Emotional pain can look like so many
things. Most of it will stem from loss, fear or the trauma we have experienced.
Any one of these, or all of the above, will do. Again because of my life
experiences, I have endured trauma, many losses, and lots of fearful times.
Somehow, even from my earliest memories
of my greatest losses, I knew that I had to get through them. There was a part
of me that wanted to survive and go on. I didn’t know what to expect on the
other side, but I knew that in order to survive the trauma, losses and the fear
I was feeling, I had to keep moving. That was my experience from childhood. I
experienced abuse of different forms. I lost friends and family; even lost the
ability to play around physically like the other kids. But as a kid, you find
alternative activities. With the abuse, I hid my pain deep within, as I did
with my losses, and tried to just keep moving forward. Now, looking back,
I believe it was my innate nature to survive. Where I grew up, fear was not an
option. If you showed fear, you showed your weak spot and others would take
advantage of you.
As I grew up, though, fear (which now
culminated because of the trauma and loss) seized me. My way to deal with it
was through alcohol and drugs. Yes, I had a predisposition to alcoholism
because of both my parents died from it, but the drinking and drugging helped
set me up just like a bowling pin to be knocked down later in life… so bad as to
have everything taken from me, which led to my spiritual awakening.
I had become lost in my
addiction/alcoholism and was so fearful because of it, I was paralyzed by it.
Earlier in life, the drugs and alcohol gave me that false sense of strength,
but eventually I was unable to do anything as I stood by and lost everything I
cared for in life: my job, family, home, friends, family and, eventually,
nearly my life.
To say that I caused pain and damage in
my own life and in the lives of others is an understatement. In the
beginning, it was hard not to relive those painful memories I had of myself and
the memories of the damage I did to others in my life. But the hardest memories
to let go of were the ones of the abuse where I was a victim.
In the beginning the memories of the
pain I caused helped keep me on the right track, but after a while they only
hurt me. There was a process I followed in the 12-step program that helped me
through it. I made a list of all those I had harmed, including myself. I identified
the cause of my actions; was it fear, low self-esteem, selfishness, pride/ego,
etc.? Why I was at fault (if I was) and what measures I could now take to
correct my actions. Once I’ve done all I could, there was a process of turning
it over to my Higher Power: God.
With the abuse, I needed extra help.
The 12 Steps certainly helped me rebuild my relationship with God. But for this
survivor, a long steady weekly relationship with a therapist help me heal to a
point where I was able to let my Higher Power help me to come to forgiveness to
all who harmed me. If I asked others to forgive me, why couldn’t I forgive
Once I did everything I could and then
left the rest up to God, it did me no good to go back and replay those memories
over and over in my head and expect different results. As I mentioned, I also
had other help besides the 12-step program, I used a therapist to help navigate
through some areas in my life, which were like land mines.
Between the two, my therapist and the
12-step program, I now had a strong point of reference of how to keep a healthy
emotional balance in my life. While I might still experience painful times in
life, today suffering is definitely an option.
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