By Brittany Bass
A few things about me...I was born and raised right here in Austin, Texas. I struggled with clinical depression from as young as six, and formed unhealthy attachment styles based on wanting the approval of others and went to any lengths to achieve this. It became unhealthy by 7th grade when I was in a Catholic middle school and gained a bad reputation for being "unholy" and started to place my values and worth on the outside and how I looked.
I ended up getting bullied at that school, and confided in my teacher about thinking I had depression, which she ended up telling the whole class about. I found alcohol at 14, and also my love of opioids, which really all just made me feel a sense of connection I had been lacking for so long. I went to public high school, and it was on from there. I began getting drunk before class, passing out on my desk, getting alcohol poisoning often, and being taken advantage of by men.
I was an out of control teenager to two older parents who knew nothing of mental health or trauma. They did the best they could and sent me to wilderness treatment at 16. From then on out, I became institutionalized and went to 6 different treatment centers between 16-21. I landed at a heavy twelve step facility with no clinical support, but had a powerful experience with the steps. I felt alive again. However, ego took ahold of the wheel, and I didn't think being a "recovered woman" included transparency of current, real life human struggles. I relapsed again and began my now recovery journey of 8 years on March 26, 2012.
I believe I fully surrendered, because life itself got "messier", in the form of relationships, learning to talk to every day people, hold a job, and supporting myself. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I stayed the course due to my resilience and willingness to be completely transparent. I started seeing people in recovery as all on an even playing field, whether they had 1 month or 20 years sober. I lost my father, who was both my past greatest enabler and best friend, in 2016, and stayed sober. It was the one thing I had always said would take me back out, losing my father. However, beautifully and simultaneously, I had a three month old baby boy with my partner to look after. My dad's death and the birth of my child brought about a deeper meaning of life for me, an immortality of the human spirit, and the interconnectedness of it all. I am not rigid with my recovery pathway these days, for me it's about all of the healing, and the journey of getting there.