"I could have been dead, not here today to tell my story, but I am here; nothing else matters!" -Colleen Kay
Imagine yourself on a journey from the darkest night of your life to one filled with joy and serenity. Through her personal journal entries, Colleen weaves you through the ups and downs of her path to self-discovery and a new life. She will inspire you with her warmth and compassion to begin a journey of your own.
You will see that you are not alone. There are others who are going through the same feelings, emotions, questions, and situations. Through her journey, Colleen gives you hope that you too can have a better life.
Follow the path of her journal entries as she transforms hardships into rays of light that quide her to serenity.as she transforms hardships into rays of light that guide her to serenity.
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Journey to SerenityA personal path to self-discovery
By COLLEEN KAY
Balboa PressCopyright © 2011 Colleen Kay
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI'm writing this book to heal, to put closure to my past, and maybe my story can help you in some way, it is all part of my journey to serenity. I believe this all started when I was born I suppose, but I consciously became aware of it, and started to participate in it in January 1994 on one of the darkest nights of my life.
I was in a relationship for about two years, sure we had our ups and downs, but we were struggling on making it work. Maybe, now as I look back, I was afraid of being alone again, maybe I just didn't want to start over, maybe I didn't see a need to get out, whatever the reason I stayed in it and on our two year anniversary I was pushed to make a change.
I spent the whole day making an elaborate dinner, spending money I couldn't afford, to create a special night for us. I was so excited, I had talked to him at noon and he said he would be there, everything seemed so good. The table was set, the candles lit and I waited for him to get there. By 8:00 that evening, I knew he wasn't going to show, not even a phone call. I was so upset that I proceeded to do what any insane woman would do at that moment, wrote a letter ending the relationship! If he couldn't make more of a commitment to us and didn't even have enough respect for me to call and say he wasn't coming, then I had had enough. It went on and on, I can't remember exactly what it said, but the purpose of the letter was to make him feel bad enough to come running back, apologize, and say he couldn't live without me. I called his sister to come over and watch my daughter while I went to his house and put the letter on his pillow, where I knew he wouldn't miss it when he came home, if he came home, and I left to wait for his call. It never came.
I was sick, I cried all week, but I would not call. After writing the letter giving him an ultimatum, I felt it was his place to call and I didn't know what to say to him anyway. A week or so later I was still feeling terrible, so some friends decided it was time I get out of the house and we went out to drown my sorrows at our favorite bar. We sat there awhile talking trying to cheer me up when in he walks, with someone else! You can imagine my shock, I really expected him to be feeling as bad as I was, missing me as much as I was missing him, I just thought he didn't know what to say and was scared to call me. I was speechless, mad, hurt, angry, and I think my mind left me in that moment. I tried to talk to him, but he acted like nothing was wrong and then they left the bar so I wouldn't make a scene. I proceeded to drink more, trying to get drunk so it wouldn't hurt so much and I could escape the pain. But it didn't work, it only made me brave and after an hour or so, I called his house. She answered the phone, which upset me more, but I calmly asked to speak to him. I told him I wanted to talk, he owed me that after two years and that I was coming over. He told me not to, that we would talk the next day, but I went anyway. When I got there, they were gone, to her house I suppose, and this started my darkest night.
I went crazy, I drank, I cried, I yelled, I threw things and when friends came to find me and tried to take me home I tried to jump out of the car because they were taking me to their house and not mine. I promised not to jump if they would just take me home, I promised to stay there and go to bed. They believed me and took me home. I drank some more and then drove back to his house, broke into the now locked door and went in. I have never in my life before this night or after been in such a black, black hole. I couldn't find my way out, I knew I was being totally out of control but I couldn't control it. I could find nothing good to hold onto, I was slipping to a place I had never been before and I didn't want to feel this pain ever again. I paced around his house, remembering our moments together, drinking, crying, writing him a letter and trying to figure out how to fix things. But as I did all of this something inside me went dark and then I could only see one way to never feel this pain and heartbreak again and that was to not go on. I didn't want to live through this again and I don't know where the thought came from but I could not see anything beyond that thought once it got into my head. I went to his gun case, but it was locked, I looked for the key but never found it. I didn't know what to do but I was so far out of my mind that nothing mattered except that and in a strange way it filled me with a hope, a way out.
