Come on, we all know we have wasted a ton of time worrying and caring what others think about us. The always timeless Coco Chanel said it so elegantly.
Andy Mineo backed it up with ” None Of My Business.” One of my favorite jams. As he says, ” If you don’t like me, that’s your problem. When I let it bother me, that’s my problem.”
That’s the truth. Other opinions of us are genuinely irrelevant until we allow their cynical take on what they think they might know to affect us mentally, emotionally, and physically. I know I have made myself sick, knowing that others were talking badly about me. So What!
Ever since childhood, I can recall people talking nonsense about my family. In my teenage years, the spotlight then shifted to me. By 19, I wanted nothing to do with judgmental people (A.K.A, religious church people). People are ALWAYS going to have something to say about you. It is our decision if we take the bait and how we respond.
Rising above negative opinions of others and ourselves alike is a mindset, and it takes real confidence in knowing who you are to genuinely not care. Yet as I said, you have to know who you are. It has taken me years to adapt my thinking to overcome opinions and garbage. Nobody else can do it for you.
Sep 9, 2016, this was a feature in The Overcomer Series by Lauren Gaige and the team at Restored 316 Designs. It was a huge honor. ( Side note: Lauren is the founder of Restored 316, and her company created the WordPress theme I built this site on) . This article lets the cat out of the bag. Rumors had swirled for years of me having a drug problem. In 2011 when I wrote the feature ” 14 Minutes In Heaven, “. I speak of the miracle of my life after a traumatic turn of events, walking away completely fine. I never say it was a suicide attempt, and I do not admit that I was struggling with an addiction to opiate pain killers.
The insinuations that I was hiding my issues is stupid. I spoke to those closest to me. I was extremely proactive in living a drug-free life. I do not believe that anyone would ever set out purposely to be addicted to a substance like opioids. In 2001 I was given a script from one of the most reputable neurologists in the country who treated migraine headaches. Bad migraine headaches began to show early along in my childhood.
During the start of my middle school years as puberty set in the headaches became more intense and persistent. Bands of them would come keeping me from large amounts of school and reasonable time socializing as a kid. Even when I did not have a headache, I lived paralyzed by fear that I would get one. By the middle of my Freshman year of high school, they were so prevalent I was pulled out of school and homeschooled by private teachers. My doctors began to take notice and attempt to figure out what the issue was. We tried everything. They would come and go in bands that would steal a week or more at a time from me unable to do anything. I was a teen with so much energy, who always wanted to be on the go. I recall this being the first point in my life when I began to struggle with depression and anxiety. Depression because I could not function and keep up with my peers. Stress as to if I tried to do something would I get a migraine. I avoided sunny days even that summer, afraid a sun glare would trigger a migraine. That’s how easily they would begin. By the age of 20, and I was scared to drive long distances with overwhelming fear, a flashing light or random blur would trigger the loss of vision in my left eye, which was the indication a migraine was about to begin.
I had regularly started to come back to church. It was never my intent to be disrespectful, and I just can’t express to you the level to which people can be so mean. I never was ashamed of 1.) being a believer, 2.) being the daughter of a no joke preacher. Three years into my first marriage that at 19, I made a haste decision into entering into what I thought was an escape to the real world – had brought me to a point where I knew I had spent enough time away from pursuing the will of God in my life. Oh, I was making money; yes, indeed, I maintained a 4.0 GPA in school. I was running on empty. Chasing the approval of others when I knew I would never get it. As I drew closer to God, I knew this grind, this sickness, this pressure was not something that God intended me to experience.
I can recall the spring day when my first script of opiates was given to me so clearly. I was so grateful the doctor had something that would help. He prescribed a massive supply. I was a kid I had no clue what they even were. I listened to the doctor’s instructions and took the medication exactly as prescribed. I also recall the first onset of a migraine when I had the script; finally, something beat it. Not only was I not in physical pain, the emotional pain I was experiencing torn between staying in an abusive marriage or proving that I did not ” fail” was lifted. I felt invincible for about six months. By that time, I was entirely dependant on pain killers, nobody, absolutely nobody, knew. The narcotics numbed the fear I once had of my first husband. It was a dangerous situation that finally ended in a dramatic and traumatic way, no doubt, on December 31st, 2001. January 3rd, I filed for divorce and was immediately admitted into the hospital, unable to eat or hold down food. The attributed it to stress, diagnosing me with ulcers. The truth was the Tylenol in the medication had eaten holes into my stomach lining.
