I love Megan.
Thanks to Alicia Cook, friend/writer/HuffPost contributor/Instagram poster/recovery ally, I got connected to the lovely Megan. And then I find out she's in recovery and knows my gals Lara and Sasha (and more). And I love the small crazy beautiful perfectly imperfect world we live in. This woman gets it. I'm proud of this mental health/recovery advocate/writer FRIEND of mine, and excited for all the accomplishments she's made and will make in her life.
Name: Megan Lawrence
Location: Tampa, FL
Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 8/10/2015
Creative niche: Writing
If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice):
Alcohol, Amphetamines, Cocaine
Recovery story in a nutshell:
I never knew the extent of my problems until I found myself in a hospital bed trying to explain the suicide attempt I (fortunately) failed in August of 2015. Looking back now, I am able to admit that I have always battled addiction, but was never willing to say out loud that I was ever out of control.
I started doing drugs at the age of 14, and over the next 9 years, I would dabble in a handful of different ones, with Adderall, alcohol, and cocaine, becoming so much more than your occasional usage. I would have to say that college is when my bad habits took a turn for the worse, mainly because I didn't have my parents watching over my shoulder, and college meant that I was finally an adult, able to live however I saw fit. For the first two years of college, I would say that the one thing that kept me somewhat together was college soccer. My partying was considered "typical" college behavior, and I never saw what I was doing as harmful.
I actually took a break from drinking once I got my fake ID taken away from me, and I developed a love for weight training. It wasn't long before that turned into an addiction as well. Sometimes training 2-3 times a day, and still having soccer 6 days a week, I had started overtraining, and I was becoming sicker by the minute. My athletic trainer was worried about me because I had dropped down to 5% body fat, and warned me that I would not be able to play soccer until I gained my weight back. Naturally, my first instinct was to defend myself. I was okay with how my life was going, because to me, working out was a healthy thing. Oh how wrong I was. To please my trainer, coaches, and my now worried friends, I stopped working out as much. For fear of gaining the weight back that I lost, I started tracking my calories (putting my body into starvation mode), and I became addicted to amphetamines (Adderall), which allowed me to never get hungry.
The first time I was ever willing to admit that I had a problem was when I experienced a drug overdose from staying up for a consistent 96 hour period of time on nothing but drugs. My body was shutting down on me, and my drug use had caused me to stop caring about what was important. I failed to show up to soccer practices on time, and eventually I stopped showing up all together. It was then that I was forced to part ways with my collegiate career as a soccer player, and a couple months after that, I found myself in jail for a DUI. It was then that I decided something had to change, and I cut amphetamines out of my life forever.
Although strong enough to make me say goodbye to Adderall, my arrest was not the final rock bottom I had waiting for me 2 years, and 4 months down the road. Within that time is where my drinking really started to take a hold of me. My black outs were occurring every other day, and I kept finding myself in compromising positions. Becoming more and more self-destructive, I had lost grip on reality, and who I was as a person. Self-medicating was how I dealt with every day life, and this works, until it doesn't. It is not a means of healing yourself. Self medicating is only temporary, and until you face the root of the evil, you will only put off the rock bottom that will inevitably happen.
And that is what happened to me.
After my fair share of cocaine benders, and cracking my head open in the last month of my drinking, my last drink landed me in the hospital, and at the age of 23, I decided that I would live the rest of my life in recovery. Sobriety was the only option for me, and when I am asked, "So you don't think you will ever drink again?" My only answer for them is no. I found out early what I have a problem with, and I will be forever grateful for that. When I drank, I never knew if I was going to like myself by the end of the night, or where I would wake up the next morning, and now that I am sober, I never have to worry about that. I love who I am all the time, because I am finally in control of myself.
There are always going to be days that are hard, but there are always going to be reasons that make my sobriety worth it. It is a powerful thing to be in control of your own actions, and I enjoy being able to remember the things that happen in my life. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and I by no means regret anything that has occurred in my past. We are not who we were, we are who we become because of that. I wake up every day and make the choice to remain sober because I have finally shown up for my life, and I no longer numb the parts that are harder to deal with. I just deal with them, and put a smile on, because despite where I have been, I am excited for where I am headed.
Top 5 Recovery Tools:
Without it, I would still be struggling to figure out who I am. It helps me silence that 'voice' in my head, and before writing, my thoughts were overwhelming, and loud.
I have been involved in athletics my whole life, but the need for it changed once I became sober. Natural endorphins are incredibly powerful, and I enjoy being physically strong just as much as I enjoy being mentally strong.
3. Family & Friends.
Now that I am sober, the relationships in my life have been able to grow into something of deeper value. Speaking my truth, and no longer hiding who I am from those who care about me, has helped me remain sober, and has helped rebuild the damage I have caused in the past.
4. Helping others.
Talking, and connecting with others has provided my life with such purpose. When I am able to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves, it reminds me of why I choose to remain sober, and it provides a type of happiness that alcohol and drugs tried to take away from me.
I love finding books that help me understand myself more and more. There is nothing better than finding a book that you relate to. It is proof that you are not alone, and it is small reminder that there are people out there who feel the same way. I find such peace in that.