A Plea to Pregnant Moms Considering Adoption, From A Single Mom & Adoptee

img_0551I have no idea your circumstances, or what has led you to this place in your life, or this article but I have some information to share with you before you make your final decision that could possibly impact you and your unborn baby for the rest of your life. I know it might be a scary time, and you have no idea what your next steps are. You are not alone. Times are changing and there are much more resources for you to make an informed decision. That’s what this article is written for.

I would love to take a moment to share a little about my personal journey, which has given me the perspective that has inspired me to write this article. First, I want to say THANK YOU for even taking the time to read this article and open your heart to new possibilities regarding what you have been told about adoption. I commend you.

A little of my story, I was surrendered for adoption by my biological mother, with my biological father never knowing of my existence. I was conceived out of an affair as my biological father was married at the time of my conception. I was adopted in a closed adoption and I was never supposed to learn of my beginnings.

I ended up being adopted by a couple who could not have kids of their own, however the marriage crumbled after a year and they divorced not long after. I was sexually abused in this home, and my adoptive mom was mentally ill, and she was unable to parent me. Somehow, I remained in this house, under very toxic, abusive, and harmful conditions. Although it was all I knew, I was raised on public housing, food stamps and welfare.

This was not the “better life” that was promised to my birth mother.

As I grew up, I learned of my adoption status, and my confusion and feelings of isolation and loneliness set in. Instead of being a kid like everyone else, I was set on finding my birth mother and I was obsessed with finding her. My teen years approached and my anger and rage set in. I started using substances at 12 years old and was in drug & alcohol treatment by 15. I was also pregnant at 15. I lost the baby due to an abusive relationship, and I was devastated. I was in and out of jail constantly, and most days I wished I would be taken out of this world. My pain was so great and all I needed and was missing was her. I tried to commit suicide at 17 but failed and no one ever noticed. I wanted the pain to go away, and I had no tools, resources or help in aiding in this process.

I was in and out of abusive relationships because I was lacking self-love, and in my mind, love was pain. If a mother loves her child so much, she passes them over to strangers then love must be pain because nothing feels good about being abandoned by your biological mother. It does not matter how the adoption industry paints the picture or dresses it up, it is abandonment and adoptees can be riddled with the aftermath of this for our entire lives. The agencies, or adoption attorneys are not going to tell you this. They are not going to tell you the lifelong trauma you and your baby will experience due to the separation from one another.

I have suffered from abandonment, trauma, rejection, C-PTSD, grief, loss of connectedness, feelings of aloneness, loss, anger, rage, and emotional, physical, and psychological damage due to being relinquished for adoption, compacted by adoption trauma. I was addicted to substances for 27 years due to these issues; I could not feel the pain because it was too much to bear. For most of my life on earth, I wanted to die because I knew that was the only way the pain would go away. It was like a hole in my heart, with a dark cloud following me around for 43 years of my life.

6f99137b-e869-4d35-a150-bae3774cd43aI am 45 now, and it has taken me 45 years to come to a place of peace regarding my adoption. You will never know the depts of the self-work I have had to do in the lifetime I have lived to get to this place. It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to undo the lifelong damage and trauma relinquishment and adoption has done. It has been 45 years of fighting to get here and I truly feel like I have never lived my life until now because it was so consumed with relinquishment and adoption related trauma. It has taken me all these years to recover, and I know I will have implications regarding being adopted for the rest of my life. The wounds are too deep to disappear, and I have accepted certain areas of painful experiences and feelings are here to stay. They come and go like waves, grief and loss is going to be something I process for the rest of my life.

You might have heard that an open adoption is better because many of these issues will not be present. I would like to encourage you to read Is Open Adoption The Answer? This article is a collaboration of 22 adult adoptees sharing their insights on how they feel regarding open adoption being better or worse than closed adoption. This is a great resource and tool to help you gain a better understanding of the lifelong trauma caused by relinquishment.

You might think you are in no shape to take care of a baby, possibly for financial reasons or you just are not ready yet. You might feel like a two-parent household would be the selfless choice for your baby, because two parents are always better than one, right? I’m not sure where exactly you are in your life and your situation, but what I do know is that giving your baby up for adoption is a decision that will impact you for the rest of your life and I truly feel you are likely not prepared for the aftermath of a decision like this will have on you and your unborn baby.

