“I think suffering in any area produces perseverance, character and lessons I can help others learn. It would be a shame not to share what I have found.”
I am Nicole Murphy from Santa Fe, New Mexico and I am currently living in Austin, Texas. I am interested in supporting alcoholic and drug addicts in their quest for freedom from addiction. This narrative in no way claims drinking alcohol or occasional drug use is always wrong–nor is power, recognition, approval, achievement, validation, ambition or drive. I believe everything under the sun is permissible but maybe not beneficial, depending on the person. This was my own struggle and may not be yours…
I developed a drinking habit at an early age through negative influences: the desire to be known and forget life’s worries. In high school, it was the “cool” thing to do (going to parties and experimenting with harder substances). Being a “socialite” created a popular image for me; however, it’s not hard to be popular in high school when you’re hosting all the outrageous parties–even if you’re leading people the wrong way, but hey, everyone knew my name. The problem with my popularity, prestige and power is that I could never get enough of it. It was gratifying, but not satisfying–I always went to more and more extreme measures to get the same feeling and refuel my ego.
It was the same story for me in college, except at The University of Texas in Austin, it seemed everybody partied. I was so thrilled to finally be with my people! People that didn’t judge me or think drinking a handle of tequila in two days was alcoholic behavior. I thought that I was going to meet my best friends of all time, the love of my life, and end up with an amazing career that I loved all through the connections I made at the club, on the lake or at tailgates. In reality, my best friends ended up being Jose Cuervo, Papa Patron, and Don Julio. I loved who I was when I drank. Hell, I didn’t need true friends anyway–party favors will do. But as I continued to drink, the emptier and lonelier I felt even while partying in penthouses downtown or mansions on Lake Travis. The faster the years went by, the emptier conversations and experiences became. What used to loving and loyal relationships felt less fulfilling. I only cared about myself, and so did everybody else.
As I couldn’t get a lasting high anymore from literally anything–especially validation, attention, power and recognition (the real drugs)–I began pondering what the point to life was. Was it just to take what I needed, when I needed? To conquer, drive, strive, receive and keep chasing radical experiences for temporary “happiness”? To seek achievements for temporary fulfillment, and to use men for acceptance and validation? I felt like I was in a rat race and only getting tiny, probably two day old tasty crumbs, but never the real piece of bread. So I had to find it.
Why were we humans even here–flying on a spinning rock through space with gravity to keep us on earth and the sun just the perfect distance away to not scorch us but to keep us warm? What about our senses? How insane is our eyeball? The gift of sight reveals a whole spectrum of colors that intertwine to form the figures we fondly recognize to be our family, friends and anyone else we could come to love. Or taste–I freaking love chocolate, s’mores and gnocchi. Or even the feeling of being truly head over heels for someone–sunsets, flowers, fragrances like the way rain or basil smell. The Amazon, or Arctic, waterfalls, hummingbirds, jellyfish, veggies and fruit like mangos!! They come off a freakin tree from the earth and literally taste like heaven, all to sustain us as humans, but also to enjoy life. In this journey of seeking answers, I made it out of the self obsessed, narcissistic, all-about-me life I was living. Thank God, because it was exhausting–there wasn’t any real peace, relationship, or fulfillment. There was only discontent in the unending quest for the next best experience, person, place, feeling, and thing.
We know all humans want true joy that is unshakable even in the face of fear and horrible circumstances. We want irreplaceable relationships–to be loved and love–as well as have purpose and meaning! Through my own suffering and discoveries of the counterfeit, short term and fleeting feelings the world offered; I searched harder to find the TRUTH that wears hope. Now, I’m trying to share that truth with others who are trapped like I was. No alcoholic and drug addict ever decided, “YA, I want to waste my life.” They just opted in for the instant and cheap counterfeit feelings that momentarily ease their pain and insecurities. Or perhaps they are merely trying to escape reality. In any case, there is always a deeper root problem to any addiction (mine was needing attention, approval, validation and recognition). Using these substances is only a symptom of the problem.
Whether it’s a marriage, job or simple self-esteem–we all have destruction and disappointment in our lives. I think suffering in any area produces perseverance, character and lessons I can help others learn. It would be a shame not to share what I have found. Taking the focus off of myself in order to look to those who continue to senselessly suffer opens up an entirely new perspective to my life. I see how blessed I am. Sharing encouragement and hope with others is the most lasting reward I’ve found yet.
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