By: Tamara E. – Transformations alumna
So upon leaving the safety and warmth of Transformations, I was thrust back into the reality of being an adult. It went a little something like this, starting with an email I got… from Life.
To: Tamara Evans
Cc: Death, IRS
Subject: Car, bills, teeth.
Congrats on getting clean and trying to no longer be a scumbag! Hey, close call there with that overdose, almost thought I lost you until you got hit with that Narcan! Thank GOD (more on that later, we will talk). I cc’d Death on this email to rub it in his face, (haha no worries though he will get you eventually, LOL).
Now, onto business: do your taxes. The IRS gets a copy of every email I send, don’t get freaked out or anything. By the way, once you do your taxes… remember those bills you didn’t pay? The government will be taking your whole tax return because you sucked at being an adult for so long. Rent at your halfway will be due, that’s not gonna be cheap. Can’t rely on Mom anymore, you’re f-ing thirty years old, Tamara. Stop ignoring those bill collectors, by the way, they will just keep calling. They hate your stupid voicemail, you aren’t funny. Remember your science degree? Ha. You can’t work in that field, you’re gonna have IOP at the VA from 9 AM to 2 PM like three days a week. Figure that sh*t out.
While you’re at it, this 21-year-old is going to rear end you while you’re stopped at a red light because she is going to be texting and driving. She will fail to take responsibility for her actions in about a month (and also be suuuuper rude to you via text, which she is probably writing while driving, lmao I should forward this email to Irony) and you’ll have to be an adult about the whole thing, deal with her and with your insurance. Hope you like working for damn near minimum wage with an f-ed up car, oh and you’re going to need an emergency root canal about a month out of the gate. Also wear some sunscreen, you’re starting to look old.
P.S. floss your teeth, you a**hole
I want to laugh (cry) at myself, and at the perfect timing of these issues. I ignored my car’s maintenance while I was using. My mom had to get my wheel bearings replaced while I was in PHP, which I won’t even talk about the cost of that because it’s the kind of money that causes face-melting, self-loathing when you know your family simply doesn’t have it to spend. Top that with a somewhat less face-melting amount we just sunk into resurfacing my rotors and changing out cracked brake pads, and it vividly brings up long-buried memories me of how my mother used to tell me in my adolescence that I “don’t take care of” my things.
When I am using, I don’t take care of ANY thing(s). The things I own, the adult issues I need to follow up on, the friends who want to hear from me, the single piece of paperwork I need to sign and email to whatever government agency, the parking ticket I need to pay, or even my own body or health.
What’s next? The consequences of that pattern of behavior. I ignored my teeth. Hello, two root canals, and that I’m told is just the start. I run around whining about my tooth and taking 800mg ibuprofen to the face (twice daily as prescribed, chill the hell out). BUT I SELDOM BRUSHED MY TEETH when I was in active addiction. When I did, I didn’t floss, I wasn’t diligent about toothpaste, and occasionally I just used those little on the go brushy thingies.
What else? Oh here is the huge shocker. Ready? I ignored my finances… did you guys know that when you pretend bills don’t exist, that doesn’t mean they just disappear? It’s almost as if trying to impose my will on reality does not cause the universe to bend to my desires. Mind blowing.
Someone write this down.
I’m writing this down.
Well, here’s the part where things get awesome; the things to be grateful for and the ability to actually see and feel them.
I have a car! I make payments on that car. Well, my mom makes them from my VA disability check, so let me not tell a small lie to anyone reading this. You can know me. Hi, I’m Tamara, my mother still handles my money until I get my sh*t together well enough to do so.
So anyway back to the gratitude part of being an adult. The tooth pain would have come. The car problems would have come. I was brunching with my Grandma so maybe that kid wouldn’t have hit my car (because when I’m getting high I generally don’t brunch with Grandma I just make an excuse for her to give me money and then I “have to leave”) but whatever, some awful sh*t would’ve happened and I would have been in no position to handle it because when I am in active addiction I am NOT AN ADULT.
When I’m using, I may look like an adult. When I’m using, I might even be able to fool those around me for short periods of time into thinking I’m an adult. But when I’m using, and it comes time to go to the dentist, pay my bills, do my taxes, or get my oil changed, my addicted mind says ‘no thanks, you can miss me with that sh*t.’
So; Today, 90 days clean, I am beyond grateful that I get to show up and learn the meaning of what being a responsible adult means. I used a fax number the other day. I faxed a document to University of Florida to start my Master’s Degree courses on May 8th. If that isn’t some adulting, I don’t know what is.
I have teeth! I have the ability to take care of tooth pain by using my Mom’s care credit card to get an emergency root canal (I will be the one paying it off, but again, let’s not leave out the fact that I’m insanely fortunate to have my family’s support and help because many addicts do not).
I have bills! …I got nothing there. No, I’m kidding, I find gratitude there because I am in a period now where I am starting to call back bill collectors, speak to them, and take the overwhelming number of institutions and banks and collectors that I owe money to and one at a time, painstakingly, let them all know my situation, write down what happens on each phone call, and put that bill I got in the mail with that handwritten note into a filing system (not on the floor of my car, never to be seen again.)
Adulting takes time.
It builds self-esteem.
It is not always fun.
But maybe, just maybe… you get to use a fax machine.
Today, I’m grateful that I get the privilege of being alive and that I’m starting to actually *adult.*