You might think giving your baby life is the best thing you have to offer your baby. I am here to share with you that yes, giving your baby life is important but you are the next very most important thing that your baby will ever need. You do not have to have a fancy house, or a nice car for your baby. You do not have to have two parents to feel qualified to parent your baby. You do not have to have a lot of money. Your baby just needs you!

Let me share another piece of my story with you. I became pregnant again at 20 years old. I had my daughter out of wedlock and raised her as a single parent all on my own. Although I had a little support from my adoptive mom at the time, the dynamics of that relationship always have been toxic. Not long after when I was 24 years old, I got pregnant with twins. I was still an unwed pregnant woman, and I already had a 4-year-old as a single parent.

My twins were born 29-week preemies at 2.5oz and 3.1oz and they were in the NICU for 6 weeks before they came home. I brought them home and had a 4-year-old to take care of. I can share with you those times were some of the hardest of my life. I did not have any sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents to help me. I was truly alone but I did it and you can do it too.

It would take me all day to tell you about all the struggles I had raising these 3 kids alone, as a single parent. However, every struggle made us stronger as a family and my kids are truly the reason, I am alive today. They gave me a reason to live when I did not want to live for myself.

I did not have a car most of their lives as younger children, but I learned how to take the bus. I did not have much money, but I was able to get public housing assistance, food stamps and WIC. I could not work because I could not have the twins in daycare. I received state assistance temporarily, but they only gave me $328 a month that had to last the whole month to take care of these kids. I never got child support, although my kid’s fathers have always been ordered to pay.

Thankfully, my kids will never know what it feels like to have their mom abandon them and hand them over to strangers. I know that the loss of my mother, that I am all they ever needed, and they will never know the alternative. I had no clue how to be a mother, because mine we terrible examples but I did the best I could with the resources and tools I had. I would not change a thing about the last 27 years, but I wish adoption did not take so much of my life, so I could have been fully present with my kids. I always felt like a train wreck and I feel they deserved more.

When a pregnant woman learns of her pregnancy, they are usually led to believe they have 3 options. Parent, Abortion or Adoption. However, I do not rally for any of those aside from parenting. Is parenting easy? No way, but our children are so worth it and nothing in life is easy.

If I present Adoption and Abortion as options or choices that would mean I support them, and I support keeping mothers and babies together at all costs. We need more people encouraging mothers to KEEP THEIR BABIES, by offering them support than offering or encouraging Abortion or Adoption as options. I do not fit into the debate of the PRO-CHOICE vs PRO-LIFE. Why? Because my beliefs do not line up to fit in those boxes. I am a family preservationist all the way, so keeping mothers and babies together is my #1 choice and what I wholeheartedly support.

Most people might be judgmental towards my feelings about this, which is perfectly okay, but I feel abortion is much more compassionate than having a baby in the world unwanted and abandoning that baby. Why do I say this? Because I have experienced both. 45 years of deep-rooted relinquishment trauma is a long time to serve filled with unspeakable pain, all for giving my adoptive parents the beautiful baby they wanted. I had to do the time. I have had to pay the price! Please keep in mind I have also been in touch with hundreds of adoptees who feel the same way. Talk to adoptees! We carry the keys to the truth.

If I had to choose, abortion would be my #2 option over adoption any day! I am not interested in arguing with you, or hearing the PRO LIFE propaganda. These are my personal views, and this is my personal space to share them. I know countless adoptees who feel the same way. I can say this because I have lived being adopted and I know firsthand the pain it is caused and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.  I live with it every day. It stole my quality of life for 43 years out of 45 and I am just now coming to a place of peace and fulfillment in my own personal life. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. We can defiantly agree to disagree.  Likely, if you haven’t been abandoned by your mother and passed over to strangers, you can’t grasp the magnitude. If you’re an adoptee that doesn’t agree, that’s fine too. Please understand that your pain isn’t everyone else’s pain. If you haven’t experienced the pain so deep that dying seemed like your only way out, consider yourself fortunate.

