Recovery Series: Personal Story
I always like to call my childhood average. I grew up in a middle class home, neither rich nor poor....my parents are still married and I had a younger brother...no alcohol or drug abuse in the home. I had a very secure, stable and I'd even suggest a predictable home. Despite every reason I had reason to be a happy and well-adjusted kid, I never quite felt like I belonged. I always felt like a "faker"...like I had tricked people into thinking I was smart and nice, and also tricked them into thinking I belonged, because I knew I was on the outside looking in. If people really knew me...saw me, they would know how unworthy and incapable I really was....and then there would be rejection.
Hence, the imposter. The person I sent into the world on my behalf....the bright, shiny and happy person showed up around age 14. The character did well in school, made friends easily and secured great jobs. And I did that all by tricking people. The real me, the one that no one saw....was empty, insecure, filled with self-loathing and jealousy.
I started to treat that dark feeling and powerlessness in my own way. My obsession with restricting food and starving is what took me into counselling, psychiatry, day treatment and medication for many years. I thought it had finally worked!! All the doctors and group therapy finally lifted my obsessive thoughts around food, but honestly....the SAME day I packed up my food scale and stopped weighing food portions, was the day I picked up the bottle and my relationship with alcohol really took off.
I see now, that I continued to treat the same internal condition...just using different substances. My fall into chaos was immediate and never seemed to slow down. I could no longer attend work, a place where I was respected and had been a top performer for many years. I wasn't getting out of bed or showering and I was deeply depressed and highly suicidal. Despite all that I had to live for and the many reasons I had to quit...I could NOT quit. And I really believed that the world would be a better place with me....a "taker" a person that required a "babysitting", not useful in any way, nor contributing to a single thing in life.
Despite all signs indicating I had a serious problem with alcohol, I had a pretty good idea of what an Alcoholic was u2013 and it was NOT me. I owned my own home, always held a valid driver's license...I wasn't abused, or spending my last dollar on a bottle or hitting the food bank. I saw myself (poor me) in a misunderstood category....of not really having a problem...but also kind of having a problem.
In an effort to stop the constant pleading from my parents, and the desire to get back to work I enrolled in a treatment program in Medicine Hat, AB to address my alcoholism. But the real gift was being introduced to the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and a handful of people that changed the course of my life.
Today u2013 my life is completely different. I'm just NOT drinking...but the obsession to drink has been REMOVED. I know deep peace in my life...something I've never known before. I'm back to work, I've been able to restore my credibility as a trusted employee. My personal relationships have been cleaned up, and I've made amends where required. The hope and joy I have in my life is a real experience and I'm no longer faking the happy look on my face.
Please reach out, you are not alone!