founder of naked leader
Time to Read: Doesn’t matter for this one
An email from Samantha…original, unchanged and with permission
Dear David and the rest of Naked Leader
I really want to say thanks, and you are right – what you do works!
I know it’s only been just over a week, but my whole world is significantly easier, and more changes have happened that I didn’t plan, or intend to happen!
As you may or may not know, I’ve struggled with substance abuse for years, it always exacerbates my underlying mental health issues – you could argue until the cows came home as to which came first of course!
I came a long way after the TEAM programme with the Trust in terms of believing in myself, and following my dreams. That’s what I say, and what is written about me. On paper, I’m particularly high functioning, to know I’m a bit of a mess!
I was awarded the Young Achiever of the Year in 2013: it was awesome, and was a great boost of morale for me. But I didn’t think I deserved it. I remember the day I got a message that I’d been shortlisted, and remember my first response: “but, I have just been discharged from being sectioned, I barely feel functioning, so I definitely don’t deserve that!” In a video, and in the press, it’s spoken about how I’d gotten help with my financial difficulties, and had tackled my substance abuse issues. Again, it seemed like I was such a fake, because I was still struggling so much!
It was the same when I was about to go onto training to become a Young Ambassador – it had become clear that my cycle of being okay for a few months had stopped and I wouldn’t have deserved to be a YA – how can you talk about how your life has changed when you still have so many of the negatives, and have had to crawl back to the dual-diagnosis team, attend AA meetings, and try to refrain from ruining things.
All year, I’ve been battling, and it’s been insane. I hadn’t managed to get back over three weeks sober. The impact on my life was becoming dangerous. I can’t remember which day it was in Feb, but I was on final warnings in both of my jobs; had submitted the wrong piece of coursework which failed the module; I smelt, slept too much/little, and wasn’t looking after myself – which is exactly what led to me being sectioned a few years before. It wasn’t great when it came to being a YA – “oh, I best let that opportunity pass, I’m not good enough for that! It was just so stupid!”
I still couldn’t trust myself to quite stay completely sober, but I thought I had found a way to not completely fall apart when I created a book of to do lists in a pretty neurotic manner: my housemate was like – “HOW many have you made?” “Enough for a month – do you want some?” 😛 But it was designed to manage the bad days. It did work, to some degree! I brushed my teeth, ate 3 meals a day, attended uni, and work. So long as I had popped it into the book, I would eventually sort of do it! But it was exhausting, it was like every interaction I had, every action I made – even those that should just be automatic – was so much effort. But I figured, that I’ve been trying all year to be less of a fake – so if this is working, maybe that means it will be hard now, but it will get easier.
This is SO long – sorry, but I’ve re-shifted my perspective on so much, but apparently not on my ability to be concise! That is OKAY! 😛
It feels like so much longer than a week, I read your book in one sitting, and carry it with me in my bag, but unlike the To-do lists, I haven’t needed to get it out. I feel enlightened – spiritually, or whatever. It’s as if something finally in my 25 years on this earth has just *clicked*.
*I haven’t had to leave the room/building whenever someone wants to drink to prevent myself from doing it too, because I just don’t feel like I want one too – that nagging *you need to not be sober* that kept me ostriching has never not been there atleast once in a day, but POOF – I don’t know where it is! I’m sure it will come back, but for now I’m enjoying this magic!
*I have been happy to walk the shortcut home despite the dealers recognizing me – ‘NO thank you’ is such an empowering thing to politely say, when you do *ACTUALLY* mean it.
*I’ve also accidentally given up smoking, which was very unexpected – I thought I needed that to deal with the stress of everything else, but I don’t.
*This will explain the lots of rambling background I added above: In terms of my role as a YA, for the first time all year I finally get it. I’m not unworthy of telling my story because I still have struggles. Being a Young Ambassador is about sharing how the princes trust helped me, of course. But it isn’t just about me, nor is anyone going to call me out for being a fake for still being human. I was stuck in the past tense with that ‘helpED’, which created the impossible picture that somehow I should be sharing a story clearly travelled from that was wrong, and now it is not – woohoo! That was wrong it isn’t like that at all, it’s about me being an example of how they helped me take steps to become a more functioning mess, but also how they gave me the skills on the course, and with their ongoing support to HELP (present AND future tense) with ALL of my life – which is what they do for everyone.
Sorry, It’s a long email, and these are early days, but I am so grateful because I generally can’t remember a time over the last 10 years where I’ve had a week of flat out happiness. Happiness isn’t an extreme emotion to me – it’s calm, peace, serenity. It’s really lovely, and I see why you do what you do – I want to give this feeling to everyone, because it really is OKAY.
From a grateful,