Let me also share, if anyone reading this is promoting adoption over abortion these two really have NOTHING to do with one another! On behalf of the adoptee community, we would like you to stop using us as your poster children for your PRO-LIFE motives. On a personal note, you should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF for promoting the separation of mothers and babies over 100% keeping them together. Adoption should NEVER be an option, unless abuse or neglect are involved, and even then TRUTH & TRANSPARENCY is the ONLY way to go.

I do not support adoption or consider it an option because I have had to live being adopted and I can tell you the pain is a pain that is lifelong, even with the most amazing and loving adoptive parents. I will never support adoption and I never present it as a choice of any kind when I speak to any pregnant women. It is NOT A CHOICE in my world. If that topic is brought up, I do everything in my power to educate the person if they are willing to receive the message.

Please understand…

 LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH OR A HOUSE FULL OF STUFF.

Please do not let anyone convince you that it is. Please read Considering Adoption? What Adoptees Want You to Know… and understand it is not just me that feels this way. This article is a plea from over 30 adult adoptees to their first mothers before they make the choice to surrender them for adoption.

There is not any amount of love or material things that will ever replace YOU. It will not take the pain away, no matter how hard our adoptive parents TRY. Maybe the father is not involved, and you are scared? Maybe you do not feel qualified to parent? Please understand that circumstances change, and a lot of the time financial situations are temporary. There are resources out there to help women in these situations.

Adoption is forever.

Please also be encouraged, I remember not having money for food, and a sick baby with no car to the doctors. I remember our electric getting cut off several times. I did what I had to do to survive.

27 YEARS LATER, WE MADE IT!

My twins just turned 22 years old, and my oldest daughter just turned 26. My oldest daughter graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2018 and my twins are both doing great.  Raising them into amazing and incredible human beings has been the biggest gift of my life. The struggles have been real, and it has never been easy, but the rewards have totally exceeded far beyond all our hard times. I always say, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

Please do not let anyone separate you from the most amazing part of your life, and that is your baby. You might be considering an open adoption but I am here to tell you that working in the adoption community over 10 years open adoptions seem to close more than they stay open leaving the birth parents in absolute heartbreak. I have learned of countless stories where the adoptive parents come up with many reasons to close the adoptions, and there is NOTHING legally binding to keep the adoptions open. Imaging being in the shoes of this happening. It seems they all want to sell a dream in the beginning, to get your baby but things change at the drop of the dime and that door slams shut and there is NOTHING you can do about it. It is too late. Do you really want to risk this? It is so not worth it when it comes to your baby.

The mother wound is one of the deepest wounds anyone on earth will ever experience. Many adoptees have this wound not once, but twice due to lack of connection and bonding with our adoptive mothers. It can take a lifetime to unravel and healing is not always possible.  Please do not inflict this wound onto your unborn baby along with the trauma that comes with relinquishment. Please research pre-natal and peri-natal bonding and what happens when this bond is interrupted. Did they tell you that it can cause lifelong damage in your baby? Did they tell you that your baby will cry for you until his/her spirit breaks? Did they tell you adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted individuals and that our prisons, jails, and mental health facilities are overpopulated with adoptees?

If dire circumstances are present, drugs, homelessness, etc. then the next option should be keeping the child with a family member. At all costs, this child’s identity should not be erased, ever! No name changing, or altering birth certificates, no hiding ethnicity, medical history or removing children from their cultures. Adoption of the world today is legalized human trafficking and it needs to be abolished! If you do not believe me read the book “The Child Catchers” and see for yourself. And please understand I know that some adoptions must happen, but I still stand strong that adoption of the world today needs abolished as we know it and we need to focus on guardianship. It needs rebuilt where there are no secrets and lies, and identities are kept intact. Until this happens, I will never support adoption because morally I can not support secrecy and lies, and I know too many adoptees who struggle with everything in them. This was me and my story for 43 years, remember?

