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June 12, 2020

Once an Addict, Always an Addict?

I have battled addictions for most of my life—love, sugar, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, chocolate.

In our society, we have been raised to believe that addictions are bad and there is something wrong with you.

What if they were just coping mechanisms to fill an emptiness within us that fills us with fear if left empty?

My addictions started with love—the need to be wanted and loved. Without people telling me how special I was, I felt unworthy. As I grew older, I discovered other means to block out the feeling of unworthiness.

Drugs numbed the feelings but filled me with shame.

Cigarettes weirdly filled the need to feel special.

Alcohol blocked everything out. If I didn’t remember, there was nothing to fear.

As my addictions grew, fueled by my low self-esteem and anxiety, they would only numb out the voices in my head for so long. Then alcohol became a huge part of my life, escaping into the party life. The cycle of sleeping, working, partying wouldn’t leave room for doubts or regrets.

However, when I was rarely sober, there was a new level of hell. The voices were louder, causing my anxiety to slam into overdrive. My solution was to drink more, take more drugs, and work harder—I was in the fast lane to hell.

Then the universe intervened (not the first time she tried to sober me up).

I was pregnant.

I redirected my addictions to food and sugar to fill the gaping hole that drugs and alcohol had left. It was a long nine months of listening to the voices in my head, filling me with fear of being a mother.

Six short weeks after my son was born, I stopped breastfeeding. The guilt of harming him lifted, and I slowly slipped back into old habits to block out the life I was living. An abusive relationship, Postnatal Depression, and very much alone in the world.

It never occurred to me that there was another way of coping or healing. This is what my parents showed me—bury the fears and emotions deep beneath the addictions.

After my second son was eight months old, and three years of hell later, I was physically free of the abusive relationship, but emotionally, it would take much longer.

Two years of trying to escape the world that seemed out to get me, a single mum by day, party girl by night, I thought I had it all figured out.

Then, one night at 2 a.m., I hit my rock bottom.

Broken, alone, and not one person to talk to, I knew life had to be different.

I got help.

I pulled myself out if the darkness, redirected my addictions (which seemed healthy at the time), and got on with life.

But no one knew that I was afraid to slow down, to sleep, for the voices would torment me.

It wasn’t until my third child was born, five years later, that I began to listen to the universe.

Wanting a new way of living, I was tired of being angry, anxious, and uptight. I began the painful journey to heal the trauma, the fears, and the stories.

Addiction can take over your life, and we can continue to redirect them—over and over. Until we sit in the uncomfortable place where it hurts, only then we can begin the process of healing.

I started healing one layer at a time. When I was ready, I heard messages from the universe, or I would meet someone who I knew instantly would change my life. Sometimes, I was in places that I would have never been in the past, and a message so clear would come from an unlikely source.

Emotions I never knew existed surfaced. I learned how to ask myself why I feel this way and to give myself permission to feel it.

I was brought up in a black-and-white world where you were happy or sad. So when grief raised her head (many times), I learned to cry; when the anger came, I learned to forgive. Then, anxiety taught me to breathe, and gratitude taught me joy. Love, she taught me to live.

Throughout my journey, I saw Angel healers, Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioners, life coaches, Reiki masters, and I dove deep into self-help books. I created a lifestyle that helps me find my true self every day and to reconnect my mind, body, and soul.

It was messy, hard, and beautiful. The moment I knew something or someone was going to change my life, I would be brought to tears. It was my sign that it was going to be life-changing.

Only you can do the work, but sometimes we need a little loving guide to help us navigate the rocky road.

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