A Sobering Story.
To be a good mom, wife, daughter, sister, contributor to the world - I must work on myself. I must know what I value and what I believe. I must be willing to look at areas in my life where I am struggling, and be open to developing myself in those areas.
This transformation does not happen overnight. Progress, not perfection, is my motto.
For the first 28 years of my life, I was not really willing to change. I had little self respect. I had lost my sense of identity, and I was drowning my feelings in alcohol.
I started drinking and smoking in 2002, when I was 16. Looking back I’m still not sure why I was as unhappy or invincible as I thought I was. I guess I found joy in the social aspect of alcohol and marijuana. That “high” and having “so much fun” became a rush I was addicted to. I searched outside of myself for happiness because I was afraid to look inside.
In 2017, I had hit my mental/emotional “rock-bottom.” I was living with my toxic, narcissistic, alcoholic ex-boyfriend, living paycheck to paycheck, didn’t feel I could really open up to anyone, and I was DYING inside for someone to save me. I opened a bottle of wine and drank it all. In Silence. Alone.
(I knew I had reached a new low, when this was how I was heating my "dinner").
I had given up on myself.
Literally, the next day, I was learning with a friend, and she opened up a conversation which allowed me to share with her where I was holding. Turns out, she identified as an alcoholic and asked me if I was interested in attending a 12-Step meeting. My higher power - stepped in, exactly at the right time, and saved my life.
The next three years of my sober life polished me into the woman I am today. (I say polished because I had a good upbringing, I just became really rusty). I lost myself. I worked the 12-Steps. I admitted I was powerless over any substance that would help me escape feeling anything. I worked on my faith and remembered that Hashem, my Higher Power, is on my side. I made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. I admitted to G-d, myself, and my sponsor, the exact nature of my wrongs. I made amends. I began to prioritize myself and my health.
After three years of truly working on myself, I had a spiritual awakening, and I realized that alcohol and marijuana had just been a (toxic) tool for me to avoid myself. Once I did the inner work - and then continued to do therapeutic work and develop myself, alcohol and marijuana were no longer my vice. I can now sit down with a glass of wine and not even be tempted to finish it all. The thought of smoking makes me sick.
Over the last five years I have been learning about the power of balance. Of being honest with myself and acknowledging when I feel something is out of balance - pinpointing which area of my life needs balance - and then doing that work.
In my coaching business I have found that when there is an imbalance in the larger areas of my life, what I refer to as “Primary Foods,” (relationships, career, spirituality, physical activity etc.), I would look to “escape” with food or substances (i.e. “Secondary Foods”). There is an exercise I practice called “The Circle of Life” where I can see which areas of my life are out of balance. Seeing this clearly, helps me recognize what area of my life needs more attention.