My Story about Addictions

  There's a HUGE stigma surrounding mental health and addictions that has everything to do with misconceptions... but the #1 assumption that's haunted me through the years is that people who don't understand think you are broken, that you're secretly a crook, and assume "addiction" automatically means you are hooked on hard drugs. I've had some very hurtful remarks and assumptions thrown at me over the years anytime I tried to shed a little bit of light on the fact that I had problems at home -- something that makes it even harder to want to talk about it when we need to. The worst comments came from the people that have accepted it as "normal" to remain in unhappy situations while constantly complaining about it, those who's motto is to work/live for the weekend (of heavy drinking), and some that just don't believe mental illness is real. It was crushing to be told things like "well, I've had a worse experience and I'm fine" or "suck it up and deal with it" by people who know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about your pain, but thankfully.. in the years since I had such comments hurled at me, people have started to open up and talk about it more. That's exactly what I want to do here...

Of all the struggles I've had in life, one that I'm reminded of was a job that I held for a few months approx. 8 years ago. I was ecstatic to land a permanent job as a receptionist & office administrator for a small, family-run business, but it became a nightmare once the primary business owner started harassing me. My mental & health issues were never mentioned, mostly because they didn't affect my ability to be there and do my work... until his treatment of me caused them to become worse. It began when he jumped to criticize my career choice and make some very unwarranted comments when he found out I'm partially deaf - which spiralled me into having anxiety attacks whenever I had to deal with him because he would ALWAYS bring it up. I was ready to run but I wanted to address how wrong it was, so I made an appointment with his part-time HR rep to talk about it before deciding to leave. In this meeting, I was told that I shouldn't disclose my mental illnesses because he (the business owner) doesn't believe in them and would cause further issues. How terrible is that?! After "sucking it up" (which I was told to do) for as long as I could and finally settling on the fact that I should no longer be there, I gave my notice. But he also had to go and "ice the cake" for me -- placing an angry call to the placement agency that scouted me out & got me there... which resulted in me getting a call from them, who also blasted me without even being bothered to ask me why I was leaving.

And if anyone wonders WHY the people that feel like they keep getting kicked while they're down refuse to open up and let anyone in, you now know just one example as to why that is...

Even though the situation had absolutely nothing to do with addictions, it no doubt caused me to turn to them in my off-hours to cope. I had been a cigarette smoker since I was 18, a routine weekend drinker, and I turned to weed in my early 20's after hearing it could help with my PTSD and IBS. But since, at this time, I wasn't yet ready to begin talking about my childhood trauma, the pain of this situation added itself to the mountain I had on my shoulders. But I must mention that I never used to consider myself an addict simply because my addictions had all been normalized by society. I have never been curious about any substances beyond what was mentioned, and the first addiction I tackled was the one that made me obese -- my emotional eating problem. When my 5'1" body tipped the scales at 185 lbs. at the doctor's office one day, I finally realized I had put myself into a hole of health problems that I was completely blind to. But since I ate every day with the intention to just "enjoy" and make myself feel better, it was a very real problem. I ate A LOT of junk food, and was easily eating more than 3 x my daily required calorie budget... I had no control over what I was putting in my mouth!

The weight realization happened in the months leading up to my spiritual awakening - which ended up being a somewhat-restless night of sleep, wherein I woke up feeling like I dreamt an epiphany which caused me to have a whole new view of my life. I can't explain it any better than that because all I can tell you is that I woke up on this morning ready to look myself in the mirror, and ready to CHANGE everything; which was so not like me in my highly depressed & suicidal state. So it seemed only fitting that I was going to tackle my addictions, yet as much as I wanted to... it was just too damn hard. My weight loss journey was one thing because I finally felt incentivized to take measures that would make me feel better about my body, but the chemical addictions were so deeply rooted that I had to quit quitting them for what was the 6th & 7th time. It wasn't until 3-4 years later - when I completed my transformative healing journey using spiritual modalities - that I realized I couldn't do it because I hadn't yet addressed my trauma...
A card that comes up often when it comes to mental illness & addictions. Follow me on Instagram for Tarot Messages and be sure to check out my Addictions video on IGTV!

Which leads me into a point I want to make, which has turned into a principle that I base my healing work on: Healing the trauma / core issues in turn heals the addiction. It was only AFTER my extensive training program wherein I returned to my childhood to heal the trauma, transform my false/limiting beliefs and release the ethereal connections to it wherein I suddenly found it easier to let go. Once I relieved & eliminated the factors and thoughts that keep me returning to my crutches (addictions), I slowly began to feel less need for their use. There were some very important realizations that came up which also made it easier to detach -- because upon pushing myself to revisit my past and come to turns with everything I shoved deep down inside and tried to forget, I saw exactly why it is that I believed my addictions to be okay. For one, I was a regular cigarette smoker by the time I came of legal age for it simply because it was a huge part of my childhood; growing up, it was a normal, everyday occurrence to sit next to at least one person (inside my family's apartment, with only a window cracked) that was smoking throughout the day... all while I suffered with asthma.

