To be propelled toward a goal, most often a pressing “why” or urge is the force that drives someone. That why is a motivator, something to stay focused on. Since the beginning of my life I have had a pretty clear “why” statement. I was born into a family full of addiction and abuse. I remember sitting in my room at age 4 telling myself I would “break the cycle”. It was a strange clarity for a little girl.
As a fourth grader, I learned how deep the drug addiction was. I learned about crack cocaine, methamphetamines, overdose, and who to call when it happens. This is also the year I attended my first Al-Anon meeting. I took notes in the Al-Anon meetings, I knew what it meant to be an “enabler”, a “scapegoat”, the “hero”, and all of the other verbiage from these meetings. My dad was the known addict in our family, the one who lived a more openly addicted life. My mom was just as bad– although better, for a while, at covering her tracks. My brother quickly spiraled down the same path of addiction at a very early age. I learned about the lies it takes to be an addict, and I became a good liar when it came to covering up what my home life was like.
When someone is addicted, they can not love. No matter what, the drug or object of addiction is the only thing that matters. I grew up quickly, taking on the role of adult before it was age appropriate. I felt it was unfair, that surely life did not have to be this way. I connected myself to bad relationships where I continually had to play the role of “mother”, or “fixer”. Co-dependent is the title for that role. Growing up without proper role models and support is definitely a different sort of path, and a path I was quite ashamed of.
Thank heavens I know what I know now. I learned how to change a story and recognize your “why”. The desire to break the cycle of addiction, poverty, and abuse became my mission. Luckily, I stumbled on to the right information to begin to make it happen. Years of therapy never helped release my body from the anxiety. It felt as if the only way to get to the “root’ of the issue was by rethinking and retelling my stories over and over. That kept my mind in a place looking for someone or something outside of myself to either blame for the pain or to keep me feeling victim to the circumstance. I was not going to take a pill to make myself happy.
Becoming the author of my story was quite empowering. Realizing that I had the power to not be a victim, but the owner. Their actions, their words did not have to control my actions or my outcome. Just because something is a struggle once, or a million times, the power to release the “bondage” of the past came from me. Changing my role in my family was the first step, and changing my thoughts surrounding it was the next one. For me, I would feel anxiety, despair, or depression often. A sadness that came from the loss of what a family “should” be. A feeling of unfairness, or of lack. Instead of whining and feeding the story (those feelings), the power comes from reaching for something “good” when those old feelings of anxiety or despair resurface. Good food, good books, good friendships, good music, an essential oil or a yoga pose– you get the idea. This is a practice. Something that I have to remind myself and repeat over and over. Not to say I do not have “bad” days anymore, it is just that the “bad” days are much shorter.
Regaining my balance now takes a fraction of the time. The anxiety, despair, anger, or depressive feelings used to encompass days, or weeks of my time. Now I can look around and count my blessings and attune to something happier or more beautiful than the darkness that used to float around in my mind. I can send loving thoughts toward my family, even though I no longer feel I have to participate or try to “fix” their circumstances. Sharing my story from a place of empowerment, of health/wellness, and purpose changes the role I used to carry. Which is modeling a different example for my children, therefore breaking the chains of addiction that were modeled for me.