Yesterday I turned 14 years sober. I like to say that alcohol was never my problem – but rather – reality was. I didn’t know how to live life on life’s terms. I always felt so much more at ease when I could put a buffer between me and the sharp edges of real life. And because I started drinking at age 14, I never really learned how to deal or grow up like ‘normal’ people. Anytime there was discomfort or pain – which at that time there was a lot – I’d self medicate. I didn’t have role models to take me by the hand and say ‘this is how we get through life’s hardships. This is how we process pain or loss.’ Instead I watched my dad evade his own life’s troubles by escaping with another woman – never to return, and at the same time I watched my mom crawl under a rock of depression and bury her own pain with beer or vodka.
Ancestral trauma manifests itself in different forms and often by way of varying mental health challenges. Addiction is a family disease. Alcoholism is one that not only impacts the individual suffering from substance use disorder but also the family.
I’ve seen some of the trauma directly but I don’t know what my grandparents, great grandparents or generations before them went through. This is the story of every human on earth – however some stories are more devastating than others. Obviously those damaged by slavery, colonialism, the holocaust and the like will suffer most, but I still wonder what my own family blood lines experienced and the trauma that may have occurred making it’s way down to me?
14 years ago I broke the pattern. After 25 years of partying I had to admit that ‘having fun’ was no longer really fun. I had a 2 year old child to raise for pete’s sake – and as a single mom no less…
But I stopped drinking long before it was a novelty or fashionable. I’m sad that due to the stigma I kept silent about my recovery for so many years. Admitting to myself that I had a dependency on booze and getting help was courageous, yes – but at the same time it brought me down in the self-esteem department. Instead of feeling empowered, I felt inadequate, flawed and broken. I would sometimes look at addiction from the eyes of someone who didn’t understand it, and it became the reason I stayed quiet – hidden in my low self-worth.
It took me a while to get into gratitude around my affliction. At first I didn’t see that my wound was actually the best part of me. And the fact that I am recovering from addiction is not who I am. With years of self-healing I do now see that I’m not defined by this. I’m just someone who doesn’t drink anymore!
If only I could go back in time to that newbie in recovery and tell her that 14 years later I’d view myself as a success as a parent to a wonderful 16 yr old boy, entrepreneur of 11 years, and a mindset coach helping others step out of fear and into living their best life. I would tell her that one of my joys is helping those who are still suffering, and in 2020 I’d be teaching women in recovery online during a pandemic!
If you are reading this and want to connect to talk about addiction feel free to email me.
If you’re a woman in recovery and are ready to take your life to the next level with more purpose and fulfillment check out my upcoming course ‘Infinite Possibilities & The Art of Living your Dreams’ starting on Sept. 9th. See info on the Events page.
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