To make that situation even worse, it was no secret that I was struggling to not just be, but breathe in my own home. In fact, the family doctor would often privately ask me if said family members had "moved it outside" to help with the fact that I was having breathing problems, to which I always had to honestly say "no". Seeing the shaking of her head to my response every time as I realized someone was actually trying to look out for me - but wasn't able to change anything - pretty much cemented the [false] belief that no one truly cared about me. And since nothing changed over the years, the belief was created within me that I wouldn't be doing more harm (than what was already done) if I started smoking myself. This turned into the self-talk that I know a lot of smokers have, which is "I'll die from cancer one day anyways, so what's it matter?". This ended up being the attitude I had about almost EVERYTHING, all because of all the pain and trauma from my early years. The "reasoning" was similar to the other habits I had too -- I was sold on the idea of marijuana use by those suffering from mental illness & other untreatable health problems, and I drank every weekend because "who doesn't?"... all excuses that made me believe it was perfectly okay to have this lifestyle.
The only "smoking" I'm addicted to these days (LOL)! My daily smudging routine - and the occasional burning of Nag Champa - is the only smoke you'll see in MY home.

But when did it become acceptable to live this life? When I turned 33, I started to feel the toll it was taking on my body. I couldn't stay up late partying like I used to, I became a lightweight with alcohol, and having a minor hangover was enough for me to want to swear off drinking. The timing of those realizations lined up with my ascension so I took it as another sign that my spiritual healing journey was to thank for it. My cigarette addiction was so deeply rooted that I couldn't work while I went through withdrawal, and since all the fixes available (Champix, gum, patches) didn't work on me... I did it in what I felt was the hardest way possible. I literally waited it out which resulted in weeks of insomnia, rage purging, and some weight gain - making it the only focus I was able to have at the time. One lesson I've learned (given that this was my 8th and final attempt to quit) is that it's okay to take it all one step at a time and to not be discouraged if you slip up and have to start over. Since smoking and drinking went hand-in-hand for me, I decided to quit both cold-turkey at the same time. It was a huge shock for my system.. but after a few months, I was able to resume the occasional (celebratory) drink without a problem. I don't see anything wrong with this, but if you need to completely eliminate something because you'll lose control otherwise, I do believe that you should.

That just left me wondering what I should do about my daily use of weed, which I admit I was conflicted about (and purposely left as the last item on the list) because I knew I turned to it for reasons that are medically legit. Just a few years before my spiritual awakening, I had a psychotherapist who told me not to quit it because she believed it was keeping me level-headed and alive. But just like some of the days where enjoying a couple drinks left me feeling guilty about attending online classes & energy exchange groups the morning after, it became something that naturally came into question. This is where I have my path and business to thank -- because as I turned my focus to my spiritual business, I began to see how it conflicted with my work... and believe it or not, just like that, it was easy to refrain from using. This was just the first step though, because as I continued to have my days of no use - cranking out material quicker than I used to(!) - there wasn't even a second thought about it. I was ready to boycott it completely until I came into my understanding around it's use in spiritual rituals (in small amounts) and the benefits of taking CBD... and like my new approach with alcohol; I was able to keep it to minimal, controlled use.
Nowadays, I wake up in the morning looking like this. NOT the baggy eyed, tired & hungover person I used to be... who was also coughing up phlegm every morning the last time I smoked.
This entire process of addressing all my addictions happened over the course of years, which honestly felt shorter when I realized how much work I had to do along the way to make it achievable. I admit I feel bad advertising the fact that I still sometimes partake in some things, but there are a couple facts I know for sure that I've also publicly shared: (1) Anything is an addiction/problem when you realize you NEED it regularly and cannot get through your day/week without it, and (2) I'll be damned if I ever smoke another cigarette again, because I know that type of activity
would be my undoing. The bottom line is that everyone needs to have their own form of epiphany and see the need to make a change for this type of transformation to occur, and I have to repeat that addressing the internal trauma (in my opinion) is the only way to make this a permanent change. And if you want to have a conversation with me and see how I can help you through this process, don't hesitate to connect!
#childhoodtrauma #strugglingwithaddiction #weightlossjourney #abusesurvivors #alternativehealingfortrauma #alternativehealingforaddictions #intuitivehealingfortrauma #alternativehealingforPTSD #mentalhealthmatters

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