Discovering My Authentic Self
The process of self-actualization began at 21, after I hit a gravely dark rock bottom, which was caused by untreated alcoholism and cocaine addiction. Since then, I have been clean and sober for close to 12 years. Recovery from addictive and self-destructive behavior has been a liberating and painstaking process.
Today, I understand that I used drugs to mask my deep feelings of toxic shame (feeling fundamentally flawed), toxic guilt (carrying other people’s guilt), and inner rage. However, when alcohol and cocaine no longer served me as a form of self-medication, I slowly learned to live life without mind- and mood-altering substances (by the grace of my Higher Power).
All of the suppressed childhood grief and unaddressed rage came up to the surface and this, at times, felt overwhelming, but I intuitively knew that I was gradually healing. Without the aid of men and women supporting me through this inner transformation, I wouldn’t have been able to uncover and discover my Authentic Self.
Something healing takes place when human beings come together and share their vulnerability. It’s a sense of belongingness and social cohesion that has played a profound part in my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. This is why I believe in fellowship and having a strong support network.
Today, self-care and self-compassion are my modus operandi. Without self-love, how can I possibly and authentically love and accept anyone else? And so, I make a conscious effort every day to put time aside to connect with my Inner Child, whether that’s through painting, writing, gardening, playing classical music, or spending time with nature. This quality time of self-care has transformed my relationship with others and has miraculously made my life much more enjoyable. I have learned how to re-parent myself with warmth and compassion. How wonderful!