Let me also share there is no guarantee your baby is going to go to a home that is loving and can provide more than you can. They want to sell you a dream, but I can assure you adoptive parents divorce, and adopted kids are raised in poverty and on welfare, food stamps, & housing assistance like I was. I was also adopted into a home with a pedophile who has hurt countless innocent children, which is part of the reason I am estranged from this family I was sexually abused in. Do you think my birth mother planned this? No, she was sold the dream I would have two loving parents, and a “better life.” Let us also not forget the number of adoptees being murdered and killed in their adoptive homes is not declining. Please do the research on this.

THERE IS NO GUARANTEE YOUR BABY WILL HAVE A BETTER LIFE.

Only a different one.

If you have made it this far, I commend you. I am honored you would have the willingness to read this article and take in all I have shared here. If you take away anything here, please remember that YOU are all your baby needs. Just you. If you would like assistance from an organization that is set up to guide you and help you through the process of KEEPING YOUR BABY, I wholeheartedly recommend Saving Our Sisters. This organization is founded by a personal friend of mine, Renee Gilin who I admire and love greatly. She has poured her heart and soul into creating this organization out of her own grief, loss, and trauma in losing her son to adoption. Please check her website out and reach out to her if you are still unsure about what you are going to do.

Suggested Resources

Please seek out adult adoptees FIRST before you do anything. We’re the experts in the adoption constellation and we’ve lived being adopted.

Please research adoptee blogs by visiting my Adoptee Blog Roll and also read adoptee centric memoirs and books at Adoptee Reading.

A platform that was created for you is called Ask an Adoptee. This platform has hundreds of adult adoptees on stand by to answer your questions regarding the adoption experience. They want to shed light on the side of things that the adoption agencies and adoption attorneys will not tell you. Please take advantage of this platform and use it as much as you can.

Visit How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? And read and learn from the hundreds of adoptees who have been brave enough to pour their heart and soul out in sharing their experiences on how it feels to be adopted.

Reach out to The Broken Birth Mom on Facebook and connect with her regarding her story of relinquishment.

Tune into Adoptees On and listed to this podcast filled with adoptee stories where you can get a true glimpse of the realities your baby might face if surrendered for adoption.

Connect with Adoption & Birth Mother Support by Musings of the Lame by visiting their website.

Another great resource is First Mother Forum by a friend, Lorraine Dusky who is a birth mother.

Read adoptee stories at Dear Adoption, who is founded by a great friend of mine, Reshma McClintock.

I hope you realize that no matter what story you are sold by the adoption industry, you are truly the best thing for your baby. Every human being has issues, and we are all a work in progress but never let anyone convince you that you aren’t capable of taking care of your baby and that the selfless thing to do is to hand it over to strangers to raise. The majority of adoptees I have been in contact with over the years do NOT feel their mother’s decision was selfless, yet they feel completely abandoned and traumatized by these actions. The adoption industry uses significant coercive tactics to convince you that you are not worthy.

YOU ARE WORTHY AND YOU CAN DO IT.

If you need someone talk too, please email me at: pamelakaranova@gmail.com 

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Learning to Just Be…

img_0319I’ve been working really hard at being okay with doing nothing, learning to JUST BE. I must be honest, It’s a new place for me. One more silver lining I give to Covid-19, but if I’m transparent,  it hasn’t been easy.

For 45 years of my life, I have been busy. Busy raising kids, busy finding my truth, busy working, busy with friends or family. I’ve been busy pouring my heart and soul into other things, a lot of the time being left empty. I’ve been busy with recovery and working on a million root issues. I’ve been busy over committing myself and over extending myself. I’ve been busy finding myself by learning who I am and what I like and don’t like. I’ve been busy creating resources and tools for the adult adoptee population and being an advocate for the community I hold very close to my heart.

Almost all of my commitments and life I’ve been taking care of other people. All the way to being born, and adopted into a family where my adoptive mom couldn’t care for me due to her own mental illness. She showed me that being still or resting was unhealthy, and I don’t want to be anything like her. I remember catering to her wants and needs from a very early age, (5ish). I took care of her, she didn’t take care of me. I was her caretaker.

