Ready to really live for first time

Renee Napier Guest columnist

All my life I have felt like I couldn’t measure up. I never felt good enough no matter how hard I tried. No matter how good my grades were, how hard I tried to care for my family while we faced a lot of insanity in our lives, no matter what I did, I was never good enough.

I had to dodge a lot of bullets as I was in the center of a very chaotic childhood where, inevitably, the blame was shifted onto me. The problem child. The scapegoat. Before I ever ventured into the abyss that is addiction, I was set up for failure.

Then it happened. I found a way to alter my consciousness. I was free. As it progressed, my desperation became unbearable and my pit of despair got deeper and wider.

For 19 years I spent my life chasing a dream that was no more than an illusion of normalcy. I wanted to feel like I fit in somewhere. I never felt like I belonged to anything. I was a vagrant in the world of the average wandering aimlessly in search of something to fill that hole deep inside me.

I tried to fill it with drugs, sex, money, relationships – countless vices that left me feeling even more empty and alone. I was a slave to the pleasure pathway. I just wanted to feel like I was something.

I kept a foot in two worlds. In one world, I was a hard worker, an aspiring psychologist with a dean’s scholarship to Wilmington College trying to maintain, but it was all a facade. In reality, I was doing anything to get high. Selling my soul to the devil on a day-to-day basis. This continued for years. I had repeated jail sentences, three felonies, countless numbers of misdemeanors, and I just couldn’t stop.

Then, something changed in me. I found myself. I decided that I didn’t want to be a statistic, a number, or a stack of papers on a probation officer’s desk. I am Renee Napier and I am a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman.

I am honored to be a participant in the “You-Turn” Recovery Docket. I am beginning to see that I have an immense amount of support and tools and all I have to do is use them. It’s really that easy.

It was an “ah ha” moment for me when I realized that I was my worst enemy. I stood in my own way. It was nobody’s fault but my own. My fear of rejection and fear of failure has caused me nothing but rejection and failure.

I finally learned, on an emotional level, that I decide my fate and craft my destiny. It’s really a freeing feeling to realize that I really can change my future and I am not doomed to be that “useless junkie” that I once was.

All I have to do is take it one day at a time, one step at a time. I have a tendency to seek instant gratification. I stand at the base of a winding staircase and I want to see all the steps (and what’s at the top).

I learned that if I do take it one step at a time, eventually, I will get to see the whole staircase. The important thing to remember is to focus on doing the next right thing.

As long as I strive to be just a little bit better each day, then I am doing my job. I still struggle, I am far from perfect. But today I am a little bit stronger, a little bit better, and a little bit closer to filling that hole that has plagued me for years.

It’s all up to me. And today my decision is to seek out the beautiful things in life, love deeper, smile more, and above all, LIVE. For the first time in my life.

Renee Napier, of Danville in Highland County, is a participant in the “You-Turn” Recovery Docket, a specialized docket within the framework of Clinton County Common Pleas Court. The docket is designed for those charged in the court who suffer from alcohol and other drug addictions. The program diverts low level or first-time offenders into intensive court-monitored supervision and professional treatment instead of jail or prison.

Renee Napier Guest columnist Napier Guest columnist