Lindsey Higgins, Mich Pottier and
Duncan the dog | photo by Woody LeLand

Lindsey Higgins

South Portland, Maine

“My disease started with feeling really uncomfortable”

Lindsey narrates her story of what led her to alcoholism and addiction and her journey towards recovery. “I grew up in a small town in Northern Maine. I remember not feeling a part of my skin and body. In a small town, I felt very out of place. I was seeking relief and comfort. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that I was very uncomfortable. I remember feeling manger and sadness. All the discomfort and unease that I was experiencing, I didn’t understand that other people in the world experienced it. I suffered alone. That was so painful to me. I moved a lot to seek relief quickly. I sought places where I could drink and use like I wanted to. I created this life where no one was holding me accountable. I lived in South Korea for eight years, teaching English. South Korea, Seoul was a place where you can drink on a Tuesday night until 4:00 AM. I thought I was fooling people and that I had it fi gured out. In reality, it was not the case. I desperately wanted someone to hold me accountable. The people that were drinking with me were drinking a lot, but somehow my drinking was on another level. I started to realize that I was drinking differently. I was always the one that would need that extra bit when I got home. I could watch myself progressing, and it got a little scarier. I didn’t know how to make friends or connections without some relief or substance. It progressed to a point where it was way out of my control. Drugs became an essential part of my story. That’s what brought me to the place of desperation for help. I found a solution in London; a 12-step program. I started to hear other men and women talking about their experience, and I  didn’t feel so alone. That was huge for me because I’d been suffering alone and trying to control it for so long. I’ve learned that recovery is progressive as well. As the years move forward, things get easier.” “We’re not so unique. We’re all human beings. As an addict and an alcoholic, finding a connection is hard for me. I have to work at it. You don’t have to fi x it all today. Progress comes in little steps. I do a little something today, and it gets a little easier tomorrow. Do one thing differently today.Making friends does not come easily to me. I have to commit to calling one person when I’m feeling that unease.” I have important sources of support and it’s evolved over the years. “It has been really beautiful as it’s evolved. Today it looks like calling a sponsor daily, building a spiritual practice, showing up and exercise. Having a community, focusing on food and nutrition, and taking care of my body is important for my journey too. Do little things like reaching out to friends. I go to
meetings too.”

How have your aspirations evolved?

“I’m an artist and a theatre director. It was very disruptive at first when I was using and drinking. There was a lot of people-pleasing. Today, I’m learning how to be an artist that plays and creates. It looks like not needing to please everyone anymore. Internal peace, serenity and joy in my home is the goal.”

Final thoughts?

“There’s so much joy and peace to be found that we’re not able to see when we’re in the throes of addiction. No matter where we are, our recovery is possible.”

– As told to Journey team member ,Mary Atwood