I tried to heal my childhood trauma by ignoring it and showing the world how unaffected I was.
Look at my beautiful clothes, my impressive degree, my handsome husband, my beloved children.
I tried to follow the saying "Living well is the best revenge."
What I've learned is that revenge traps the anger in your heart and sucks the life from your soul. And it turned out that my version of living well was killing me from the inside out.
My drug of choice was food. I used it to punish myself for my mistakes. For not being able to meet my unrealistic expectations. And I also used it to keep the pain at bay. My behaviors around food—however destructive they appeared to the outside world—are what got me through each minute of every day. The world was a big and scary place that I desperately wanted to be a part of. I would do anything to appear like I had it all together so I could convince myself that I was ok.
The fact that my drug of choice was food is not really important. In different circumstances, it could have easily been cocaine or alcohol. For whatever reason, those never gave me the relief that purging or starving did. What matters is that I felt a deep sense of shame that could only be quieted by fully participating in my disease. (Before I got abstinent, I purged everything I ate and exercised 3-4 hours a day. The only way I knew to not purge was to not eat at all. Stimulants were my friends.)
Today, I am in the process of clearing out the wreckage of my past. That includes all of the stuff. I try to let go of the pain this stuff has caused my household. My inability to let go of toys as my kids outgrew them has created a mountain of memories and clutter. As I hold each item, I let the feelings rise and honor the tears of opportunities lost. I also let the joy rise as I remember the laughter of children at play.
I wanted the garage cleared out by the new year. Today is December 1st. I made progress over the summer, but have not made much effort since. I turned my focus to the basement, thinking I needed a break. Progress shows there as well, and more still needs to be done.
As I continue the work, I marvel at my willingness to face my stuff. All of my stuff. Not just the material clutter that keeps my family from enjoying the spaces in our home. I am also facing the stuff that lingers inside my heart. The heartbreak and grief that holds me back and keeps me stuck.
I hold each item, each thought, each idea, each belief that no longer serves me. I thank it for getting me through and I let it go.
The Twelve Steps contain all of the solutions I need to live an abstinent life. A life beyond misery. A life beyond my wildest dreams.
Alice W. – Region One
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