“Freedom is the knowledge that I have choices, and that I can make them.”
Once upon a time, I thought I had it all figured out. I thought there was a particular order to life and that I was supposed to follow it. Marriage, home, children – my religious upbringing laid out the road map and I did my best to follow it.
But those pressures just created anxiety over measuring up while depression crept in when I realized I had painted myself into a corner.
It wasn’t long before I was self-medicating with whatever happened to be available, although alcohol turned out to be my favourite go-to solution–even if it wasn’t a solution at all.
After years of black-out drinking, my depression worsened and anxiety kept me isolated out of fear of rejection. Who could possibly want to know this messy, angry drunk?
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I was, for all intents and purposes, out of control.
Everything was out of control: my marriage was crumbling, my kids didn’t trust me. I didn’t trust me.
I entered rehab and got sober in 2003, a journey of self-acceptance and self-knowledge that could only begin when I turned inward.
It was my recovery that taught me to know myself and understand who I was and what I wanted.
The beautiful part is giving up the control I thought I wanted in order to surrender to a life lived one day at a time.
For many of us in recovery, the biggest obstacle to overcome may be the acceptance that some things are beyond our control.
As a society, we’re taught to go after what we want, to not take no for an answer. Addiction knocks us to the ground, reminding us that we are not in control, that willpower has nothing to do with this, and that help is here if we seek and ask.
The word hope is powerful. It suggests there is a better way, there is a different choice, and we are capable of making it.
I grew as a person and went back to school to learn how my body and mind worked. I studied yoga and eventually became a teacher. Yoga opened my mind to even bigger ideas about who I was and what I was capable of.
While I’m still a work in progress, I have uncovered a vast inner network that leads me in directions I could never locate while in the throes of alcoholism.
In these past sixteen years, I have earned a degree, accumulated over six yoga certifications, and began sharing my story.
Sobriety isn’t easy, not by a long shot, and I have since dealt with significant loss and tragic circumstances. Sobriety meant I would find the courage to confront my family about the childhood traumas that shaped my path and to weather the storm when I was shunned for doing so.
I firmly believe that when we learn to love and trust ourselves, we understand that control is subjective and that we can shed our expectations and make choices about who and what controls us.
What are you free from? We’d love to have you share your story!
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