An article in a series on Recovery from Addictions by Vince Wishart
I Painted the mural to show that you (The addict new to recovery) are no longer alone
When I first came to the rooms of recovery, I was alone. In fact, long before I ever came to the rooms, I was alone. I was alone in my family growing up, never feeling understood. Sharing thoughts or feelings on anything outside the tiny realm of consciousness of the religion I was raised up in was either scorned, rebuked, sometimes heavily displaced. I was taught that my needs don't matter, I'm not worthy of love. My Mom was my saving grace, and she gave me as much love as she could, or was allowed to, sometimes she had to hide it.
When I got to grade school, I was not allowed to sing oh Canada or the Lord's prayer, so Every morning for 7 years, I shuffled off to the cloakroom, while all that transpired. I was teased by the other classmates, even bullied. I was not allowed to associate with the other kids at school if they were not of our religion, so I would be off in the corner of the schoolyard by myself, friend free, yet I just wanted to be a part of - so badly.
By high school, Id had just about enough of this aloneness. Despite the fact that there were other kids of the same faith there, they didn't ride BMX bikes. So I made choice to not be alone. This meant I needed to go outside of my normal circle. The kids that rode BMX bikes, smoked and did drugs. Didn't take long for me to be suspended from school for my drug use. For 2 weeks I stayed home. After being heavily disciplined, and carrying so much shame and unworthiness, I found a cure. I was doing my chores (I had a lot of them) and I was a workhorse trying to prove my worth to my tyrant stepdad. I was pouring gas into the lawnmower when I noticed I was getting a bit dizzy. I took a deeper sniff, and I got high. I did this daily for 2 weeks till I got caught huffing the paint thinner. I was not well emotionally, but therapies were not allowed in this religious cult. Once again I got in deep trouble. Beatings were a big part of my childhood.
For the rest of school, I felt alone. Until I figured out the idea: "When in Rome do as the
Romans do". So, from age 15-18, I became perfect in the eyes of the church. I figured out what would make them happy, and did that. I denied myself and my needs and met the wants and needs of others. I became a bible minister after school. The congregation held me in high regard. It got to the point that if I did any transgression or indiscretion, they would turn a blind eye. I thought I had won the jackpot. I could sneak around with girls even, though I had been in trouble for that plenty before. Yet, somehow, I still felt alone.
It wasn't till I found my way to recovery at 25, that things started to change for me. I began to feel like I was finally heard, seen and understood. Took many years of relapsing to get my ego to take a back seat, and allow my undefended vulnerable self to show through, which was only 16 years ago. Once I took care of the wreckage of my past in a humble and vulnerable way, I began to get the notion to get outside help for my emotional issues.
It took developing a relationship with myself, and my inner child, learning how to love that kid inside, that I began to feel OK with me. Secure with me, knowing I could give myself the love I needed and that I could rely on myself. The 12 steps groups had a saying:
"We will love you till you learn to love yourself".
That sure helped.
I went through many relationships even in recovery. All these continued to show me the work I still needed to do on myself. Hard lessons, but good ones. I am glad I survived those heartbreaks. I came close a few times to it not turning out so well.
I got to a place in life where I had said to my Creator: "It's just you and me Big guy. be a Lone wolf from this point forward, women are a thing of my past". Apparently, my Creator had other ideas. "The best way to make God laugh is to call him upon and tell him what your plans are."
Go figure, Now, today I teach The Secrets to Thriving Relationships 16 week course with my beloved Rebecca. Who woulda thunk? I've become a life coach and a counsellor along the way. I no longer have a feeling of being alone even when I am surrounded by people like I used to be. I was able to heal with a lot of hard work. I highly recommend it to anyone.