April 4, 2012

Living out loud

Published in the March/April 2012 issue of Renew

Our newest columnist asks readers: “When you were in treatment, what was one thing you really wanted to do when you got out?” But first, she tackles a dream of her own.

By Mimi Wynn

One of the most incredible gifts of my recovery is a realized dream.

When I was an active addict, I lived all day and night in fear. It was the only emotion that I remember at all. Healthy relationships were not even an option. The understanding of self-love and hope was impossible. Dreams were also impossible, as I spent too much energy chasing the high and had fear upon fear of what would happen if I didn’t score. Occasionally, I feared dying, but later in my addiction, I feared living more than death. I quietly wished for death as an escape from the bondage of my illness.

During active addiction, I could not recall my dreams, nor could I remember those I’d had as a child. But after the relief that comes with the first several months of recovery, my dreams began to surface. Along with serenity came possibilities. Not only was I free from the humiliation and pain of active addiction, but I also began to dream of the future. Carefully navigating one step at a time, I became excited by possibilities.

After the first year of my sobriety, I woke up one night recalling dreams I’d experienced of flying as a little girl. They’d seemed so real to me as a child: I soared through the skies, weightless and free from my sick family. In those dreams, I had felt disconnected from all pain, like anything was possible. I knew I could fly, and my faith helped me know I would be safe. My dreams of flying were much like my sobriety: just knowing I would survive. I knew then that I had to make it happen.

Family and friends thought it was a huge risk to jump out of an airplane at 14,000 feet, but I knew my using experience had been far more dangerous and had offered nothing like a backup plan. At least now I had a parachute! Dropping 115 mph out of an airplane seemed more like embracing life rather than risking it, as I had in active addiction.

As my jump plane climbed into the sky, I became increasingly excited. I had been waiting for this moment my entire life. As the noise from the engine roared, I quietly prayed and thanked God for my amazing life and this awesome opportunity. At last, the moment came, and the photographers cinched out onto the wing waiting to film my personal “Living Out Loud” moment. My thoughts were clear, and my emotions were calm as we counted down. Three. Two. One. I jumped into the void.

The wind was comforting as it cradled my weight, and I looked at the amazing horizon. I didn’t want to miss a moment! My talented jumpmaster pulled the cord, and we slowed down to a serene float. I was truly flying. No high was ever this amazing.

One of the joys of recovery is giving it away. If you hang around the rooms long enough, you hear the sad stories, but more importantly, you see the rebirth of spirit. I want to help make your dreams come true and then tell your story of rebirth in recovery. If you want to record a song you wrote while finding sobriety, I’ll get you in a studio. If you want to go bungee-jumping, I’ll find the best cliff off which you can jump. Share with me your dreams, and together we’ll make them happen. Stepping doesn’t always mean working through pain. We can create amazing stories in sobriety. Let’s share our experience, strength, hope and realized dreams together and live out loud!

Contact Mimi Wynn with your unrealized dreams in sobriety and you may find your story in “Living Out Loud.” Email [email protected]


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