If you have been following along, you know that I, unknowingly, began life under the power of the shadow. Spiritual bondage formed by deception and secrets that I had witnessed and internalized. I did not know how much darkness surrounded me, as I saw no one in the light. I was taught to be dishonest by my parents and the whisperings of the shadow. I took what I learned, continued to listen to the destructive voice in my head and used to hurt myself and others.
Step out of your circumstances for a while. Observe others who seem to know how to live. Perhaps observe people who are not living in anger or endless drama. There are people around us in recovery that have unlocked the door and found a way out.
People-watching can be a beginning, but offers little assistance to a struggling soul until the process of surrender occurs from within. The AA principles lay out the process from self-reliance and unmanageability to surrender and freedom. Hindering the process are swirling obsessive thoughts and knee jerk reactions. These traits may have not been of own making, but rather have been modeled to us by caretakers, parents, or an abuser. Although proven time and again to be harmful and faulty, as long as we believe them to be truthful, valid and appropriate we will stubbornly stay unchanged.
Stepping out of victimization or personal addictive behaviors requires a surrender so we can watch and listen for new information. Lack of faith and trust is our dilemma. We could not trust our ourselves while in active addiction. Taking the substances out of our system we can now listen and choose a different path. We have a Creator who is available and is continually trying to reach us. This Creator would like to reach us and change our thinking and behaviors. There is restoring power beyond our imagining. A new outlook awaits.
The key to this door, that opens to a path into the beautiful new unknown, is surrender. That key is found when we can sit quietly and dare to think outside of what we believe is our reality. The key begins to turn. There may be clutter in front of the door, or the door may slam shut again and again. Then one day it stays open. We awake to new information, new possibilities. Needed resources and strength present themselves.
When I became aware that there was a hold on my thinking, I was given the freedom to change. Without awareness, I was lost in an endless cycle of disillusionment, hurt, and discouragement. Awareness brought clarity and my innate desire to do better. I decided that like a chick I would break out of my shell and accepted there would be a a struggle. Whether a human, a chick, a flower, or a butterfly all struggle. Without the struggle, there would be no birth, survival or motivation to seek their full potential.
There is a need to stretch and grow, built into all living things. Whether it is physical strengthening, mental cleansing, learning something new, or achieving spiritual freedom and growth. Applying knowledge, based on a new truth or a behavioral change, brings it’s own struggle.
Counter to this, when lost in apathy, we feel the tug and brace ourselves, attempting to block out the fearful unknown and resist discomfort. By accepting that there will be a struggle in the natural course of life, the effort then becomes tolerable. When we accept the struggle, change unfolds in us and through us.
There is no autonomy or self-governing; control is exerted over the other’s movements, money, sexual activity, or friends; through emotional, psychological manipulation, or physical abuse. Adult children of alcoholics easily fall into the same patterns as their parents: picking a partner or raising their children, in the same manner, they were, remaining trapped in the cycle.
Life itself will offer moments of clarity.A crossroad, a breaking point, or outside intervention. A realization that something could be different. That one may enter a recovery program, peer support at a church, or counseling center. To break free and recover, emotional detachment is vital, while new information is taken in. There is always an emotional separation from the other co-dependant, if there is physical or psychological abuse a physical separation is needed until both can seek help.These are forms of detachment. Detachment simply allows space to breath, rest, and reevaluate. For most it is frightening and progress may be delayed out of a fear that something is being lost.
For survivors of trauma and addiction, roadblocks were put in place before we realized it. We remain unaware that a roadblock exists, believing we are just like everyone else, until we try to expand ourselves into an adult individual. If we have successes great! But such is life, and there are challenges all along our way. There is illness, loss, death, lost jobs, financial uncertainties, or isolation from families.
A year later, while in a counseling session, attempting once again to make sense of my predicament, I become terrified and disoriented. Directly in my line of vision, a form like a hologram appeared leaving no room for my present life to penetrate. I began seeing the atrocities done to my mother and my brothers. The smell of orange blossoms, bacon, country gravy and biscuits, the moist smell of dew in the mountain air filled my senses. Mashed potatoes mingled with blood on old graying wall paper came into view. I heard my own fear in its’ deafening silence as brown trousers came towards me. Physically, I was left feeling moist, cold and exposed; breathless with unbelievable pain in my throat and shoulders.
Victim. We should only be allowed to use this word to describe a moment in time where something was done to us that was out of our control. It should be an adjective to describe our experience in a tragedy, not to define our character. That moment does not define us. It can mold us, but we have the choice to allow it to continue to victimize us and be subjected to the powerlessness of that situation or we have the ability to become a warrior.
After what we have experienced in secret the idea of being exposed is quite painful. Had we not already had our bodies exposed to lustful eyes and hands? Yes! However the illumination I speak of has an opposite and profound effect on returning to our pre-abuse identity. Leading us out of a fear filled lonely place to a place of joy filled resilience and healing.
Is our inner voice original thought, or guided by someone or something else? If you found your way here, you have experienced abuse or trauma in some capacity. Your mind may be battling with you daily, obsessive thoughts try to guide you one way. Fight you when you desire to go another. It can encompass self-destructive beliefs, self-destructive behaviors, addiction, fear, chronic nightmares. Your anxious thoughts trigger your, PTSD symptoms. Your inner voice may be continually condemning you- that you are flawed, less than, or of no value to anyone including yourself. We will discover together that these are lies, we can capture these thoughts, reckon with them and finally choose to replace the lies with truth.
I am a particular flavor of bold personality, the type that is not well-liked in some environments. Take, for example, a well-established hierarchical-based company that relies on its employees not seeing, the whole picture in order to remain in their jobs. Indeed, I am not very well-liked there because I am a Disruptor. I speak the truth no one else there dares to speak due to its disruptive nature. I can’t help it. That’s what I do. Even my mom tells me this frequently, although when she does it comes with negative connotations.