From Junkie to Juggernaut

So, let me just tell you a little something about that “Junkie” you sit back and judge from that saddle you ride so high. That “Junkie” is someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s parent, someone’s lover; that “Junkie” is SOMEONE WHO MATTERS! That word “Junkie” churns the very pits of my soul.

When I hear that term I can literally feel, all over again, the emotions I felt the first time I was called that disgusting word. Shamed, degraded, dirty, discarded, abandoned, unloved…all felt simultaneously, but I guess those are the feelings that were intentionally invoked by calling me that vile word. And perhaps what cut the deepest was hearing that word slip so loosely from the lips of the person I admired most. You see, at that point in my life, I was at my very lowest. Broken, beaten, hopeless, alone… completely shattered!  And when you’re already in fetal position with your face buried in shame behind your palms, the last thing you need is to be kicked while you’re down.

People will look at you and see the monster you have become, but never do they stop to question, “why?” “Why did you turn to drugs? What happened to you?” I have been sober for 14 years now, and to this day no one has EVER asked me those questions. Frankly, I’m not sure that anyone cared to know. Hell, they probably still don’t. But you know what? I DO! I care because I want to heal. I care because I know that in recognizing those triggers within myself, I can assure that I never make the same mistake again. I care because I’m tired of watching those I love become statistics. I care because I want to help others who are lost on that lonely road just as I once was.  I care because I live and love from my heart, in all of its purity! I care because I LOVE those misunderstood souls that this twisted, self-righteous, judgmental world calls “Junkies” because I see myself in them. And do you know what else? For once in my life I finally love ME! I have worked very hard to overcome many obstacles in my life. I have grown from a weak-minded “Junkie” to a fucking Juggernaut, and I dare anyone to try to stop my shine!

Within the process of self-healing, I have learned the importance of allowing ourselves the time needed to reflect on our personal growth and progress. Take time to appreciate your victories, for in those moments, you may find additional healing in ways least expected. Learn to appreciate the small steps you have taken equally as much as you admire your greatest leaps and bounds. Understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with self-love and being proud of your accomplishments. SELF-LOVE DOES NOT EQUAL SELFISH, and taking the necessary time to reflect within will allow you to learn your strengths and weaknesses in order to see where you still need to focus on improvement.

If you want to know what you are really made of, stand beneath the light in front of a mirror, and rather than looking at the image portrayed before you, stare into the shadow instead. What do you see behind the mask you wear? I will tell you that it is within that very darkness that you will find the key to unlocking the chains that imprison your soul, but you must first have the courage to face the demons of your past. You must be braver than your fears in order to free yourself from the attachments that hold you hostage. Self-reflection allows you to grow, to find solace, love, acceptance and healing, for your purpose is often found within your pain.  Your journey is yours and yours alone! Although soul work is not easy, it is detrimental to our well-being.

It has taken me a very long time to realize that. I have had to do a lot of soul-searching to come to the understanding that the only way to truly heal is to own my life experiences. So own your truth! We have all been through something traumatic at some point in our lives that changed us. But being victimized does not make you unworthy of love, nor does it mean you have to BE a victim forever. Thinking of yourself in that manner is more harmful than helpful to your personal growth and mindset.  That weakened state of mind is what led me to making some of the most horrible decisions I have ever made in my life.  But, we ALL make mistakes, and those who say they have not, well, I say they haven’t done much living. Sure, some of us make bigger mistakes than others, but it does not mean we have to live the rest of our lives hiding in embarrassment of our choices. Accepting who I really am has taught me that the only person I need to impress is ME, and I am extremely proud of myself! Stand proud in your truth and the lessons you have learned along your journey. Do not be afraid to share your story because you never know who you may be helping by doing so. No one is perfect, but we are perfect in every imperfection.

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Birth of a Phoenix

I am not that petrified little girl I once was.

I have picked up my sword to slay the beast more times than I care to admit.

And although he may have won a round or two, the final victory is mine.

A fiery-souled Goddess was forged from those expiating flames,

and I will never surrender before defeat

for it is impossible to kill that which burns to live.

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It Rained Today

I gaze upon a cloudless sky, a vastness of blue as far as the eyes can see.
The melody of chirping birds echoes beyond this field of silence.
I find comfort beneath the shade of a weeping willow,
and am reminded of the seedling you planted in our yard that day.
The sun is playing hide and seek between the swaying branches,
casting shadows upon my skin while the wind softly tousles my hair.
I sit there with a pen in hand staring at a blank page when a nostalgic scent fills the air.
My mind is submerged in distant memories of times filled with love and laughter,
and suddenly I feel a tiny droplet of water fall onto my hand, then another.
I open my eyes and look towards the sky 
only to find that the beauty of it all remains the same.
There is not a cloud in sight and the sun is shining even brighter than before.
As I brush the hair away from my face, I feel dampness upon my cheek.
It was then that I realized those velvet dewdrops were tears I had shed,
the wind blowing through my hair was your gentle fatherly touch,
and the warmth I felt upon my skin was but the closeness of your being.
I sighed as I was reminded that another day has passed, and you are still gone.
And with not a single cloud in sight, it rained today, as it often does within the depths of my soul.

In honor of my Father, Freddie J. Daigle, Jr. 2/2/1964 – 3/1/2003
RIP Daddy…see you on the other side

Happy Father’s Day!

