As much as I would like my life to move in a linear fashion, from point A to point B with little to no resistance or deviation, I have found that this is just not the case. No matter how much I try to organize my life in a manner that will result in the least amount of issues presenting themselves, I find that something always occurs that changes my plans and results in me having to change course midstream and readjust.
Healing does happen in phases; we just don’t always know which phase is coming next.
Just like it has taken significant time, energy, and effort to begin to change the negative self talk in my head to positive self loving talk. Healing has been an at time overwhelming process. There have been so many days when I just wanted the pain to stop, to not have to feel a single emotion again. But I have not given up, I have continued to hack away at the layers of pain that surround my heart.
To be honest, as annoying as this can be at times, I am actually kind of grateful for it, because I remember when my life was the same day in and day out and my world was so small that I felt as if I control all of the moving pieces. I knew what time I’d get drunk and I knew what time I’d get high. I knew what time I would have to do this chore or that, and it was almost as if my life was on autopilot, reeling through years that I was too numb to feel.
I remember when no healing occurred in my life because whenever any feeling would come up that stood in contrast to my anesthetized psyche, I would pour more drugs or alcohol into myself in order to remain numb. I would tell myself, I have to do this. I just can’t deal with my past today, I’ll do it tomorrow, but yet tomorrow never came and weeks, months, and years passed in a similar unhealthy fashion.
Then I got sober and I had to face my past. I had to stand squarely in front of the damage I had caused and the damaged caused to me and let it wash over me, with all of the emotions that it brought. I had to stand there and feel—and feel I did.
It felt terrible at first. Almost every day of my early sobriety was like an emotional rollercoaster. I’d be petrified by fear and in the next moment I’d be happy. I’d be angry beyond measure and then I’d be sad. I felt like I was losing control, and in fact I was, because through the process of feeling and having to sit with my hurt and wounds, I let go of the need to control and stifle the healing process.
I discovered during these early days of recovery that the beginning of the healing process is usually pain. As the saying goes, ‘pain is the touchstone of all spiritual experience’ and since I mostly needed to heal from the trauma of my past, a lot of pain came my way.
Luckily though, the pain didn’t last forever, which looking back now I’m pretty sure I was afraid that it would. I think part of the continuation of my addiction was the fact that I knew when I stopped drinking or using, the voices screaming in my head, reliving my past, would always return, and so I was afraid that without drugs or alcohol they would never subside. I was afraid that my alcohol and drugs were the only things keeping them at bay and I didn’t understand that this was only a half-truth and that they were in fact keeping me from truly healing. So in fearing the initial pain of feeling, I continued to drink and drug and only prolonged the inevitable healing that was necessary to move past this.
In order to work through this painful phase of the healing process though I had to do work, which was something that I always missed every other time I’d tried to get sober. I had to seek professional help through therapy, and I had to seek help in a 12 Step fellowship, and in doing these two things I was able to navigate the pain and come out the other side to peace and healing. I was able to re-establish a relationship with God and I was able to experience what it is like to have a friend in something that powerful and that omnipotent.
The story doesn’t end there though, nor did the healing process. Just because I made it through my initial bout with pain and hurt, doesn’t mean that I was saved from every feeling it again, or that I was saved from feeling it in regards to things that I had already started to heal from. No, the healing process for me ebbed and flowed, it went back and forth, and sometimes I felt peace in a situation, I felt like I had reached an understanding that would finally set me free, only to find myself the next day right back in the muck, wallowing around in self-pity and fear.
Why this is I am not entirely sure. The only thing I can think of is that I within the healing process I sometimes get ahead of myself. I start to feel good about a situation and I believe that those good feelings with last forever, when in fact I still have a long way to go. I can only see what I can see in that moment and I only know what I know and a lot of the healing that I have had to go through ran fairly deep in me and was hidden under layers of coping mechanisms and lies. Once I made it through one layer, I felt I had arrived, only to have the path light up yet again showing me just how far it stretched off into the distance.
Most of the time I have found that my process of healing has been me groping around in the dark looking for answers. Since this is the case I sometimes grab a hold of something that helps me move forward and other times I grab something that seems to take me back, but the important thing in all of this is that I continue to seek for answers and continue to try to heal. I continue to try my best regardless of what direction I feel I am moving in and I have found that this has made a world of difference in my life.
Rose is a regular guest blogger on Surviving My Past, and someone I admire greatly for her honesty in sharing her story and her desire to inspire and validate all who read her work. If you would like to share your story and write a guest blog post, just contact me anytime.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram
This all is very true! Although there is one side of addiction that many people fail to understand. That is, not everyone who gets addicted to prescription drugs are addicts. There are people who have been prescribed drugs by doctors for, quite often, years (in my case 30+ years). After all, doctors are the educated ones, and we as patients look up to them for help. I put my complete trust in my doctors, as I thought there was something very wrong with my brain because I was told I had a chemical imbalance. I kept trying to get off these drugs for years but never could. So, I lived my life on addictive prescription drugs that numbed me and kept me in a cycle of continued abuse and trauma. I didn’t realize the shame and self-blame I carried with me since my very early childhood, which kept me in a life-long mode of making unhealthy choices, not only for myself but for my loved ones as well! Coming to understand why I was prescribed these drugs in the first place has been so healing! I don’t consider myself an addict now that I have successfully come off the 30+ years of prescribed medications. Having said this, I am not blaming doctors. After all, they were trained to prescribe these medications and to tell us that we have “chemical imbalances.” Truthfully, there is no clinical evidence or test that backs this theory, and it is only a theory. When in reality, it is the trauma that happened to us. Thanks so much for posting your story.
Thank you for taking the time to read and for sharing your personal experience. I commend you for you work and how you have moved towards your own healing as well!
What a POWERFUL piece. Thank you, Rose… for sharing your incredible gift with all of us today (and on other days). I admire the honesty and transparency in your voice. Thank you, Matt for sharing such truth on your blog.
Thank you Athena for the feedback it has taken me years to get here and I still have a long journey ahead but for today I am finding more and more peace. Thank you Matt again for this opportunity
As a csa survivor I can so relate to what you’re sharing with us in this article. The relationship between avoidance of the pain through addiction and how the only way to recovery is to go through it. Thank you for sharing your journey to recovery with us.
Hi Derek, Thank you for taking the time to read this piece and I am so happy to hear that you have also found your way through the pain as well!!