Luckily when we hit bottom and are in our darkest moments, someone or something is watching over us and seems to carry us until our mind comes back. I decided to call one of our mutual friends first to see if he had any answers, if he knew why this had happened, if he knew what was going on, and how long? He knew right away something was different in my voice, he could hear it and he asked me to just sit down and not do anything until he got there. I told him not to come, just to stay on the phone with me and talk to me for a little longer. Before we finished our conversation my friend, who had taken me home earlier, came through the door. She said that she had a "feeling" and couldn't sleep so she came back to town to check on me and didn't find me at home. I remember feeling so numb, so lost, and so unfocused as I watched her come through the door and I heard her voice but it was like she was unreal and part of me wanted her to go away because I knew she would stop me and I wasn't so sure I wanted to be stopped. I don't remember much of our conversation after that, I know she talked and I cried and I told her how I was feeling, that I didn't want any more pain in my life and I didn't see a way out. Of course she tried to talk me out of it but I would not listen and was so out of control. So finally she pushed me up against the wall, stuck her finger in my face and said "You do what you want to then, but first, you tell me what to tell your daughter tomorrow when I have to tell her you are gone!" It was like a bucket of cold water and my reality came slamming back.
Obviously I didn't carry out my escape that night. Instead, I started a journey that continues to this day. Even after the wake-up call that night the weekend was dark and I had hit bottom. I took my daughter to her dad, I couldn't be a Mom at the moment, and I needed to be alone with my pain and figure things out. I couldn't believe how close I had come to ending my own life, how fast I got there, and how when I was there, it was like tunnel vision and nothing else existed. I prayed, well begged really, and I tried to find a light in my life and couldn't. I went to bed praying like never before for answers, for guidance, anything to save me and I totally surrendered and begged God, Spirit, whatever, to take over because I could not find the way out by myself. I didn't have much faith in what I was doing, but really I had nothing else. I knew if there wasn't something out there that could show me the way, I would be lost. I went to sleep, I don't remember dreaming that night, but when I woke-up I had tears in my eyes and I looked at the ceiling and was filled with joy like I had never felt. Somehow I knew where to start, I had a drinking problem and at that moment I knew I had something to work for and it gave me the will to get out of that bed, make a call to my counselor and start my journey.
As I sit here, in what seems like a completely different world than I lived that night, I am amazed at what changes it brought to my life. 16 years later I am still on the path of sobriety and I have learned many lessons and have been on a journey that continues today. As part of my recovery I wrote journals of my experiences, feelings, and what I went through as I healed. I would like to share 10 years of these entries and the process I went through to bring me to where I am today. I feel that people who don't go through a recovery process don't have an understanding of what people actually experience. It is not just about quitting our addictions, it's about finding out why we have them in the first place. And the people who have gone through a recovery program, I feel this is a way to know there are many others who are experiencing what you are going through. I feel that if you are reading this book, you are on a journey too, and if what I have experienced can help you in any way.... then we have shared a part of ourselves and we have grown! Enjoy, and may your journey be a wonderful experience for you.
My first journal entry is below, so many questions, so few answers at the time.... I was so confused. I was embarking on a search for someone I had never really taken the time to meet, to get to know and more important, to understand.... me! I didn't realize at the time that sixteen years later I would still be finding pieces of that person and putting pieces of the puzzle together.... but I do know that the questions got answers and as I answered them I bloomed like a flower with each petal being a layer that would open and show me the beauty of myself.
