My Recovery

Hello loves, it’s been a while! I’ve just written a post for my FB community group and it occurred to me that the words might make a good blog post too, why not hey. Over the last few months and now that I’m 6 years 1 month and 1 day sober….. a total of 2,222 days (actually that’s a lie but just pretend I’m writing this yesterday when it was all the 2’s) I’ve come to realise that I am indeed ‘in recovery’. I’ve been considering what the word ‘recovery’ means to me and maybe you might consider what it means to you too, if anything at all.

When I first gave up alcohol I considered myself a ‘grey area drinker’ not an ‘alcoholic’ as traditional recovery methods define it. It wasn’t a label that resonated with me, or that I would have found helpful. I wanted to feel like I was making a positive choice, not that I was powerless and had no choice. That still rings true because I chose to stop drinking, no one forced me to. There was no rock bottom or dangerous behaviour that forced me to stop – putting aside for one moment the obvious: that alcohol is toxin that i was putting in to my body. I wanted to stop, I wanted to experience life without alcohol. The line of social drinking was beginning to blur and I realised that alcohol was taking up too much space in my head, so I chose to cut off the snakes head there and then before it got an opportunity to bite.

“Whether we realize it or not, it is our woundedness, or how we cope with it, that dictates much of our behavior, shapes our social habits, and informs our ways of thinking about the world.”

― Gabor Maté, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic

Because of the mindset I had then, i chose not to talk about ‘being in recovery’ because the only time I’d really heard that phrase was in the AA sense of being in recovery and living one day at a time. I understood it and how it could be helpful, but it still didn’t sit well with me, i couldn’t identify with it. It didn’t feel like my truth until I started doing my own relational/developmental trauma therapy about 3 years ago. It was then, realising how deep and how far back my wounds go that I realised MY recovery journey was about recovering my WHOLE self, recovering my wholeness… and so my healing journey began. In that sense, I am still recovering. Some days I recognise the huge amount of progress I’ve made. I am more resilient, my nervous system is way more regulated than it ever has been, I’m more confident, I feel more empowered and able to separate the energy of my loved ones from my energy. I can own whats mine and not be taken down by what is there’s. I can verbalise when I’m triggered, when I need support, when I’m anxious and when I need time alone….a lot more of the time, not necessarily all of the time.

Yet every now and again my mind does a number on me, I slip back in to believing that I’m not enough, not important or don’t matter. I get caught up in frustrations and disappointments that I’m not completely independent and still pretty co-dependant. Instead of having compassion for the young part of me that feels insecure, sad and afraid, my older self judgment part takes over, she starts pushing and driving me, ‘shoulding’ on me and supressing my fear and sadness. I lose my joy and connection. There is a dark cloud inside my head and I move about my world over thinking everything, with a frown and tension in me.

I don’t reach for alcohol but I reach. I reach for sweet biscuits or salty French butter. I reach for attention and connection via my phone. I reach for a quick injection of excitement by buying something impulsively. It’s like I suddenly lose my footing, it’s a slip I guess. A slip back in to old beliefs and old coping mechanisms. It’s natural! None of us are perfect at this, it’s about surfing the waves and not punishing ourselves for falling into the sea every now and again. It’s about giving ourselves a compassionate hug and some reassurance before climbing back on to the surfboard. Before asking ourselves ‘what is it I really need? How can I look after myself in this moment?’. For me that is usually reaching out for connection, perhaps an honest heart to heart with my husband, connection with a close friend who is willing to really ‘see me’ or an appointment with my CI Practitioner who is so good at helping me to see how far I’ve come in the last 3 years.

This is what my recovery looks like. It took me three years of sobriety to begin to understand it and now, another 3 or more years later I can proudly and confidently say: yes I’m still recovering and I probably always will be. I’m choosing to live a conscious, authentic life. I’m choosing to live with all of my ‘stuff’ without pushing it or wishing it away. I am who I am, my pain is my pain, my joy is my joy… I’m strong enough to feel and hold both, and everything in between. I might slip back into old coping mechanisms but I do so with compassion and love for the part of myself that needed relief in that moment. I will not slip back into using alcohol or drugs – that IS something I can do without, but as far as luxurious butter and occasional scrolling through animal videos goes…. it’s really okay. I can do it consciously alongside all the other good stuff that I do for myself.

If you are ‘in recovery’, or ‘recovering’ and healing from childhood family trauma, patterns of addiction or behaviours that are holding you back, I’m a certified practitioner of Compassionate Inquiry. I offer 1:1 sessions using this approach developed by Dr Gabor Mate. Feel free to reach out for a chat by email or on social media dm’s, I’m available for a free 15 minute zoom call so you can see how we might work together. Whether you have a background of 12 step work, or are on your own healing and self discovery journey I am here for you. I proudly support and work with the LGBTQ+ community My Recovery

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