Today I’m supposed to be writing an article about the heart chakra. And I still May later but I have a really difficult time even thinking about starting it because of the mental place that I’m in. I know what I want to write about as I’ve crafted the outline this week. But literally sitting down and writing about the heart chakra when mine feels so incredibly closed right now, is not easy.
And that’s because I’m going through some shit in my life right now. My partner that I live with is suffering from some pretty severe mental health issues. (Like beyond just anxiety and depression) This is the same individual that is made living through this pandemic not so bad. They’re the individual that I’ve been able to chat with, hang out with, cuddle up in bed with and then just enjoy a long weekend with. Now though, none of that is possible.
You see they’re stuck in their own heads. They are so focused on this horrible feeling that they’re having that I’ve become just the casualty of what they’re going through. I have caught them in repeated lies. They’ve broken boundaries that were critically important in my own mental safety. And anytime I try to talk with him about what I’m going through or how I feel, it escalates them into an incredibly bad spot.
And last night while we were driving back from a quiet date (and I mean literally quiet, as in there was very little said while we were out) I got to thinking…I’m doing all of this emotional processing while trying to face and overcome 3 addictions besides drinking. Which has left me in this incredibly weird fucked up state.
I saw this fabulous description of what addiction was this past week from the holistic psychologist. I don’t remember it word for word but I remember it being described as a coping mechanism to avoid emotions. And she shared that it is not just drugs and alcohol that we can become addicted to. And I know that because it’s not just alcohol I’ve been addicted to.
I’m a workaholic. I have spent many hours and many days drowning myself in work and to-do lists to avoid dealing with emotions. I’m a shopaholic. I have spent copious amounts of money on things that I have justified that I “need” (oh…I really need new containers to organize my closet) but in actuality I just wanted to SPEND. And that want is just a desire to mask some shity emotion that I feel. I’m a sugarholic. I have memories all the way back to my young childhood around feeding bad emotions with sweet treats. And right now even as I sit here on the couch, every single inch of me is screaming to try to find one of those things to not feel the way that I do. I keep trying to just allow myself to be – rather than drowning myself in my to-do list. I’m trying to not scroll through my wish list finding something to JUSTIFY to buy. And last…I am trying sooooo hard to not just throw my blood sugar into a spiral by finding ANYTHING in the house to eat that is filled with sugar.
I’m thankful though and incredibly grateful that it’s not alcohol that’s calling my name. Because I know when I turned to alcohol all of the above addictions ended up 20 times worse. I would literally choose work MANY times over self-care and self-soothing. I have purchased hundreds of dollars of concert tickets…and household goods I didn’t recall until I woke the next morning and saw the email receipt. And do not even get me started on the cookies…cakes…ice cream…donuts…cake in a mug because I have NOTHING else in the house that was already pre-made. And if those addictions didn’t help numb the emotions…well I just turned to anger.
So in trying to turn this around, I am going to practice one of the most healings I know to do. I am going to share 10 things that I am grateful for.
- I’m grateful that I’m not drinking. I know that picking up a drink would only lead me down roads of shame, resentment and leave me lost in fear.
- I’m grateful that through all of this, the anger has been only moments. Anger is okay to feel, it just becomes dangerous to act on because it is usually a surface emotion to a lot of deeper feelings.
- I’m grateful I haven’t overreacted or lashed out in ways that I would regret. This is a really tough one but I am allowing myself to FEEL rather than react. Big change for me.
- I’m grateful for the weekend. I’ve been able to sleep in and take things a little slower. It was tough to go through this during the work week.
- I’m grateful for friends that get it. Not everyone can understand working through addiction OR trauma. Those that do, offer kind words and space.
- I’m grateful for my therapist. For real. She is an absolute blessing and has been with me for 5 years. She’s seen me through some of my deepest and darkest times and STILL offers me kind words and a reminder to take space.
- I’m grateful for music that can calm my soul. I have a station on Pandora that is called “Chill Out”. It’s been groomed with my favorites and can return me to a sense of calm when I need it.
- I’m grateful for my spiritual practice. My spiritual practice has taught me about grounding. Whether that is through candles, incense, crystals, yoga or just pulling out my tarot cards, I have many different ways to bring myself back to a spiritually ground place.
- I’m grateful for my recovery. It’s not just about NOT drinking…it’s about continuing to recognize the triggers that cause me to turn to addictions. And this past week has been FULL of triggers. My recovery has helped me not turn to self-destructive behaviors though!
- I’m grateful for my partner. I really am. I have learned so much about myself while I’ve been with him. And I’ve learned how to love.
True, this isn’t an easy situation, and I would never wish it upon anyone else. But I am here, I am alive and as a very lovely friend said to me this morning, “I am enough, I have enough and I will come out of this stronger.”
So, now that I’ve bared my beautifully damaged soul to you, maybe you’d like to share what you turn to when the emotions get tough. Are they good habits or self-destructive? And how about gratitude…do you practice it?