“For the phoenix to appear it must burn.” ~ Janet Fitch
Many were shocked when I relapsed after 23 years of recovery. I did everything I was told. I went to therapy, followed directions, prayed for help, and completed assignments.
After returning home from treatment, I entered a recovery program and received treatment. Again, I followed all suggestions. I never wanted to drink or do drugs, at least for a long time.
I was an emotional wreck when I went to therapy. I would have done anything to take the pain away. But the substance only intensified the pain and interfered with healing.
The worse I felt, the more I needed to treat those feelings, but that only prolonged my heartache and drove me to suicidal thoughts. I went from struggling to get out of bed to being fully engaged in my life.
But going to therapy was just the tip of the iceberg. Underlying my addiction was something I mistakenly thought could be resolved in a relationship. I kept looking for an answer, but I couldn’t find a magic formula.
Without a solution, a relapse was inevitable.
Most recovery programs deal with one addiction, but I had many. After two years of sobriety, I quit smoking, but then began compulsive exercise. I wasn’t healthy enough to move from one relationship to the next and attract someone who could work things out with me.
I didn’t realize that I was substituting addiction for love.
I wanted to make up for my troubled childhood, so I thought getting married and having kids would solve my problems, but after several attempts, it just made me feel more inadequate. To make matters worse, I felt like a therapist and a hypocrite.Self-help was like a part-time job
I have spent decades in various types of treatments, not only as a patient but also expanding my education in other modalities. I participated. I have been completely immersed in over 20 years of therapy, including psychoanalysis. My toolbox was overflowing, but somehow it felt choppy.
I didn’t realize these tools weren’t teaching me how to love myself.
My journey has led me to a lifelong spiritual quest. I found higher resilience. I attended various churches and did missionary work in Haiti. I went to Brazil, was healed by John of God (later convicted in multiple cases of sexual abuse), went on a spiritual quest in Peru, visited the holy sites of Israel, went to Fiji, and lived my destiny. I found it, but still felt something was missing.
I read and studied all the books on spirituality I could get my hands on course of miraclesbut I was still disconnected from myself and others.
Disappointed, I began to shy away from all sources of help. I have resigned myself to being an unhealed healer.
I didn’t realize all of the therapy and spirituality was just another form of addiction for me.
The relapse started when I got breast cancer and was prescribed opiates after surgery. I savored that forgotten high and made sure I took all my pills, whether they were necessary or not. I got
Instead of facing my fear of getting sick and moving forward in life, I made peace with my ex-husband. I cared little to nothing about how this would affect my children. Like dust in a vacuum, I allowed my thoughts to drag me back to unhealthy choices—even though I was feeling uncomfortable—throughout the treatment.
The next seven years were dark. My ex-husband passed away following another divorce, and I was grateful to take him home and care for him until his death. The house became a mass of black, burnt-out walls and me and my youngest son were forced to move to another place. is now required.
Three devastating hurricanes in two years have damaged our home and business. One had the foyer ceiling caved in, one had a large tree landed on the roof, and the third had what looked like the garden had gone through a giant blender.One of my businesses he We flooded it twice and had to throw it all away.
Soon after, our house was ransacked and robbed. The stress of managing repairs, insurance claims, childcare, and a full-time job made me feel like I was fire-and-drown.
I kept trying to improve, but I felt emotionally shredded from the struggle. I fell into I was tired of being challenged, tired of being hurt, and anger was building up inside me.
I stopped therapy, recovery meetings, spiritual quests and decided to drop everything. A rebellious runaway unfolded. I got married at 16, had a kid, and am now completely alone. I decided to go back to my pre-recovery lifestyle and live it.
Looking back, I lived a dual life of selfishness and a 30-year career of helping others. I had a self-will riot, but I couldn’t see myself. I’ve lived a life of making things happen, but at the same time wondering why my higher powers didn’t bring me all I wanted.
Spirituality is a difficult thing. It’s all too easy to think that God or some higher power is in control, but I believe that if you have free will, it’s a collaborative effort. if there is. Impatience was my Achilles heel.
My party life has added a new pile of problems: disappointed kids, bad judgment, broken relationships. It didn’t take me long to get to the same emotional bottom that took me to therapy 23 years ago.
I finally found the missing ingredient to a happy life.
The night was pitch black when I was emotionally disoriented from grief and substance. After a near-miss accident, I pulled into the parking lot and sobbed uncontrollably. I yelled. Why didn’t you help me? why don’t you love me ”
Immediately, a thought shot through my brain like an arrow through a cloud. “It’s not me who doesn’t love you. You don’t love yourself.” For the first time in his life he realized two things: not loving himself and even what it means to love himself I mean I didn’t know.
How do I learn to love myself? It never happened to me that I didn’t. But now, I was armed with the missing elements of my happiness and intended to figure it out.
Psychoanalysts are taught the importance of the basic needs of infants to be nurtured and bonded, but I have never applied those concepts to myself. So I had to learn how to meet my physical, emotional and mental needs, get proper nutrition, rest and activity, in addition to responsibilities, play time, creative and quiet. . Time, appreciation and appreciation, and a loss of tolerance for unkind behavior (with others), all of this is where I began my journey into self-love.
I let go of what I wanted and focused on doing the next right thing for myself and others. Peace enveloped me for the first time. I felt loved for being the love I always wanted.
I have always been a doer and thought of spirituality like getting a degree. Please follow the instructions. All fine. Whether that is true or not, staying sober is far more important than following a set of instructions. It’s important to find the higher powers, clean up your actions, apologize to those you hurt, and stop using them, but if you don’t know how to love yourself, you won’t be able to keep your cool.My higher powers became love
Right behavior and self-love are not the same. Loving yourself means appreciating the sunrise and sunset, snuggling up to your pillow and loved ones, acknowledging your universal intelligence, trusting the guidance of your conscience, discovering and loving your calling, and giving your body, mind, and soul It starts with nourishment.
Give your body harmless food. Feed your mind with positive and stimulating information. And nourish your soul with nature, good friends, healthy partners, and higher powers that (according to your own understanding) inspire and uplift you.
If you’re struggling to stay sober, you probably haven’t learned to love yourself. When he began to love himself like a little child, he lost all the substitutes for that godly love and finally blossomed and began to grow.
I have spent decades unsuccessfully discovering the missing ingredient for sobriety. I had to learn that love is not what I get. Love is an action I give to myself and others.
I receive love through being the love I desire. There is a difference between being sober and recovering. Learn how to love yourself like I couldn’t keep my cool. Then you can recover from the lack of self-love that underlies this tragic disease.
Being sober is not enough, life without happiness is meaningless. You should have lived a life full of love and joy. If you’ve tried everything and something is still missing, learn how to love.