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Unshackled

Women, generally speaking, are emotional creatures by nature. Some deem empathy a curse, others a powerful gift. Nevertheless, we feel every sentiment as deeply as we feel every chastising word…down to our very core. Each blow endured by the broken-hearted forged the piecemeal armor that now adorns our delicate skin. Yet a kind word and gentle touch from a kindred soul has the power to throw all inhibition out the window. We are but living, breathing, paradoxes…one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

We often guard ourselves so relentlessly that we actually block the greatest gift of all…LOVE. We build walls so high that even the most skilled climbers come crashing down before reaching the summit. Sometimes, we become so bitter that we conclude an opinion about men in general, forming the very stereotypes we, ourselves, oppose. But, there are also those who are brave enough to give love another chance. The ones who never turn their backs on love because we know in our hearts that there are still good people in this world. Though we are not without flaws either.

Women like us have the ability to conceal emotions as if we’ve never known heartache at all.  But often times, things occur that remind us of the pain we’ve buried within our bones. Those suppressed memories then float up to the surface where we relive them all over again causing us to compare, to remember, to feel the very things we’ve avoided. Unfortunately, it may also cause us to inadvertently hold the person we love accountable for someone else’s mistakes. This is an extremely unjust situation!  (It is also why self-healing is vital to our growth!)

We sometimes tend to forget that men too, can be emotional and vulnerable. They carry sorrow like heavy baggage, much the same as we do. Although they are often better at keeping their feelings at bay, we need to remind ourselves that they too have experienced heartbreak, betrayal and loss. We must remember to show compassion to one another when words fail, and to have patience with each other when insecurities prevail. You see, we’ve all been devastated at some point. That is why it is imperative to heal and to love ourselves so that we may lead those who love us by example. Unchain your heart from the shackles of past trauma. Elevate one another and give your love a chance to blossom into something beautiful.

-Dena Daigle, Phoenix Ascended

Haunting Recollections

syn·chro·nic·i·ty
ˌsiNGkrəˈnisədē/
noun
  1. the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

“Synchronicity . . . consists of two factors: a) An unconscious image comes into consciousness either directly (i.e., literally) or indirectly (symbolized or suggested) in the form of a dream, idea, or premonition. b) An objective situation coincides with this content. The one is as puzzling as the other.” [“Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,” ibid., par. 858. – Carl G. Jung]

With that said, today’s synchronistic events highlighting Addiction have brought up some mixed emotions from my past.  14 years sober and I should be proud of myself…at least that’s what I’m being told today. But I’m not “proud” of anything. I don’t feel like I did anything special or profound to be proud of. It was my choice to start using in the first place, just as it was my choice to decide that life was much more beautiful without heroin.

Instead of feeling “proud of myself,” I’m reminded how and why my addiction began. I’m reminded of the man that supposedly loved me, yet left me there overdosing, and how he eventually lost his life. I’m reminded that I could’ve been laying there in cold blood beside him had I continued my path of self-destruction.  I’m reminded of the dwindling list of faces I call “friends” who have lost their lives due to the poison coursing through their veins.  I’m reminded of the countless families suffering the loss of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.  I’m reminded that an innocent child will never know what it’s like to have her mother because she chooses her next fix over the starry-eyed beauty she created.  I’m reminded of a Mother with declining health who, not only has a daughter in jail, but now raises her grandchild while enduring her own battles. I’m reminded of the darkness and how it almost snuffed my flame.

These haunting recollections are kept locked away in the basement where very few visitors get the opportunity to enter.  You see, I keep people behind the red ropes of the museum that is my mind and only show them the exhibits I want them to see.  But I’m tired of being silenced by fear. I’m tired of hiding my past in fear of judgment. I’m tired of seeing those I care about losing their lives because their addiction is hidden from the world by the very people who “love” them.  And I’m tired of carrying the weight of my shame on these shoulders.

So, no, I’m not proud of myself…but I am grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned, for the driving forces pushing me to continue writing, for the beautiful souls I have met along this journey, and for the shunned addicts whom my voice is now an advocate for. I’m thankful for finding my life’s purpose! – Dena Daigle, Phoenix Ascended

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Astral Navigation

I am a traveler amongst the galaxies, a wanderer on the path obscured,

a bohemian spirit who’s lost her way in the twilight a time or two.

But you see, my dear, darkness is not a place that we should fear.

It is in that desolate place we bury our broken bones

and strengthen our weary hearts for the journey.

Solace is found in the darkest hours by recognizing the light within ourselves.

The winding road that leads to enlightenment is not paved,

nor is it outlined on a map guiding us to the celestial heavens we seek.

Our souls come equipped with internal astral navigation,

but we must silence the mind in order to follow its directions.

-Dena Daigle/Phoenix Ascended

Ghost in the Shell

Someone once inquired about my earliest childhood memory.  In that moment, my mind became a viewfinder, clicking reels of vivid images.  My brain immersed in scenes changing rapidly before my eyes; some were whimsical fairy-tales, while others were shrouded in darkness.

I can still feel the butterflies taking flight in my tummy when I experienced my first kiss.  On the contrary, I can still feel the cold steel as it pierced my vein for the first time in an effort to numb the pain I had endured.

Along that hallway of despair, somewhere between the darkness and the light, I lost my way.  I suppressed emotions with quick-fixes and thrived on debauchery.

That radiant girl bursting with enthusiasm for life became the ghosts of her memories past.  A shell of existence longing for more…

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Echoes From Dead Trees

Such a timid girl I had become; disconnected, afraid of the world; a simple girl and her words longing to be heard, but whose voice was trapped in a stranglehold.  That fear became my driving force in claiming my birthright as a writer.  My pen became my greatest weapon, spilling from it the things I was so desperate to say.

My voice now echoes loudly from dead trees, reaching other fractured souls like mine.

Heed my words sweet girl, “Do not let this cruel world harden your heart, its delicacy is what makes you beautiful.  Do not let the daggers that slip from loose lips cut too deeply.  You are perfect in every imperfection, for the careless thoughts they mutter are merely self-reflections.”

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