Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

“If You Only Knew …”

For decades, these words lived inside my head. It seemed no matter how confident and strong I may have appeared to the outside world, on the inside, I thought I was a complete sham.

Every single time someone would say something nice to me, or praise my efforts, or tell me they cared about me, I’d think to myself, “Yeah, if you only knew …” or to be more specific, “if you really knew me, you wouldn’t even think of saying that. I’m not strong, I’m weak. I’m also often rather stupid and certainly unworthy of kind comments. I don’t deserve them.”

These negative, mean, belittling, demeaning words are what I believed best described the real me.

I had no idea the woman I am is far from that. And because I didn’t know this, I had no idea how to be my true self.

So how did I manage living life based upon these abusive, self-messages? Simple. I turned to the things that I knew would soothe my wounded heart and help me feel better for the things I said to myself.

Confusing? You bet.

Ultimately the only way I found to quiet this confusion was by downing several glasses of wine on an empty stomach. And before I knew it, all would be numbingly well. Until the next time, and the next time and the next time.

For years I continued on this road of self-sabotage by way of daily mental and physical beat downs. Never understanding why I always felt I wasn’t good enough.

And then the day came when I couldn’t take it anymore. The fear of having people see the real me began to outweigh my fear of dying from alcoholism and anorexia.

With a deep breath I took that giant leap of faith into recovery.

Although that happened for me quite a while ago, I must remember recovery is a process of self discovery. I need to forever remain open and willing to accept more and more truths about myself.  As it is said, more to be revealed because there are still areas of my life where I get stuck.

For example, when I become willing to give in to something I fear, I have a tendency to still hear that nonsensical negative inner messaging.  And when I do, it’s only a matter of time before l start pushing down my self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.

When that does happen, I thank God constantly for having people in my life who know me better than I know myself. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, say to them, “If you only knew…” because they do.

We all need this type of moral support. We all need someone to hear what’s being said between the words we actually say.

I cannot function today if I’m hiding behind myself. I know from experience that it’s within those moments of vulnerability I’m going to uncover where I need to grow and change in order to maintain the peaceful, contented life I live today.

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One thought on ““If You Only Knew …”

  1. I completely relate to your statement: “I thank God constantly for having people in my life who know me better than I know myself. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, say to them, “If you only knew…” because they do.”

    What a gift that is! Thank YOU for being a gift.

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