of our lives.

Day one we went to the most badass park I’ve ever seen! 👇

Day two we went to a corn maze and pumpkin patch!👇

And day three, during family breakfast, we talked about where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

“Man T… I can’t believe you made it! I’m so proud of you!!!”

I professed.

“I had to stop or I was going to die. I’d wake up with ridiculous anxiety and start having panic attacks. It would feel like I was having a heart attack and the only way to make it stop was the booze. It was like a 24/7 never ending hangover.”

Tears started streaming down my face as I realized how much I hadn’t understood about his addiction.

Here I am, preaching to my brother about how cool life is when you aren’t confused all the time, and he wasn’t even confused…. he was sick.

He confessed the fine line of “sipping and driving”.

In other words he wasn’t drinking just to drink.

At just 29 years old, his body was beginning to show signs of long term alcohol abuse.

His body was reliant on alcohol and was literally shutting down without it.

Longer drives required greater focus and when he was “under-medicated” the withdrawal symptoms were so intense that he would end up pulling over for hours at a time in attempt to stop his heart from bursting out of his chest.

He wasn’t drinking to be drunk- he was drinking to stay alive.

He had punched the ticket but he no longer wanted to ride the ride.

“I was embarrassed with myself for how bad it had gotten. I would have died trying to detox on my own. There was a lot of shame in what it had become and the reality of those choices. It was like drowning and waiting for somebody to save you.”

The day his second niece was born was the day my brother amounted the courage to chase his lion.

“I need this to stop and I don’t know how.”

He admitted to a buddy of trust.

Thank you for hearing him, Carl.

It took ten days in detox before being medically cleared for inpatient rehab.

Detox from alcohol is a serious thing!

My brother put in some insanely hard work as he fought for his life.

**Did you know- detoxing from heroin isn’t deadly (though it feels like it), but detoxing from alcohol can be?!**

20 months later my brother is still prioritizing his recovery as an AA sponsor.

God gave me my brother back and I am beyond grateful for this.

I’m thankful that I have a sibling to enjoy life with.

I’m thankful I’m not living in a nightmare anymore.

I’m thankful for his journey, and the new understanding it has given me about addicts.

We are all different so it makes sense that no addiction is the same.

Every addict is running- our differences lie in what is chasing us.

Thank you for using your story to help others T.

I love you.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️

Kindness to strangers

While pulling into the gas station half asleep one morning, an “incident” caught my attention.

As a car emerged an empty pump, the car sitting at the pump ahead of it decided to gun it in reverse.

That driver then proceeded to fly out of the car and scream at the other cars windshield with both middle fingers up.

Being the bigger person, the other car sulked into the parking lot waiting for an empty pump.

Ummm excuse me but was it really necessary to be so hateful?!?!

Maybe I’m weird (just kidding I am weird) but I would never go out of my way to be nasty to someone.

My heart broke for the mystery person in that car.

I couldn’t help but wonder how their day was going before this happened…

What if they are going through a hard time right now?

What if this incident was one of many negative things that this person has had to deal with recently?

What if this seemingly small incident turned out to be the straw that broke the camels back?

Empathy for this stranger began to overwhelm me.

As the cranky man drove away, the other car cautiously arrived at a pump on the other side.

I stood fighting with myself on whether or not to intervene.

‘Am I overreacting?!’

Something inside me just couldn’t leave and wonder.

After a couple deep breaths I finally amounted the courage to walk over.

The stranger was a tall male with glasses, mid 30’s probably…. completely expressionless.

“Hi! Umm… I saw what just happened with that crazy guy and I just wanted to tell you that his craziness is NOT a reflection of you. That was nuts and inappropriate… I hope you have a wonderful day!!!”

He looked up at me after pausing for a couple seconds.

“Thank you.”

He muttered softly as a small smile began to form.

That moment was everything.

It was confirmation that I made the right choice in stepping out of my comfort zone.

The second I got back in my car tears of joy started pouring down my cheeks.

It was a small act of kindness that felt like 100 bucks.

Have you ever thought of saying something kind to someone but didn’t?

It could be running over to an old lady who just finished loading her car and offering to put her cart away.

It could be complimenting someone on their dress instead of just thinking it.

It could be messaging your number to a Facebook friend after seeing a post that says “I’m done”.

The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourself.

