“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ― Anaïs Nin
About six months ago, this quote completely personified my mental state. I was wound so tight with anxiety and fear. I didn't like where I was or where I had been, but it was so painful to stay in the same state that I was in. And "nothing changes if nothing changes." I had been going to therapy regularly to deal with my anxiety & depression. I was a regular attendee at my weekly Nar-Anon meetings, and once or twice a week I’d be at my AA meetings. I became a regular member of a church I had been attending on and off for about 3 years. I had stacks of books in front of me about mindfulness and fear and codependency and addiction that I would pick up and put down many times throughout the week. And of course, I had my Facebook page, where every day I post my morning mantra or positive quote for the day. I had all the right tools in front of me. I had a partial acceptance as well. I knew something had to change in order to get better. I said so many times “I want to let go.” But I always followed it up with: "But I don't know how." I loved the sayings from my meetings, “Let go or be dragged” and “Let go. Let God.” They spoke to me because I knew that there was something still terrifying me and holding me back from something amazing and beautiful. I soon began to realize that fear was the prevalent theme for my pain. I was afraid of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
As Gabrielle Bernstein says in her book May Cause Miracles: “When we’re not aware of our fear, it takes residence in every area of our lives.” And that was the key. I knew there was chaos in my life. I knew something was wrong. But I wasn’t aware that it was fear. I didn’t even think to look inside myself for the problem or the solution. I thought surely it was outside circumstances tearing me apart and if I could just weather the storm a little while longer, I’d get to the good, safe part of life. Somewhere in the rooms, I heard a saying of the three A’s: Awareness, Acceptance & Action. Well, it took me a good 3 years of thinking and therapy to come to the conclusion that I was my own problem, but I got there. So I finally became aware. But then, it probably took about 6 months and some EMDR therapy as well as continued learning and researching and talking about my issues, for me to fully accept that I’m in a safe place now. I don’t have to be fearful anymore. And that there is a reason for everything that happens. Whether I’ll know the answers or not, there is a lesson to be learned. I finally accepted that I needed to change my thoughts in order to change my world. Now, I’m happy to say I’ve finally reached the action portion of my healing. I started volunteering. I quit my part time job that was making me miserable. I started my own company. And I started this blog & I'm currently working on turning it into a non-profit, so that I can help others in their transition from addiction to recovery. All things which I am extremely passionate about. All things which enable me to speak from my heart and do good, for myself as well as others. Gabrielle also states: “You must look at your fear head-on to recognize that believing its lies was a choice you made.” WHOA. Right?!?! Believing its lies… was a CHOICE… I made. Fear lied to me. Fear overtook my life. Fear was in every nook and cranny of every thought I ever had. But now... now I’m learning to replace fear with love and compassion.
I start each day with gratitude. I pray for my willingness to see the day as it has been planned for me, instead of trying to will it as I would like it to go. I ask for the wisdom and courage to see myself as I really am. I am not in control of anything in this world, except for my own thoughts and actions. It’s taken me years of playing the ‘fake it till you make it’ game, but it’s gotten me to where I am today. I’ve become courageous in my faith, knowing that if I take leaps, I’ll be caught. I am turning my fear into faith. My painful existence of a tightly wound bud no longer exists. I gave myself permission to believe again. I am allowing myself to bloom into who I really am. If you knew me before, that wasn’t really me. That was a scared version of me masquerading as a confident, put-together person. I still have so much to learn and grow and do. But I know now that this path I’m on is the most joyful path I’ve ever walked. I’m taking action to better my life and share my story to all who want to know how I went from a drunk, desperate, sad and terrified mess to sober, confident, peaceful & beautiful mess… ready to take the next steps, whatever those may be.
Until next time...