May 11, 2016

Rehab is for Quitters.

Siebe Warmoeskerken/Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/LGwWpUGGsQY

I’ve been a fraud for most of my life. Practitioner by day, addict by night. My life was a beautiful mess.

For years I milked my grief. As harsh as it may sound, it was a convenient excuse for me to remain stuck. I chose fear.

My life became somewhat real at 30 when my older sister committed suicide. Eight months later we buried my Mum. It was cancer.

My fear manifested in many ways. I was anxious and depressed. I couldn’t sleep. I had panic attacks. I was highly reactive and aggressive. Guilt and blame were my normal. I had inflamed bowels. My skin was covered in eczema and my hormonal system was a disaster zone.

I felt frustrated and off purpose.

I knew though, deep down, that I had something special to bring to the world and that the world would be missing out if I didn’t step up. I also knew it was up to me to shine bright again. I just didn’t know how to put an end to my misery. No amount of organic food, supplements, flower remedies, counselling, silent meditation retreats, or fasting on juice alone for 10 days could cleanse me of this toxic state of being. I tried it all.

Something was missing.

So for years I self medicated. Addiction to substances worked for me.

My external mates, booze and drugs, helped me to numb out, and it felt good.

I was what they call a “functional addict.” I drank at least a bottle of wine a night, and still managed to go to work the next day. I partied my weekends away with drugs. No one could tell by just looking at me. I was leading a double life. The shame consumed me.

Over time my “mates” started to demand more of me. Addiction does that…it creeps up on you. I was in trouble.
I couldn’t stop. No, I didn’t want to just yet.

Things had not gotten rotten enough.

And then it did.


My Rock Bottom

I fell pregnant to a man whom I thought was my soul mate. A scan revealed that I had fibroids. No wonder! My self disgust had finally manifested itself cellularly in the most dramatic way yet. Termination was the “safest and best” option, the surgeon said.

A piece of me died with my unborn child that day. In hindsight, I believe that little being came to help me. He/she loved me enough to show me how broken I was.

The man I loved was overwhelmed. We were thrown into chaos. It was his final straw. He watched me spiral out of control. He ended the relationship just days after the procedure. Our sacred contract expired. I didn’t blame him. I demanded his love because I lacked my own. It was not sustainable. He went into self-preservation mode and pushed the eject button. I begged him to stay. Life without him seemed unbearable. Little did I know, that the space he left made room for me to grow.

Two weeks later the surgeon opened my womb and removed seven benign growths. The surgery went well. Recovery was hell.

It was at this stage that substances and I started to hang out morning, noon and night, weekdays and ends. It wasn’t just an after hours affair anymore. I isolated and locked myself away from the world. My earth life I wanted to end.

I was dependent on sleeping pills, and in the end I was drinking a bottle of whisky and about four bottles of wine a day. And yet I still remembered to take my milk thistle! The ultimate paradox, I was.

Instead of diluting, I was distilling my pain-filled, fear-based existence.

I hit rock bottom; the holiest of places I ever found my self.

In a suicidal psychosis induced by four days of no sleep, I reached out. I was done with this mess. I don’t remember how or why, but I picked up the phone during what must’ve been a lucid moment. I called a dear friend.

Spirit stepped in. My friend answered.


My Holy Moment

I got treatment. I booked myself into rehab.

I surrendered.

I exposed my truth. At first it felt like I was doing downward dog, naked, in front of the Pope. And yet the earth kept turning and the sky didn’t fall on my head! I thought the world would judge me harshly for my behaviour—it didn’t. I was judging me.

Redemption and I started our own support group. Hope joined our meetings.

I let go of fear and made room for love.

Years of shame, blame and guilt lifted.

Radical self-acceptance and forgiveness poured into my desiccated, vacant being. I developed a thirst to live and would do anything to quench it.

I was like, “Dang, is this my new buzz?!”

I met my true magnificence and an instant a love affair began. That feeling of missing something dissipated.

The most important relationship of my life, the one with me, hit the refresh button. A lifelong internal void started to fill up with gentle self-love.

My automatic, mindless urge to reach out and gorge on substances stopped. I began to question my cravings and addictions. Why did I let this happen? Was it my genes? Was it really a disease? Was it a way of coping? Was it something greater than what I’ve been told? The answers came and I got to work. I committed myself to change. I chose love over fear.

I devoured Gabrielle Bernstein’s and Marianne Williamson’s books. I downloaded Hay House summits and listened to the wise when I cooked, walked, drove and biked. I discovered Russell Brand’s inspirational recovery story.

I returned to my yoga mat. My vegetable patch saw more of me. I enrolled in a nutrition course. I found purpose. My existence was detoxing, and it felt good.


Present Tense

My wounds have grown into wings. I let love drive me.

Addiction was Universe’s way of giving me a virtual uppercut. With a massive thump, I woke up to my true potential. It was a one way ticket to my authentic self.

I’m tuned into a loving universal frequency now. It’s the most fulfilling high I’ve ever experienced.

I no longer feel like a fraud in the work that I do. This, to me, is freedom.

Change is possible. This I know for sure.



Author: Irma Schutte

Image: Siebe Warmoeskerken/Unsplash

Editor: Emily Bartran

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