For some people {or even most people}, interacting with strangers can be extremely anxiety provoking.

I’m fairly outgoing yet this gas station incident had me sweating.

If everyone made a conscious effort to just be kind then this world could be a much better place.

Changing the world starts with changing ourselves.

You can start by simply being the energy you would like to attract.

Please, never go out of your way to be hurtful to others.

You never know what battles someone may already be fighting.

This week I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and do/say something positive to a stranger.

One positive interaction could potentially be enough to save a life.

Together we can make a difference ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more 😊

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Dear copycat shooters,

I’m sorry that I don’t know any of your names.

The beautiful souls that I grieve in your place consume too much time to pay you any mind.

You’re gone.

It’s sad because this life is beautiful and you just didn’t know how to open up your eyes and fully enjoy it.

I hate to tell you that your “shot at fame” fell short.

Your intended “legacy” destroying every last bit of you.

It’s second nature to misplace your ugly memory.

Filling it instead with the beautiful lives that you have taken.

And God forsaken,

All the time you wasted plotting a terrible crime I’ve got to say it,

It’s so distasteful.

As our nation is experiencing this divide

Watch as your only living memory washes away without a shrine.

You’ve been filed in the group of nameless monsters we dismiss.

You’re not unique.

You’re just the same

As all the ones who paved your way.

Now please return back to the dark where you will now forever stay.

You are nothing and I’m done wasting my breath on your dismay.

❤️

{In loving memory of all shooting victims~ the ones we all remember}

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Project Identity

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Loss by suicide 💔

Nate was a lot like me.

Loud, goofy, awkward.

Thoughtful.

We went to high school together but never really got to know one another until a job at Starbucks landed us together six years later.

It was nice to see a familiar face on the first day of a new job.

Nate took me under his wing and within no time our shifts were spent in tears from laughing so hard with each other.

I thank God for those memories.

I’d only been working at Starbucks for a couple months before Nate left the company to focus on Uber and his dog walking business.

Every so often one of us would reach out through Facebook and discuss meeting for pedicures.

We never got the chance to do so.

It pains me that I didn’t know how much he really needed me.

My career at Starbucks lasted another year before leaving to have baby #2 and be a stay-at-home mom.

Being a barista was getting increasingly unbearable thanks to preeclampsia!

Every shift my feet would swell painfully HUGE and I wouldn’t be able to get my shoes off when I got home.

Finally in my last week at Starbucks-miserable was an understatement.

There were not many things that made me smile at that point.

And then, in walked Nate one day with a pink gift bag in one hand and a box of diapers in the other.

The super pregnant barista was finally smiling.❤️

That’s just the person that Nate was.

He was the sunshine.

The silly friend who always went completely out of his way to make other people smile.

I was leaving church when I opened the message nobody wants to receive,

“Hey girl I hate to tell you this but Nate is gone. They found him face down in a parking garage with a single gunshot wound in the front of his head.”

Excuse me what did you just say?!?

So many emotions pulsing through me.

What was going on?!

Where was I?!?!

In an instant my world went black and white.

Battling with my mind while searching for answers.

A murder?!

A freaking murder?!?!

I was in such a state of shock that I literally tried convincing myself that it was all some kind of social experiment or prank.

My mind just couldn’t believe it.

Until I walked into his funeral service and instantly shattered.

This was all for real and I couldn’t deny it anymore.

I wish he could have seen how many people came to say goodbye to him…

People who loved him overflowing into every inch of the large room.

His brother’s speech would kickoff the service and offer some answers in this tragic madness.

“Nate had depression.”

Confessed his brother, speaking at the start of the service.

Wait what?!

Depression?!?!

You couldn’t be talking about my Nate?!

No way!

Absolutely not!

He was always so happy!!!

And then it hit me.

Every person has their own way of trying to keep their head above water.

Severe depression is a serious condition.

It’s a debilitating kind of loneliness.

Nate… I’m sorry.

Sorry you were hurting. 💔

Sorry that the pain was too bad to continue on suffering the blow.

I had no idea you had depression… and I’m sorry for that too.

I’m sorry that you’re gone.

And I’m sorry for the finality of all of this.

I miss you.

I love the moments when you say hello as the sun blanketing me… the snowflake landing on my nose.

I wish your story could have ended differently.

Rest In Peace my friend.❤️

In loving memory of Nathan Flanagan💐

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