Updated: Mar 2
I had been working at the clinic for about two months. I made friends with one of the girls there, Britney. She was pretty, bright, bubbly, compassionate and we shared many similar interests. We both were very 'spiritual'. We enjoyed learning how to make our lives better with an openminded approach to self-improvement. We both carried a genuine interest in un-well people. I studied behavioral health as much as I could while I worked there. I learned about variant approaches to treatment, medication, therapy, and food. I was invested in mental health and addiction studies. Mainly because I wanted to learn more about brain health and how what we(I) inject into our(my) bodies affects our entire being. The obvious was- abuse of alcohol and drugs damage your body, spirit, and soul. I had experienced it for myself. What I did not understand was why I kept reaching for the one thing in my life that essentially was killing me.
Paul says in clearly in Romans 7:15. “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
I unintentionally ran back to my escape with full knowledge of the consequences; but a craving so imbedded in my brain and a hope that this time would be different. Every time I relapsed; my brain tricked me into thinking it will not turn out like before. I could handle it. I would keep in under control. History proves I had already passed the threshold. I had absolutely no awareness of living in ambiguity. I had one speed: extreme. It is labeled as a cognitive distortion. It is labeled as all-or-nothing thinking. It is an unhealthy behavior that leaves no room for flexibility. It is kind of like this: When I am good, I am great. I am going to work hard at whatever my task is in front of me. An example, I love going all-out for birthday parties, events, anything I am in control over. It is not necessarily a bad trait to carry if you are self-aware. If I have something I want to accomplish, I will get it done. period. On the other hand, it can lead me to unrealistic expectations, achievements, and burn-out. Seeing things in extremes can lead to poor self-perception, feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness if you set the bar too high for your achievement. It is hard for people who suffer from addiction to find that middle ground. It can be done with a lot of work. One of the most important things I have learned throughout my journey is my own self-awareness. It allows me to control my own mindset. It is crucial for emotional intelligence.
In the past, I let how others treated me, or their actions affect me. I would take everything personal until I realized I am in control over my own feelings, reactions, thoughts, and emotions. No one can make me feel negative about myself unless I let them. It is no one else's job to make me feel happy, loved, accepted, or secure. That is a heavy burden to carry! God did not create us to live chained by others' opinions. It is foolishness. When I started to believe what God says about me, my life changed. One of my counselors in the past would ask, "Is that truth or a lie? Or is it an opinion? " It helped me work through my personal relationships and not let opinion's dictate how I perceived myself. I felt very little self-worth at the end of my active addiction. So, when I say I had to revisit all of my "hurts" from my past, I did. I had to start from the beginning. It was painful. It was healing.
Now, back to my psychotherapy or talk therapy. It helps with mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. I had never experienced it before. I loved trying new forms of therapy. I enjoyed yoga, meditation and prayer. Britney asked me to join a group therapy session at her psychotherapist farmhouse. I was beyond excited. I did not know what to expect but I was hungry for answers. I stopped by Publix to grab fresh fruit and vegan cookies. I met her at her house and off we went to the countryside. We turned down a long driveway and there was a huge field to my left with beautiful horses grazing. I started to feel a little anxious. It was a small group of five or six people. I recognized one of them from the clinic. She often came in for therapy. She was a gorgeous woman who appeared very meek. I often wondered what was so 'messy' in her life that she required such extensive therapy. Looks can be deceiving; I obviously did not look like I had previously gone 'bat shit crazy" three months prior.
We all gathered to a covered area outside. The weather was perfect. Chairs were in a circle with a large dry erase board. We were about to begin a unique style to therapy called psychodrama. It is a group therapy exercise where members act out significant portions of their life. The dramatic reenactments can produce strong emotions that is discussed after each "scene." The psychotherapist was a very welcoming man in his late sixties. He had years of experience and knowledge. He made you feel comfortable. We started the session. One group member walked to the dry erase board and wrote two words that he/she was emotionally bound to. The other group members fed off energy. It was a transformational meditation session based on raw emotions.
When it was my turn, I walked to the dry erase board and wrote: LET GO. As the other group members followed their own energy field to what they were feeling. When it was time to talk about it, I was astonished how true the emotions were. One woman said she felt happy, and that was me at seven years old picking flowers from a field. Another lady said she felt like I was climbing a ladder to the sky trying to escape. That was me in my early adulthood. The one that has stayed with me is when a woman walked around a table crying. When asked how she felt and what was going on she said, "death." She said she did not know if it was my death or what the coffin she seen represented. She wanted to hold me. I was quite taking it all in. When I was asked how it made me feel and what I needed to let go of...I fell to my knees. I sobbed. and sobbed. and sobbed. It was the most intimate setting you can imagine to be vulnerable with technically strangers that knew nothing about you. I highly recommend psychotherapy, especially if you are looking for something out-of-the-box.
When we returned to Britney's home, she poured herself a glass of wine. She offered me one and I said no. I wanted it, but I was focused on my recovery. After sharing that intimate experience with her, I decided to tell her I was an alcoholic in recovery. I told her I was a year clean. I felt I had to lie to protect my job. She and everyone else in the office would soon learn the severity of my addictions. They would encounter it firsthand.
As I think back to that experience, it was a revelation. I needed to die to my old self. To this day, I believe wholeheartedly that God was working then to open my eyes. I was sober when I attended the event. A few months later, I was on death's doorstep once again with a new drug.