By 2016 when Restored316 published that feature, I had fought so hard and maintained several years of a pill-free life. I chose before conceiving Mikey to go on a form of medication that fills then blocks the opiate receptors in your brain. It is commonly known as Suboxone. Still, an opiate mixed with a blocker. As I became more confident that I could live a life free of pain meds, it began to bother me that the same substance that took my life I still relied upon needed. Every month I was continually cutting my doses. Several doctors advised that I may never be able to not live on a maintenance dose of Suboxone because of pain issues. Others said it would no doubt uncover pain I did not even know I had. 2 physicians had the total and complete confidence that I was capable and able to live a life free of opiates finally. The more I began to share my experiences and reach out to others. The more people became critical and wanted me to be hush regarding my addiction issues. It was not the addiction per se I desired to dwell on; it was the miracle of overcoming it and letting others know they could too that was always the goal.
On October 30, 2018, by this point, I was down to .5 mg daily prescribed. I often only took it every other day. Faced with the fact that I had no choice but to relocate to Georgia, I decided that I would not start a new life there with remnants of the old. The biggest stronghold, heartache, and stumbling block in my life had to go, and I was determined. That day I flew to Atlanta before my flight I took the very last dose of opiates I will take. I was flying in briefly to do a walkthrough of the home we secured, or I had leased. I planed to figure out how I was going to get my things to Georgia from NY alone. I arrived on a Wednesday, by Saturday I was so sick I felt like I was going to die. For the next four days, I laid in that empty house alone. It was brutal, yet I knew I was going to get through. I never expected to return home. I thought I could rely on my husband at that time to get me situated; instead, he dropped me off at the airport. I could not even pack. A TSA worker with a wheelchair assisted me to the gate, where the crew helped me into my seat. I knew if I went home, all I had to do was call my doctor, and he would put me back on the medication and ease me off. But by that time, two weeks of no opiates were already huge. I was going to beat this. I missed Thanksgiving, Johnathan’s birthday, and for a month did not leave the house except for several ER visits to give me fluids and medication to control nausea. When offered something for pain, I refused, I knew how good it would feel to be free from the pain I had been in for almost a month. Yet the promise I had of thanksgiving the following year and my son’s birthday, the picture of enjoying those special days knowing a year later for me, for them, for my marriage, I had conquered my biggest nightmare. I committed to being in Georgia for Ella’s performance at a holiday concert. My Baby had several solos.
What I had so desperately tried to avoid bringing to Georgia and our fresh start. Was a weapon held over my head? It was sick. WE had believed for this, and even knowing I was drug-free, it was still used against me to create shame and embarrassment. I always say I am an open book. The preface of being introduced to a whole new community with now new people talking about my past, not even my victories, my downfalls surrounded me. Opinions. I HAD TO STOP CARING. I remained vigilant despite the stupidity and crap to keep my life on track even if others were derailing it elsewhere.
Yes, Coco said it with style and elegance. Andy Mineo added a killer beat and hook with humor. The truth is, The Apostle Paul Said best in Romans 12:2
Nobody is perfect, including me. Yet I remain grateful, thankful, and no doubt blessed and rejoice that I am even alive. To say that with the grace and mercy of God, I overcame addiction, I will never be ashamed of what I went through. The stigma that surrounds what others assume as addiction has to end. There is a way out. My life is living proof.
- Stop caring what the world around you has to say.
- Look within you and change how you think of yourself. Line your opinions up with what God says about you, not idiots.
- Allow yourself to become empowered so you can find God’s will and plan for you.
- Live a beautiful and satisfying life that is pleasing not to observers but entirely to God and you. The real you.
I have had the very people I believed supported me through this all these years say to me, ” my ship has sailed.” Great, I don’t like boats. I prefer to fly. Never let anyone’s judgment or opinion of you stop you from pursuing all that is already yours. Some assume I have lost everything. I am hiding in shame with nothing to say. So far from the truth. Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life, you know I have tons to say, and I am confident – fully convinced that the best is truly yet to come.
Here is that Andy Mineo jam. I encourage you to listen to it. I could not have written it better.
” If it weren’t for God, I’d destroy your teeth…”
I love that line. I have so much more to share—resources to provide for those who need help, not just with addiction but other areas. I would be lying if I said this was easy to write. It is even going to be harder to release. I thank you in advance for sharing it, genuinely reading it, and I welcome and enjoy your questions and comments. That is why I do what I do.
Heads up my next post will how to achieve the perfect sunless tan at home with products you can get right now affordably.