Fear has robbed me of fifty-three years. In the past, whenever bad things happened I developed coping mechanisms such as aloofness, isolation, astral and out-of-body travel, sarcasm and self-inflicted pain as ways to have control in my life. I honed these survival tools into strong weapons that I used on myself or anyone else who was a threat to my safety or well-being. They served me well in my teens and twenties but have become the very things that are preventing me from fully embracing life or myself. You ask me who I am… that depends on who is asking the question and what they expect from me. Appeasing to avoid harsh punishment or anger from others limited my growth on every level.
After almost dying as a result of my well-honed weapons and alcohol abuse, I’m now at a place I never thought possible. A place where healing and growth are readily accessible if I surrender to something higher than myself and take the steps along the path. CoDA is an amazing program but I have to study the steps and open myself up to others which is challenging. Fear of ridicule and rejection can overpower my efforts at every turn. I repeat the Serenity Prayer many times a day. This new tool is a growth tool, not a survival tool. By working the CoDA Twelve Steps and applying them to my life I can see things improving. My perception is no longer defensive and I recognize truth and the work of a higher power in my everyday life. The more I grow, the more I see how what I think, say and do impacts my recovery. It’s not enough to just study and know the steps intellectually, I also have to apply them to my life. I have to walk my talk. This involves a great deal of sacrifice and letting go of outdated survival weapons. It can feel as if I am losing my identity when stripped of these survival tools and once I think I have removed all self-imposed obstacles, more rear their ugly heads. I now know this is going to be an ongoing, lifelong process of self-checking which will need to be done daily to keep me on the right path. Survival tools feel like old friends so there is a sadness in leaving them behind. But by walking away from them I can move forward to a different way of being and for me that is a dream I never thought possible until now. Today is my 55th Birthday, but I feel more like a newborn.
Thank you for reading my story.
In Peace, Love and Understanding.
Pamela W. November 23rd, 2019