National Comadres Newsletter #30 (November 2022)
Reflections from Comadre Solymar Solá Negrón
2,768 days ago, I made the greatest choice in my life- I began a journey of recovery from drugs and alcohol. I don’t remember the day very well. At that point, all the different people, places, and things had collided, and I really couldn’t keep track of the details. My dependence on drugs, alcohol, and sex, was what I used to escape whatever feeling I had at that moment. I was desperate, tired, and drowning. I couldn’t breathe. Life was overwhelming and anywhere else was better than where I was. I remember that everything I was doing- wasn’t working. And believe me- I was a hard worker. I am a proud mujer Boricua / Puerto Rican woman, and we don’t give up under any circumstances. Until then, my personal pride was determined by my ability to stay in my chosen character long enough to get whatever fix I was concocting. Of course, I had no idea that I was living with untreated addictions, and that no matter how brilliant I was, how hard I worked, my chances of making it were getting smaller.
60 days ago, I found myself drowning again. This time it was not drugs, alcohol, pettiness, or messiness. It was hustle culture- work. Today I live a very comfortable and resourced life, I am an important part of my family and community, honest and sober. I continue to work a daily program of recovery where I have the opportunity to practice healthier habits that help me to remain teachable, courageous and live on-purpose. Regardless of all of the blessings, life was still happening, and I am still me. I was driving myself rugged with work, and maybe not so secretly I was going crazy. Sleep was a joke and there were not enough smoke breaks that were going to get me right. That Sunday, I made a desperate choice to pray and beg to my Creator and crew of ancestors to relieve me of my anxiety and stress. I would do whatever it took to just breathe again.
A few hours later I found myself in the back of an ambulance saying to myself let go on the exhale let go on the inhale Let go and let God (a cute catchphrase I had learned at a prayer meditation meeting I had been attending weekly). Feeling so grateful for each slow breath I took. I was on my way to Highland Hospital’s Trauma center. I had been in a car accident and broke bones in my foot and back on top of severe bruising all over my body.
For the last 7 weeks, I have spent most of my time not going anywhere- Literally. I was forced to be still. With a broken foot and grateful spirit, I was able to breathe.
As the fall and winter seasons come to visit us with their sadness, grief, and joy, I invite you to practice some of the habits/ teachings that helped me stay sober and survive a challenge in my life.
1- Be honest with yourself
· If things aren’t going well, and there is evidence (scars) of it, pay attention to it. Everything comes out sooner or later / o por las buenas o por la malas.
2- Practice Gratitude Consistently
· Being grateful for something slows my mind down and gives me a moment to breathe, connect with the creator/ ancestors. My mind rests.
· I found myself down, but not out. In recovery, I have been able to maintain several relationships with loved ones that have helped me through this moment. Recovery teaches me how to have honest, open, and responsible relationships with myself and others. I use “recovery” as another word for healing
4- Be open to receiving guidance and support
· Allow yourself to be curious about what’s going on, space to reflect with your sister-friends or mentors/ guides- and if you don’t have one/ many, seek them out. We are never alone in our actions, thoughts, or healing. The more we nurture collective forms of healing, the easier it becomes for all of us to experience. You are not the only one that has experienced what you are going through, but no one will know unless you say something. So, try and be open. Then try to follow the guidance received. That’s the hard part.
Bendiciones/Blessings to all.
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