At 21 I had my first child, and then I had twins at 24. They are all 3 the best part of me. I took care of and raised my 3 children 100% solo with no child support, and no help at all from their fathers. My kids are all adults now, and have turned out wonderfully considering they have come this far without their dads in their life. Not only was I their caretaker, I was mom and dad. I wouldn’t change a thing because they have been worth every bit of the struggle but I will never be able to make up for their dads being missing.

In 2005 I started taking care of a stroke patient for a living. This October I will be with her for 15 years. We’ve rode it out all these years, and she’s been the biggest inspiration of my life. The position I have is a Team Leader position where I’m on call 24/7, which is a significant responsibility. It’s kept me busy and has given me more rewards than you could ever imagine.

Being an advocate in the adoptee community has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifetime, however it’s been draining as hell! I am not lying and I have no way to sugar coat it. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I’m defiantly making changes for myself moving forward. I’m no longer always available like I always have been. I’m putting my mental health first and setting boundaries that work for me.

All of these caretaker roles all the way back to the beginning of my life have taken up5c223d79-ea3c-4e69-8089-92a20d21ba4f ALL MY LIFE. It’s safe to say care taking is in my DNA which is interesting because I don’t feel like anyone has ever taken care of me. Crazy how that works…

Part of finding myself and what I love to do has been such a wonderful and freeing experience. It’s been a lot of fun, and I plan to continue on this amazing journey. However, for some reason I’ve felt for the last few years that I’m running out of time. I plan on writing about “Time” soon, but it’s way too complex for this article. Running out of time makes me feel like every minute of my life I need to be DOING SOMETHING and BEING STILL has never been in my forecast. Being still makes me feel like I’m wasting my life away, and when time is running out that’s a NO GO.

I’ve always been a “Go Getter” and I’m a doer. I don’t just talk about things, I do them. I hate relying on others, because I always seem to get let down so I try to do EVERYTHING on my own, and normally I do a pretty good job at it. I’m all about integrity and I’m a woman of my word. If I say I’m going to do something I do it. I hate being late, and I’m very proud that 99.9% of the time I’m always a little early or on time. I’m always going, taking advantage of every minute of time I’m given, because after all I’m running out of time.

Over the last 8 years of being in recovery, it’s been a shit ton of work. I’ve worked on more “Self Help” topics that I can even share here. 8 Whole years of my life I can’t ever get back, but all those things I worked on have helped me arrive at the destination I am today.

I’ve never been a napper, or someone that rests. The only time I will be still is if I’m sick or my busy life catches up to me and I wear myself out and I make myself sick. Cell phones don’t help this, but enable the havoc we experience in our everyday lives. Having hand held computers at our fingertips, along with social media our minds never stop running. Little by little I’m prying myself of all the ways of the world, finding what works best for me. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to experience is to learn to just be.

Be Still.

Be Quiet.

Just Be.

But how?

How do I do this when I’ve been running for 45 years? 

As you can see, learning to JUST BE hasn’t been easy for me! 

One of the biggest rewards Covid-19 has done for me, (among many) is allowed me the space to learn to JUST BE. What does “just be” look like to me? Doing nothing, reading a book, resting my body, relaxing, going to bed early, calling a friend, writing, unplugging, sitting in nature, watching something I want to watch, etc. To me, “Just Be” is being still for awhile.

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It’s a whole new thing for me but I can tell my body is enjoying a break, and I’m taking on the full time responsibility of whispering to myself that it’s okay to JUST BE. It’s okay to be still, it’s okay to rest. I truly feel the alternate of staying busy all the time, over committing, over booking, and over stimulating my mind, body and spirit was only taking a toll on my emotional, mental and physical health. If I didn’t make these changes, I’m sure I would end up in the hospital at some point, likely sooner than later.  I think a significant piece of this journey is learning to love yourself, by yourself. Embracing your own company.

I decided to share this because being an adoptee, staying busy was an escape for me. I didn’t have to think about my adoptee problems. I worked 3 jobs at one point last year, and also managed to pull of Adoptees Connect, Inc. I was always afraid to be by myself, for idol time and to be alone. But not anymore. I have so many things I like and love to do while I’m being STILL. Writing is one, and I’m doing a lot more of that lately. As well as making time to talk to my friends on the phone. I’m 100% certain if I didn’t get my truth regarding who I am, I wouldn’t even be alive right now let alone in the space of learning to enjoy to JUST BE.

