In early recovery I felt ugly. I didn’t know who I truly was and I was still trying to figure that out. All I had ever known since the age of thirteen was abusing my body and the bodies of those around me. It turned me into this monster on top of even more raging chaos. But, when I quit I still saw the monster looking back at me in the mirror. I was horrified of who I’d become, but now I was clean.
In early recovery I still couldn’t see the real me. It was masked by the things I had done to get a fix or the things the fix did to me. It felt like I was covered in a dry sweat that wouldn’t fully bleed out. The hardest part was simply waking up knowing that I was me, and stuck with it. Something had to change, but it didn’t for a very long time.
I remember the times I would completely grow my facial hair out. Once it got to the length I thought I’d liked, I shaved it. I was never content with who I really was, but it really had nothing to even do with the beard. This was small beliefs to the overall big picture. I just wasn’t comfortable.
I felt fat, although I was overweight from all of the drinking, it was more of a fat shame. No people weren’t calling me names like in fat shaming either. I was ashamed and the pressure was building inside of me, like a tumor or callous. I would pace for hours just waiting to get outside of myself, while I was crawling underneath this figure I called me. It would grow and grow until I felt swollen from the pressure to change. The ultimate trend here being, “me.”
This was a me problem. My parents would tell me I could get better. I had plenty of people who believed in me. But I was still looking at who I was, why I was stuck, but never forward. I know, I know… take it one day at a time. But, for once in my life that didn’t work for me. Stuck in the moment I needed to have a future to look towards, but that was something hard to work towards when the past was an even worst situation.
For me, I truly felt ugly because I was stuck being the person I was. I needed to move forward but still one step at a time. If I leaped too far I could just come crumbling down. So what I tried was expanding myself through education. What I felt a young man needed, and what my father guided me towards, was education.
The most freeing part of my life came when I went back to school. It came from one accomplishment to the next. All it took was handing in an assignment on time to boost my spirits. Pretty soon I started to have that moment to look forward to. I was teaching myself as much as the school was teaching me. Heck, I even started to teach some of the teachers about recovery and how healing their mentoring had been for me!
I had a teacher in my first year of the community college who let me express myself within the English and writing parameters. I started talking about all of the things bugging me and eventually created a sketchbook of my past that gave me a guide to where I needed to be in the future. I wasn’t just writing for this class, I was writing for a newfound passion to feel better, look better, and be better. All of this was possible through the power of education.
It’s said that the power of education is the greatest form of awareness on this planet. It’s people like the ones in advocacy groups who make prevention programs worth running. It’s those people who are changing the world not for us, but with us. Without positive mentors education would mean nothing. Without having someone to show me how I could get passed my false sense of ugly, recovery might not have been possible. So simply by being altruistic and spreading the message we, and the leaders of recovery, can further eliminate the start of abuse, the continuance of addictions or ailments, and the relapse behind them.
This is how education saved my life. Like one of my favorite philosophers and rappers of all time said, “You don’t know till you know.” Tupac was always a man of awareness, a teacher through his words, although still partially provocative. And although I cannot endorse everything he did, said, or was about, I still believe these words transcend communities, lifestyles, and the recovery philosophy!
I owe part of my recovery to those who wish to guide people in this world who felt like I felt in early recovery. Without their outreach, and programs of “I can, I will, I am doing it,” I wouldn’t be doing it today.
If you are stuck and unable to find yourself out of an “ugly” situation then I urge you to find any form of education, whether it be school, whether it be prevention programs, or whether it be reading a book on overcoming, it’ll be worth it. It can, it will, and it is still to me, inspiring.
This is how I continue to further my recovery, although unconventional, may prove to be the most beneficial thing in young one’s lives to keep abuse away from them and helpful to anyone looking to get over their hump. This is the spark of the revolution, but we need more people backing the idea. It’s starting to spread, but only you can make that difference. So, get out there and stay educated!
Education is important. Awareness is essential. Without it we will be stuck alone, feeling ugly and without. But with it, we will all be able to come and rise together to beat the odds and break the chains of addiction once and for all!
Today I don’t feel ugly. Today I am empowered! And you can be too. I believe in you! Stay educated my loved ones.
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