It has been 16 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, an event that changed our reality as a people, and an event that altered the course of my life. It is not entirely clear to me, the how, and the why, of it all, but that is my truth. You see, after that day, 9/11/01, that day of profound terror, a day that placed me at the epicenter of suffering, I was caught in the cold, dark, corners of post traumatic stress.
Through the fire I have come, plodding a serpentine path, through seemingly impossible challenges, and I have reached another side, a side filled with strength, and hope, and a new reality, that displays all the beautiful colors of our human experience.
My struggle with PTSD after 9/11, and my use of addictive substances and behaviors to medicate my pain launched me down a treacherous road, into the trenches, and into a cave of pain, where only whispers could be heard. My survival strategy was one of isolation and avoidance, two things that were slowly destroying me and everything that surrounded me.
In time, when the end was near, and with the help of a select few, I surrendered, and reached out for help. These seemingly simple actions, were unfamiliar to me, and took monumental efforts to achieve, but when I did, everything changed. For once in my life, that relentless weight was lifted, and I could breathe, and see some light, and had a small grain of hope, that a good life was possible.
This journey has been amazing, and unexpected, from any angle you might view, and this journey has gifted me a purpose, to give life to those who have fallen, and struggle to rise, while struggling with their own demons. It is my mission to share my experience, connect with those who are suffering, and provide them with the strength and hope that has given me life, and purpose.
Rising after a fall is a deeply personal, courageous and humbling experience, an experience laden with fear and shame, an experience that requires faith, trust, and acceptance from those around us, to lead us out of the darkness and into the light. These values are the foundation upon which strength and hope live and are the same values that have bolstered my recovery.
To accept another as they are, unconditionally, without judgement, connecting authentically, and leaving no part unloved, is a gift of epic proportion, and is the birthplace of hope and change. Sharing our hope and strength, and giving purpose to a single life, is the beginning of a better world.