How I took my power back and transformed my life in the midst of chaos and addiction.
By Jessi Franz
Have you ever had the feeling that you know you are meant to do something big, you know were meant to be someone great and to do something great, but you just don’t know exactly what that “something great” is?
I have had that feeling my entire life. Even at a young age, I knew in the depths of my soul that I was meant to do big things. I just didn’t know I would have to go through horrific obstacles to figure out what that “something great” was going to be.
I have always known I was different. I am what society calls, “the black sheep.” I don’t conform, I don’t typically fit in, and I strive to break the mold of what society deems acceptable for a woman. Maybe you have felt this way too? I spent my young childhood and teenage years just trying to “be normal.” I was constantly trying to fit into this bubble that wasn’t me. The thing is, no one knew who I truly was. I didn’t even know who I truly was. As I look back on my childhood and young teenage/adult years, it’s almost like I was having an out of body experience, just going through the motions.
As a young child, I was molested. That seemed to set the tone of the rest of my days as a child and my young adult years. My goal in life, as a young girl, was to keep secrets, put on a brave face, and not let my guard down. I learned quickly that if you look good, verbalize how happy and content you are and comply, people don’t question you. What I didn’t realize was that the demons I had been carrying with me for years would eventually rear their ugly heads in ways that I couldn’t imagine. That’s the thing about secrets, they keep you sick.
“My name is Jessi, and I am an alcoholic.” Something about that statement is so freeing. Here I am, 30 years old, and I have been sober for almost 7 years. In the world of socially acceptable drunkenness, where society promotes alcohol as a coping mechanism for having children, hating our job, and surviving family gatherings, I got sober at the age of 24.
To make a long, devastating, horrendous, heartbreaking story short, in a few years of drinking, I overdosed too many times to count, I wasn’t allowed to see my son, I lost jobs, driving abilities, had endless rehab stints, experienced seizures, ended up in jails and institutions, and was left for dead at my parents back door, raped, beaten and completely broken. I lied, I was a thief, I cheated and deceived. I was truly living in a hell on earth, and I wanted to die. I would wake up every morning just infuriated that I was still living. After a couple of suicide attempts, my family had me admitted.
I remember sitting in an abandoned house. My nose was bleeding because I was drunk and fell. That was the moment the world seemed to come to a screeching halt. That was the moment I was going to take my own life and succeed this time. This memory is ingrained in my brain, like something greater than me doesn’t want me to forget how bad it was. It was cold, it was in the dead of winter, and we had just had two feet of snow. There I was, sitting in this house, cold, with blood all over me, tears flowing down my face. I had the pills I needed, and I had the bottle. All I needed was to ingest both together and my pain would be over. Yes, MY pain would be over—but then I realized that the pain would carry on for those who love me. That’s the thing about addiction: We often think we are only hurting ourselves, not realizing we are causing immeasurable pain to those who love us.
I closed my eyes and thought of all the events that led me to where I was. I thought about all the hell I had put my loved ones through and how I would be doing them a favor by ending my life. What distorted thinking I had.
Next, I heard a noise. Someone was slowly walking up the stairs. This giant man walked into the room and saw what a mess his little girl was. My father had to see his baby girl sobbing, and I remember saying, “Dad, I just want to die, please dad, just let me die”. He held me. He just sat and embraced me. All he said was four little words, “I need you here.”
Then, Dr. Phil’s team calls. Yes, the Dr. Phil. My mom had been writing in to the television show for years. Let me tell you, when Dr. Phil asks you to be on his show, that’s when you know you’re life is really screwed up! Next thing I knew, I was on a plane to Los Angeles and appearing on national television. I managed to show the world the hot mess I was, said a few choice words to the Doctor, and was faced with the chaos and hurt of my life. It was rough. Talk about humbling! I was sick through the entire taping and, honestly, I hardly remember it. I was not drinking, but the withdraw symptoms were raging.
The last thing I remember about the taping was toward the end, when he said, “Let’s get your son back. Will you accept the help?” And it was almost like I was having an out of body experience again. It was in that moment that I knew this was the beginning of the life that I was meant to have. It was time to take my power back and transform.
Needless to say, I accepted the help, and I haven’t turned back since. I faced my truths, worked tirelessly to heal from my trauma, and spoke of things that I swore I would carry to the grave.
For the first time, I heard the birds sing, I could feel the wind on my face and connect with something far greater than myself—and I was grateful for another day to be alive. I took a deep breath, allowing my lungs and my body to take it all in, and the feeling of gratitude was indescribable because—for the first time—I was truly and undeniably alive.
Today, I am a mom to four kids, and I have a husband who cherishes me and cheers me on. I have made it my life’s mission to help others in all walks of life. I use my past experiences, the challenges that I have overcome and education to walk with others on their journeys. The pain and the darkness that I survived through has now allowed me to create this beautiful life of walking with others, hand-in-hand, as they discover who they were created to be. My ugly truths have created this magnificent life that I get to live today. My journey surely wasn’t pretty, but my transformation is greater than I could have ever imagined.
Tracee Ellis Ross stated in an interview: “I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” Today, let’s be inspired. Today, let’s not let fear win. Today, we will receive what the beauty of the world is giving to us with thankfulness, grace, and intention.
I always knew I was designed to do big things. The same is true for you! It is never too late to start the climb to reach your destiny. Those big things that you were created to do are waiting for you. The world is waiting for you. Don’t lose your authentic self to a world that desires you to conform. Close your eyes, envision the life you want, take a deep breath, and jump. It’s time to transform. God speed.
Jessi Franz is the wife of an amazing, supportive husband, TJ, and she has four beautiful children. She is a public speaker, university graduate with my BA in Behavioral Sciences, certified Master Life Coach, Recovery Coach, Relationship Coach, Goal Success Life Coach, Happiness Life Coach and Life Purpose Life Coach. Jessi has made it her life’s mission to help as many people as possible, in all walks of life, to find peace during chaos and confidence in their authentic Self, and to help them embrace their personal journeys. She has completed extensive studies on many therapeutic techniques to help beautiful souls overcome adversity, whatever it may be, and to reach their full potential. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.