Finding a healthy balance between all these things has been exceptionally challenging if not impossible. I have tried, but I still was way too over committed for it to make a difference. If you can prioritize your life, and then eliminate things that no longer serve you a purpose, then you can find the healthy balance between those things that you decide to keep.

Let me share that there is nothing on this planet worth your health. Nothing. If you feel like you are being spread thin, please reevaluate your commitments and put yourself first. Whatever you can discontinue in order to put your emotional, mental and physical health first please do it. It’s so easy to be that person who’s always there for everyone else, but become depleted because no ones pouring into you or your cup is bone dry empty. If you can no longer keep commitments you have made, communicate that to the reciprocating party/s. Sometimes we have to learn to slow our roll. Put yourself first.

Everything in my life has changed since Covid-19 and I hope you are taking this opportunity to make the changes you need to live a happier and healthier life. No one is going to do it for you.  It’s all on you!

**What changes have you made for yourself since Covid-19 hit? Have you been able to find any silver linings? Do you have trouble resting and being still? How does that impact your daily life?

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R.I.P. RECOVERY

img_0181Never in a million years would I think I would be at a place where I would be writing about this topic, let alone feel like it is a piece of fabric intertwined into my journey.

So much has changed in my life in the last 6 months, like it has for most of us. For me, the good seems to outweigh the bad but that does not mean there was not a lot of pain to get here. I think if we are all honest Covid-19 has rocked our worlds to the core, followed by the racial injustices and racism we continue to see that is dominated the news and our worlds in the recent weeks. Let us be honest, it has always been there, we are just now seeing it at this magnitude.

I have been thinking recently about everything I have learned along my recovery journey all the way back to my childhood being in treatment at 15 years old. I have heard many times that once you consider yourself in recovery, you will always be in recovery. Like the saying, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. I have heard that one too. I remember that one of the significant steps towards recovery was accepting that my recovery journey was a way of life, forever.

Ball and chain, ride or die recovery for life! 

One of the most wonderful things about growth is the ability to see ourselves differently from the person we used to be. For me, everything has changed in the last 8 years. On August 13, 2020 I will celebrate 8 years sobriety and let me tell you – It is a day I celebrate. It also happens to be my birthday. The day I came into this world and the same day I was separated form my birth mother forever, is the same day I celebrate my sobriety birthday. It might not be for the reasons you think, so let me share a little bit.

The last day I drank alcohol was the day I truly started living. That is when the shit got real, and adoptee issues smacked me straight in the face. They had always been with me, but alcohol numbed the pain at least temporarily. The last drink I ever had, was the end of the old me and I was welcomed by being an Adoptee in Recovery. It was a rebirth, a new life, and it has taken me 8 years of blood, sweat and tears to get to the space of arrival to where I am today. I could write for days at all the work I have put in to get here, but I don’t have time to write it and I’m sure you don’t have time to read it.

The reason I am celebrating that day is not because I was born that day. That is a very painful piece of my story, as it is for most adoptees. I gifted my kids a new mom that day, and I gifted myself a new life. That is why I celebrate that day. I also celebrate it as a reminder of all the heartache I had to go through to get to the place of sobriety for 8 years. I think I will always celebrate this day, and it means something different to me than almost everyone else. It is accomplishment, freedom, joy, and pain. I cried years of tears and sat with a lifetime of adoptee pain to finally get to a place where I can finally say “I’m Okay.”

That does not mean I do not have bad days or bad hours. It just means that I have accepted I am adopted and there is not anything I can do about it. I have accepted both my birth parents rejected me and my adoptive family was abusive and there is nothing I can do about it. I have walked through good days and bad days, and still process this pain daily. I have accepted that the pain is here to stay, and although it might get easier on occasion, I know it will always come back around because I will always be adopted. The layers of pain are just too great to disappear, so I have learned to welcome it and learn to sit with the pain.

Let me be clear, I will ALWAYS be recovering from the damage adoption has done! I will always share that damage, and my journey so other adoptees are inspired, and so they don’t feel alone. 