1/22/94 Boy, what a weekend! It sure didn't turn out like I expected. I wish I would have just come home last night after I called and he told me not to come over. I never dreamed he would have gone to stay with this girl. I have to face up and let myself know that he choose to be with another girl. It hurts so badly. I can't believe I want to work things out after that. How will I ever be able to trust him now? I have to think of all the bad things and not try to think of the good. I guess I only want to see the good because then I won't let it go. Most of all I don't want to be single again. Somewhere in me I feel that even a bad relationship is better than being alone and starting over with someone new. I can't imagine being with anyone else ... it really grosses me out ... but how can I sleep with him not knowing now if he slept with her? I have to remember the many times I sat here hurting, begging, pleading and crying because of him ... was there more of these times then there were good times? I've worked so hard at making this relationship work—and maybe I should have noticed how much work it took! Did it only last because I would give in or apologize and make things better? What part did he play? I don't know if he would have put in this much effort. And now that it is in his hands will he really think about it or will he just let it go and deny his part in it and run away like he does so often. Do I really want someone who will constantly hurt me? What I really want is someone who feels the same way about me that I feel about him, someone who adores me, who wants to be with me, who matches my passion for sex, for romance, for friendship ... someone who thinks of me when making decisions, someone kind and fun and likes to do things with me and that feels that he wants to spend every moment of the rest of our lives together, one where our top priority is our relationship and sharing it with each other. How many of these things I just wrote can I really honestly say I will get from him? And do I really want to settle for anything less? If I can't, then how do I let go—how do I stop the hurt?—How do I fill this empty place? I know I have to feel the anger, the pain, and the sadness right now and let the sore heal and eventually it will get easier. I will move on and take the lessons I learned with me. I know that God must have someone very special waiting for me ... I just haven't learned enough yet so that we can meet.
I struggle the most with control, trying to control everything so that I wouldn't feel out of control. I always felt that I had to do something, fix something, and be something I wasn't being so that everything would work out. I would find on this journey that the only way to be in control was to give up control ... hand it over, lean on the only power available, the power greater than anything else in our life, our Higher Power!
After that night, I went home and called my ex husband and asked him to take our daughter because I wasn't well and needed some time by myself. I spent the next two days in bed, trying desperately to figure out where to go next, how to live, how to not hurt and how to go on. I stayed in bed with the covers over my head in the dark so depressed and unhappy. I truly could not find something to feel good about. Please understand that I am not a depressed person I had always tried to find something good in all things, I had so much to be thankful for and yet nothing could shine through for me in those two days. Finally on that Sunday night when I closed my eyes and prayed that God could do something to help me feel better, help me to know where to go next.... I handed it over and said, Please God, I don't know what to do, I can't do this anymore! The next morning I woke, not knowing what I dreamed, what had happened in my sleep, but I sat up in bed with tears of joy streaming down my face and I had my answer, I had a drinking problem, it was so clear to me and that's where I needed to start.
1/23/94 Well today is the first day of the rest of my life, I finally figured out that I do have a drinking problem and alcohol has, over and over, been a factor in my life in a negative way. I woke up this morning and realized just what it has done to my life. I guess it took hitting bottom, one more great loss in my life to realize it—and maybe the price I pay—but I swear it won't take anything from me again. I move on as of today a new person and I thank God for saving me and helping me to realize everything I have today. All the times remembered, all the pain I've felt and all the pain I have caused people who were around me. I can't believe I haven't seen it before now. People told me, my therapist tried, but until I realized it no one could get through to me. I denied that alcohol was causing my problem; I realize that being an alcoholic doesn't mean being drunk from morning till night. It means that when alcohol starts to affect your relationships with those around you, your job, your schooling—you have a problem.
I got out of bed and called my counselor and we both cried and she said "Let's get started". From that day forward I worked with her, wrote in my journal and started to tear down the walls I had so carefully built. I searched endlessly to find the reasons I felt the need to escape into my addictions and why life scared me so much that I felt the need to be someone else, to put on masks, to be what others needed me to be so I would feel that I fit in.
1/29/94 I have to let go of this obsession that I have in my head to prove that he still wants me. I've made it clear to him how I felt and have done all I can to get him back. Now I have to back off and give him the space he needs to figure this out. I don't understand what is going on in his head, why is he not calling me, what is really stopping him from giving us a try? I wish he would just tell me what he has been thinking. Is he trying to prove something to himself or to me? Does he really believe we can't get past all the hurt and fights? I pushed him too far and lost him. But I also have to remember how he was. His actions didn't prove to me that he wanted to be in this relationship ... he ran away from serious things, he expected me to just know he loves me. Well maybe he just stayed with me because he didn't have the balls to get out. He still can't tell me it's over. He can't confront me and end this for good. Does he want me to just let it go so it is easier for him? I have really been a fool ... I've been chasing and I have given my power over to him. He is being mean and inconsiderate, why can't I see this and believe it. I am a stronger person than this and I can't believe I'm begging and chasing him like I am. I can do so much better—am I so scared of being alone that I would settle for such a lousy relationship.
Excerpted from Journey to Serenity by COLLEEN KAY Copyright © 2011 by Colleen Kay. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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