Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” I sat down to my banquet of consequences at the age of 16, and it was 4 months ago, on the morning of January 19, 2007.
Unaware that it was my time to face my “demons,” I went into a coma and was rushed to the local hospital. My entire family, extended family, and friends talked to the doctors, waited, and prayed for me. At 83 pounds, I had overdosed on pills, cocaine, and alcohol. I had been so deathly ill, suffering from an eating disorder and drug addiction that even standing up was an ordeal.
When I awoke on January 26, the day after my 17th birthday, the doctors couldn’t believe it. They had told my parents to prepare for the worst and that I might never wake up.
I was so young and had so much life ahead of me. I had lost sight of everything. I was not connected with the world, and I ran from scarring memories that turned my stomach. I always seemed to end up in the lowest places, with people who were slowly killing themselves, all because of my desperate obsession with drugs. I ran from images that burned at the touch, an abusive sister, school, friends whom I did not want to see, I had sickening fears lunging at me from every corner of my mind.
While I was dependent on drugs, I hung out only with my boyfriend and my friend Heather. A third friend was my eating disorder, which was always with me in my mind, telling me I was not good enough, that I was worthless, fat, and ugly.
I found out later that I had needed my eating disorder. When my sister was living with us, things got out of control. I used this to block out emotions. I felt safe from the manipulative ways of my sister. Thinking back, I really could not hear, see, think, or talk because my anorexia was blocking out all my senses to help shield me from the world. I needed to feel safe, but it nearly cost me my life.
I almost died, and I have to remember this every day as I recover from drugs and a gnarly eating disorder. I woke up to my banquet of consequences on January 26, 2007. I believe from this point forward, my life is trickling into a beautiful place, because I have faced my “demons,” and I have lived through it. I believe life is too precious to let it waste away into oblivion, or to waste it on addictions. It is too precious to let it just slip through my fingertips without experiencing and savoring the moments that are real. I believe in being present and alive in my life and taking part. With God’s help, I believe I can do this, one day at a time.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.