I met again with my counsellor today.
Counsellor might be too timid a word. She is more like a champion, a freedom fighter, a slayer of the lies we tell and the stories we make up to survive. She gets down to business with the inner workings of my mind.
I’ve been waiting for her. For this working relationship.
She doesn’t just listen and insert empathic statements. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Sometimes that’s what we need. Other times we need someone to point out our blind spots, our inconsistencies, and help us discover what has truly been holding us back. And then, we need a way to start dealing with that shit.
I don’t agree with everything she says. But she is helping me get down to my core issues. Which are around abandonment, loss, and feeling unworthy. I’ve known this on an intellectual level, but I’m not sure I’ve ever done the work to properly heal from this. I’ve never allowed myself to feel those emotions, feeling that it would be too self-indulgent. I’ve felt I’ve always had to take the ‘high road’, even when I haven’t known how to really get there. I’ve talked a really good talk, in other words. This is all coming to a head for me: I can’t pretend anymore how I feel and how I’ve felt and how certain life events have created these emotions in me. The talk is coming to an end. I have to begin to walk. One foot in front of the other, I finally need to face my demons. Stopping drinking is not enough (for me) without doing the emotional and spiritual work. I need to recover from not only drinking and the consequences it has produced In my life, but the reasons I drink in the first place.
I understand that I’ve been drinking to self-medicate. I understand that I’ve been drinking because I’ve felt uncomfortable being myself. I have been fighting myself for most of my life. Feeling that I shouldn’t feel what I feel. Feeling wrong somehow; different.
I’ve also started reading Why You Drink and How to Stop by Veronica Valli. What a read. I don’t know if I am just so open right now to what she writes about, or if I’ve never read something this true for me before. But I starting to realize that I am an alcoholic. I know I’ve had a drinking problem (obviously) for some time but nice never subscribed to the notion of alcoholism. It’s been too vague, too confusing. Is it a disease? A disorder? A mental illness? Is it genetic? Environmental? Post-traumatic? Is it a bio-psycho-social-spiritual condition?
Whatever it is, I have it.
And there is something in the admitting that feels so freeing.
I am not alone. There are others who struggle like me.
There are others who have recovered and become well, too. I need to walk among them. I think, because addiction has so many different and varying causes, it has so many different and varying forms of recovery. It’s about finding what works for you as an individual.
I am a spiritual person by nature. I have rejected the AA model because I do not believe in a Christian God. But I am starting to open up to the fact that AA might be more about a spiritual awakening than a religious one. That is something I can dig.
When I think about a spiritual connection, and that my addiction issues could be helped by nurturing this, I feel relief. I feel relief that I could love myself, feel comfortable in my skin, feel whole. I think a spiritual connection means living honestly to myself and to my beliefs. It’s about my morals and values. Something that living in addiction takes away from me.
I am getting to the point where I’m willing to do anything to get sober.