Why I Celebrate the Anniversary of my Overdose

I’m not a big birthday person. I like Christmas, but I wouldn’t say that I go into full-blown elf mode. Halloween is a good excuse to dress up and get drunk, but I wouldn’t say I’m crazy about it either. However, there is one specific holiday that I take quite seriously: my Overdosaverary. March 13 of 2018, I was admitted to the hospital following the consumption of many, many pills and I remained in the ICU for eight days to deal with my aggressively malfunctioning liver and my subsequent withdrawal symptoms. Now, March 13 is a day where I choose to celebrate my life, my friends and my happiness.

It’s interesting that on the anniversary of a day where I was willing to die, I feel so much more alive. Last year, I went for a low-key route. I had a small group of friends over, I baked a cake and we casually began drinking. This year, I’m planning on throwing more of a true party and decorating a cake with pill bottles filled with skittles. It is a wonderful example of coping through (dark) humour and I am embracing the strategy entirely.

Because I’m a person who remembers dates, there is no way that I would be able to get through March 13 without thinking of its significance. So, I choose to acknowledge that day in a way that somewhat trivializes the event, yes, but it also allows me to acknowledge the day with friends instead of being caught up in my own guilt.

Because I have a lot of guilt and shame surrounding who I was two years ago. There is a certain freedom in knowing what rock bottom feels like, or rather there is freedom in knowing that you can climb back up from rock bottom. But, for me, rock bottom was a suicidal drug addict with no friends who had failed all her classes.

And when I was admitted to the hospital, I wish I could say that I was scared. But, honestly, I felt little more than an annoyance for all the work that had been put into saving my liver and my life. I had given up on my ability to recover my sanity, my sobriety, my happiness and I felt undeserving of the resources and treatment I was being given.

Luckily, they were able to save my liver. But, at one point they were telling me to prepare for an airlift to a transplant hospital, at which point in time I told them that I would be willing to accept the liver. This realization did seem to break through my incredibly warped mindset, that I would have been willing to accept the organ of someone who had just died. More specifically, I, a person who was in this position because of the habits and actions I had at least some control over, would have been willing to accept the organ of someone who most likely would have preferred to be alive to use their liver themselves.

So, I celebrate my Overdosaversary because it is a day that could so easily become one where I ruminate on how terrible of a person I used to be, but instead, I have it be a day where I can focus on the connections that I’ve made, and hope to make, that reminds me of why I try to be a better person.