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#TBT - A story about taking back control and connecting in Sobriety

When I was in active addiction, the world felt cold, cruel and selfish. I was stuck in a loop, completely disconnected from everything and everyone, wallowing in my own pain.

It was like the 20th time I had relapsed (no joke! Getting sober was hard!) and I spent the day hungover in bed, mindlessly watching youtube videos, when I stumbled upon a video of a 19 year old girl who had a life threatening blood disorder, asking people to sign up to become bone marrow donors. If she did not find a suitable donor in time, she would die. With 30 million potential donors in registries all around the world, not one was a match.

And I just started crying. Here I was, destroying my own life and feeling sorry for myself, and there she was, suffering from something unimaginable that wasn’t her fault, that she didn’t deserve, and there was nothing more she could do about it except try to reach as many strangers as she could in the hopes that maybe one of them could save her life. The odds seemed so small, yet there she was, not giving up, doing everything in her power to save herself.

It made me snap out of my self-imposed victim state and gave me a massive reality check. My pain was self-inflicted, and the only one who could save me was me. And if she had the strength to fight, so should I.

10 minutes later, I signed up online to become a blood marrow donor, and was waiting to receive my swab kit in the following weeks. I was actually excited about it. Excitement wasn’t something I had felt in a long time.

Months passed, I received a letter asking if I wanted to donate blood. I was sober for a couple of months at that point and feeling low, so I figured it might cheer me up a bit to do something I would be proud of. It was a Wednesday evening, so took my daughter and went to the centre.

When I got there, I was so overwhelmed I just wanted to burst into tears. Dozens of people lined up, patiently happily waiting. Groups of teens, men in suits, women I would have previously instantly judged as self-centred if I had seen them on the street, a cashier that worked in the shop where I would buy wine (I used to think I was soooo much better than her), a father alone with his 3 kids, nurses and retired men and women volunteering their time.

That moment there, is when I realised that the world was not as selfish, cruel and cold as I thought, my world was. The world was also kind and compassionate and warm. It was the first time I reconnected with the outside world, that I experienced kindness from strangers, that I did something to help someone else and I was on a week long high. 

They gave me a little keychain that I’ve been carrying it around with me ever since. Every time I look at it, it makes me think of that courageous 19 year old girl, who was willing to fight for her life, with a smile, no matter what. I’m forever grateful for this lesson she thought me, without even realising it.



Hi, I'm Kat.

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