I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE.  

I think recovery is something we move through. Some of us attach it to us for the rest of our lives, and some of us can move through it and let go of the label when and if the time is right. Whatever works for each of us individually is all that matters. It’s not a life sentence and I refuse to accept it is any longer.

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I no longer have a desire to drink, and quitting the alcohol was the easiest part for me. I have been asking myself lately why I must attach the label “RECOVERY” to my life forever? Because they said so? Those in the recovery realm have told me that is what I need to do to stay in sobriety? Yes, that is part of it. I have learned for years that the minute I no longer consider myself in recovery, is a pathway to relapse to my old life. This has truly been embedded into my mind and I have always been ride or die recovery because of it. The THOUGHT of removing that label has never entered my mind until now.

I learned in the recovery world, that working the 12 steps was an ongoing process. I remember working them back to back for years. One day it was like a light switch went off and I realized years had passed me by and I was on this merry-go-round ride going around and around on the recovery wagon nonstop. Countless time invested that I can never get back, however I would not change a thing. These experiences have brought me great understanding and wisdom not only about myself, but the world we live in.  In this flip I switched, I made more changes in my life. I withdrew from Celebrate Recovery to “find myself” outside of the rules and regulations of this ministry and recovery program.

Most of you reading understand my love for nature but I will be clear, I did not reconnect with this love until after I left the church and the recovery ministry all together. They were two things that sucked my time bone dry, and I did not have time to do anything else. Fast forward to now and it is 2020 and all I want to do in my spare time is escape to nature and I have found it to be the greatest aspect to my healing journey yet to date.

What if I have worked so hard and so long at recovery, that I really feel okay with my life now? What if I have pulled out all my root issues and worked on them for years and I have moved forward with my life? What if I am no longer stuck? What if I have decided I want to write my own pages of my story and I have finally decided I no longer want to refer to myself as being in recovery? What if I am comfortable with this?

What if the recovery world does not support me or if they judge me or tell me I am making a bad choice? What about Adoptees in Recovery? How will I identify myself moving forward? What will people think? Can I still share my recovery journey with others? Can I still celebrate my sobriety?

The moral of the story is, I genuinely do not care what anyone thinks. These fears have been on my mind off an on over the last few months, and I am finally ready to let them go while I make a public declaration that I am saying RIP to RECOVERY. Being an outsider looking in, although this is a piece of my story, I have noticed this label has hindered me in many areas of life.

I am determined to not let this change the fact that I am always growing and moving forward. I am always striving for greatness and continuing to improve my life in all areas, mind, body, and spirit. I truly feel all I am doing is dropping the label because I have put in all the work and effort that if I want to drop it, I can. I don’t like how this can be a life sentence. It’s up to us to write the pages of our story, not one is going to do it for us. No one has the right to try to confine us to commit to any label for the rest of our lives.

I want to just live my life.

I want to be happy and free from all the rules and regulations that go along with recovery and what that even looks like depending on what recovery program I am a part of. Yes, things still hurt sometimes, and they always will but I’m no longer interested in continuing with the ride or die, ball and chain link to the recovery world that I’ve invested so much time in for the last 8 years. Recovery has been such a huge part of my life for so long, it is going to take me some time to stop using the terminology but if I am being honest that is all it really was. Nothing is going to change aside from removing the lifelong life sentence of the label. I hate labels, all labels. They can and do cause a lot of damage, so one by one I am removing them.

Can’t I just be someone who doesn’t drink alcohol?

Sure I can!

I don’t have to cling tight to a label for the rest of my life to do this. 

I am writing my own story, and today I am Pam and I am happy internally. I’m healing daily, I am moving forward and growing. Instead of saying “I’m Pam and I am in recovery from LIFE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE” I am going to start sharing that “I’m Pam and  I have finally found a LOVE FOR LIFE!”

With this, I must go live it!

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Until I did the 8 years of time recovering, this would not be possible. I do not regret a thing. I just want to enjoy life; do the things I love and spend time with those I am close too. That is, it.

RIP RECOVERY

TODAY I’M FREE

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