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Hi, My Name is Alicia and I am an Addict: Waiting to Exhale


Two nights ago I was terrified when I saw bill after bill after bill after bill after bill looming on the kitchen counter like white, giant-sized cockroches... the hissing kind with wings that you see on the Discovery Channel late at night. It was like something from a new-age horror movie as multi-colored hospital and doctor bills piled up as a result of four beautiful months of pregnancy on bed rest, the grand arrival of the sweetest prince, his circumcision, and our Hospital time. All of these precious moments culminated into one very big little word; DEBT. It was at this moment that I realized that I was an addict and my drug of choice; control laced with worry.

True addict to my addict form I realized my weakness after the reality of my newly acquired freedom set in. There I was, post jump celebrating and relishing in the effervescence of free falling until I hit a rock and I snagged my newly liberated skin. It was here the reality of what I was really doing hit me like a Mack truck and then the questions arose. What about retirement? What about when we want to have a second kid? What about insurance? What about those "retchafretchan" BILLS? #YosemiteSamVoice

Immediately I began to clean (like I always do when I'm upset). When finished, I sucked in all of my freak out, walked into our bedroom and told Mike calmly that I thought we may need to rethink me going back to work. I prayed to God that he wouldn't think that I doubted him. It's just that I started tweaking when I saw those words "FINAL NOTICE" printed on our son's doctors bill. You see, I could handle bills in my name potentially going to collections. But, once I saw Mikey's little name printed on the front of a past due bill, I panicked and began to search through my phone for the number of the person to whom I had just turned down the job. But I couldn't even find her name. I searched sites for jobs not even pertaining to my newly professed profession and conjured up a sweet speech. I had every intention of turning back. In my mind, I had to. It was do or die. I needed my fix.

I immediately became frustrated and quite torn as I thought about what I was about to give up; precious unstoppable, unrewindable time with my son. But, I couldn't be one of those parents who messed up their son's credit before he even knew what credit was. I felt like I was on a sinking ship and my husband was only the one taking water out of the boat. He was casting water out as fast as he could but for whatever reason I got mad at him for having the only bucket. Silly woman.

Despite the obvious ugly truth of tucking my tail and running towards my safety zone, I tried to make giving up sound noble. I tried to pretend that instead of an addict I was Langston Hughes and this was simply a Dream Deferred. I tried to believe that I was powerless in this situation and had no other choice except to go back. But we both know that's simply not true. This was not a dream deferred this was cliff diving. Here, the more power I used to jump out, the more I am propelled away from the skin tearing rocks going down. A scared, timid jump placed me in great danger and could cause me to lose it all. Unfortunately, had jumped timidly and now needed more wind beneath my wings.

With the understanding that I had more to do, I came home the same evening and my husband was sanding down a desk for our next business venture and I breathed. I saw the wood in the back of his truck and I breathed. I thought of my student that I would be tutoring this week and I breathed. I recalled a lovely, helpful conversation with a fellow writer named Delisa and I breathed. I thought of my sister Jasmine's you can do it messages and I breathed. I thought of my dad's faith in me and I breathed. I thought my mom's belief in my talents and I breathed. I thought of my husband's you can do it speeches and unyielding support and I breathed. I thought of the opportunities in writing I had coming up and I breathed. I thought of the beautiful people who told me my little words helped them and I breathed. I looked into my son's beautiful brown eyes and I breathed. I heard a still small voice saying "we're going to be ok." It was then I exhaled.

God said it that settled it.

Later that evening, MIke and I discussed our streams of income and it seems that overnight the money had been pieced together. My baby boy would not go into debt.

With drug free lungs, I got back to work. I began researching and diggin into my craft. I would no longer use fatigue or lack or time as a reason to not get things done. It was go time and our ship needed reinforcing. It was in this moment just before a sweet, new friend named Shelby hit me up about being up at such a late hour that it finally hit me that I did have a job. I worked for me and I was working the night shift.

I am no longer "trying" to be a writer. I am a writer and I am the boss of me. I jumped not to keep from working but so I could work when it was best for me and my family. I did this so that I could fully breathe not knowing that I needed to get clean and had been waiting to exhale.

Siiighhhh. Here goes...

Hi my name is Alicia and I am a recovering addict. I"ve abused control, safety, and worry. I've been clean for..... 2.5 days.

Lead Me Back - Morgan Harper Nichols
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