Understanding that under any addiction there is some trauma, changed the way I looked at myself and others.
Having compassion for myself after years of feeling broken is freedom. My addiction didn't start with the things I've gone through as an adult, it was my way of coping with the things I went through over the course of my life.
I used to think trauma was a big event or some huge negative experience like war. While that's true, trauma comes in all shapes and sizes.
This trauma can start in utero and our nervous system remembers. Trauma can happen at anytime and of course how we handle that trauma depends on a multitude of things from a support system to access to mental health care to our own ability to recognize what's happening.
The primary source of trauma that I experienced consistently was looking different. It may sound ridiculous and up until recently I had no clue it was the foundation for my low self-esteem. I have red hair and I am covered in freckles. I was teased but it went beyond the name calling. It was more about the isolation and being made to feel ugly, not good enough, not being picked for games, people not wanting to sit next to me because they thought I had a disease, it was the lack of attention that other girls seemed to get and it was the deep rooted feeling of being not the same.
I also had many other big traumatizing events and had this feeling all the time of not being safe. I had no idea that feeling was fear but I can still get that feeling today.
As I entered adulthood I felt this sense of groundlessness. My 20's were a blur of codependency, drugs, alcohol and a whole lot of acting. My primary goal was to get someone to choose me, pick me, love me. I had no clue that I was worthy all along.
All I knew is that I was broken and nobody wanted me. That is a horrible way to enter into adulthood. The truth of the matter is that it was NOT TRUE. I did however go on to try to prove my worth for the next 20 plus years.
Everyone has trauma...everyone. It just comes in different flavors.
The only requirement for having traumatic experiences is being here on Earth. So what I have since learned is that it is up to me to build resilience.
We are all exposed to things that hurt us and cause us pain but we have to make ourselves in such a way that we are strong enough to learn from those pains versus causing more suffering.
What I know today is that I can build a toolbox of ways to pull myself out of suffering. I don't have to feel broken or less than because I have suffered.
Shame is no longer something I think I deserve. I do my best to be a good human. I help others and I am committed to bettering myself.
If you are struggling today and need someone to listen, please reach out to me or someone you trust. Trauma happens but so does recovery.