Living Your Illuminated Life - Part 3 of 3

Illumination Can Happen When You Least Expect It

My baby sister is ten years younger than I am. I noticed when she
was about 17 there was something that was different about her. I
couldn’t quite put my finger on it. She was shrinking from being the
fun-loving person she always was. Her eyes changed. Her posture sunk.
Her conversations were short. She wouldn’t look me in the eyes.

She would disappear for days at a time. There was something covering
her light. I suspected what IT was. IT was the taboo thing that no one
wanted to talk about. And my family didn’t. We wanted to believe it was
something different. IT was drugs. IT was meth. My baby sister was now
18 and a meth addict. When I said that for the first time it felt as if
my chest would collapse. I couldn’t believe it. How could this happen?
What did I do to make this happen? What did my parents do? I was
looking for anything or anyone to blame.

The next two years taught me to see light whenever possible.
Whenever the phone rang late at night my heart would sink. I dreaded
answering the phone. Was it the police telling me she was arrested?
Busted? Or an overdose?  What was worse, getting a call that she
overdosed or the possibility that this hell would continue for years to
come? What happened to my baby sister? And why couldn’t I stop it? That
was the question that really tore me up. If I made a difference, why
couldn’t I make the difference for her?

My family did an intervention. Lillian moved in with me to get her
away and into a new environment that could maybe save her. We searched
for a detox, rehab, therapy, anything we could find and afford.
Pleading with people at the facilities to help her didn’t help. It all
cost money, money we didn’t have. Some programs were $5,000, some
$30,000. Then I found one 40 minutes away that cost $1,800 and their
success rate was incredible I thought it was too good to be true? The
two young men who ran the program were recovered addicts themselves.
They were clean. They had their life back. For the first time I saw
light in this situation. When I saw that my sister had hope, the light
got brighter.  Another creation out of what appeared from nothing,
except the possibility and commitment to move forward.

During this process, Lillian and I had the talk. It was the talk
that changed everything for me. She explained to me what it was like to
have a withdrawal and to think of anything she could do to make it go
away. The thought process she would go through to justify why she knew
another fix wouldn’t solve it and the guilt that would come when she
did because she wasn’t strong enough to stop. She looked at me and I
couldn’t hold it back anymore. What she described was something I knew.
I had the same thoughts and just carried it out differently. My drug of
choice was food. That process of thinking was exactly the cycle I had
lived for almost ten years. The hunger, the knowing it won’t fulfill
you, doing whatever it takes to get it, then feeling guilty because one
more time IT won. I spent two years being angry, judgmental and scared
only to discover we were the same. Our behavior was the same. The guilt
was the same. The self judgment was the same. The isolation felt the
same. In that very moment, all of the anger left. It disappeared. My
illumination got brighter. So did hers. The magic began when we started
illuminating together.

I learned that even when circumstances seem impossible, believing in
someone is sometimes the only thing we can do. It’s never too late. 
Here was another miracle out of what appeared to be nothing. Lillian
created her life from what she saw as nothing. That day we took a stand
to do whatever it took to prevent one more woman from experiencing that
cycle of addiction. Lillian and I made a pact to each other to be a
committed stand for women to heal, be whole and to illuminate. It
started with us first.

has been clean since March 26, 2006. She beat all odds. According to
meth stats she should be dead, in jail or still using. She made the
difference in her own life. She made the difference in my life. Her
illumination ignites possibilities she isn’t even aware of for those
around her. She is a walking miracle.

I see that the gift of creating something out of nothing is in my
blood. It’s in my heart. It’s who I am. It’s who I am because these
powerful women have inspired me to jump off the edge of the cliff
KNOWING I can fly. Even when I forget that my natural state is to soar.

Lillian and Mom swinging
Lillian and Mom swinging

begins with one woman in one moment who believes in the possibility
more than the illusion of current circumstances. It starts with the
tiny pebble in the ocean that creates the ripple. Women are the change
makers. Illumination starts within and it starts with us. We have the
power and the right to shine no matter what.  To be illuminated is
different for every woman, but regardless when we join together, the
light is unstoppable. It’s time to unite. It’s time to illuminate.

One woman can make a difference. It takes just one light for many to see.

Thank you to my sisters, friends and soul sisters for illuminating my life so I could brilliantly shine.

Authors Note:  Details in this article were printed with
permission by the relatives of Angela Johnson, CEO and Founder of
Illuminated Woman.


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