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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The Adoptee Expressway to Recovery Has More Than One Way 

img_7963I’ve learned the hard way, that the one way that’s usually presented as an express track to recovery and sobriety, isn’t the only way. I’ve also learned that there is nothing fast, quick or express about it. I’ve found that when one way is presented, this leaves one with absolutely no options to choose from in regards to making an informed choice regarding one’s very personal recovery journey. This is part of my life story. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again that someone’s recovery journey is as unique as their very own fingerprint and DNA. No two journeys are alike.  

I’ve been sharing my Adoptee in Recovery journey since August 13, 2012 and it’s no secret my main “addiction” was always alcohol. It was my “go to” to escape my adoptee reality. But the real question is, what was the reality I was running from? How long had I struggled with this addiction? What pathways to recovery did I try? What ways were presented to me? What were my root issues?

WHAT OPTIONS DID I HAVE? 

At 15 years old, I found myself locked in drug & alcohol treatment all alone. The only way out was to believe in God, a power higher than myself, and to work the 12 steps. I had no other options. By completing the 12 steps in 6 weeks, I graduated the program and it allowed me to go home. I had no knowledge of the AA Big Book before this, and I really didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the big book even after I worked the 12 steps. I was just “Going with the flow” because if I didn’t, I would never get to go home. Adoption was never talked about! 

If you read my previous article titled “Adoptee in Recovery, When Forged Forgiveness Becomes Fatal” you learned a little of my background of my drinking career. I don’t want to repeat everything from that article, so if interested, please read it and you can to get a little background. 

img_7964Today, I navigate my 2838th day living alcohol free, I’m just now coming to the head-space where I feel comfortable talking about this topic. After 7.5 years of a recovery process, If I’m completely transparent, my drinking started before I was ever born, in utero because I was told my birth mother was never seen without a drink in her hand, even through her pregnancies. It’s no wonder I started drinking so young.  

I’ve spent 45 years on this earth, my drinking career started at age 12 years old. That means I drank from 12 years old, to 38 years old. This is a 26 year drinking career! For an entire lifetime, I’ve been told I’m an alcoholic and I have always struggled with that thought. It’s made me feel “Bad” or “Defective.” Labeling myself an ALCOHOLIC for the rest of my life seems daunting, heavy, untrue and downright disgusting when I’ve been manipulated my whole life to believe this about myself. Being told I’m in DENIAL if I don’t label myself an alcoholic is abusive. I’m exceptionally happy I’m at such a healthy place in my own journey that I can recognize this as being unhealthy and toxic to my recovery. 

In the recovery world, I have never been able to verbally say, “My name’s Pam and I’m an alcoholic.” Those words have never set well with my spirit, even during the times in my life that I didn’t understand WHY. I remember a few times between 15 years old, and 38 years old I found myself in an AA room, because I knew I had a problem but the root of my problem was adoption, not alcohol. I know this now, but I didn’t know this as a 15 year old. If I was to share in an AA room about relinquishment trauma and how it’s impacted me, they would all look at me like I had lost my mind! I already know what they would be thinking, “What the HELL does this have to do with being an alcoholic?!” 

While spending the first few years of recovery in my late 30’s in and out of the AA rooms, this lets you know how much I took advantage of the open share of the AA rooms. ZERO. Because it was known that in order to share, I had to say “I’m Pam and I’m an alcoholic.” Me being stubborn is an understatement. I wasn’t going to say something that I didn’t feel in my heart was true just to be able to share, so I never shared. I just listened even after the first year. Even when I never verbally said I was an alcoholic, AA was known for alcoholics. I feel I was labeling myself as an alcoholic just by showing up at the meetings, even when I didn’t verbally say I was an alcoholic. Sharing is healing, and if I didn’t share at all in the meetings, it was stalling my healing. Period. 

I totally understand why AA/NA & Celebrate Recovery work for so many people. They provide community for others experiencing similar stages of life. They bring on new friendships, and a safe place to share. I think this provides amazing benefits for many people, and I’m happy about that if it works for you, or those you might know and love. My experience is different, but I have been able to take away some wonderful benefits from being a part of these groups, even if it was for a season. I learned a lot! 

 

Spending the last few years on the outside of any recovery organization or ministry, I’ve learned a lot as well. I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned, and use it for good and help others who might be where I once was. I had to walk away from everyone I knew and loved when I decided to get sober. I know I hurt some people doing this, but I didn’t have to explain myself. My life came first, and it was life or death. All I have to do is see the faces of my kids, and future grand-kids and I’m reminded alcohol no longer plays a role in my life. I don’t need the label of “alcoholic” to remind me. The world hasn’t been on my side in this discovery! 

In those 26 years, not only was I forced to admit in my mind, and publicly by showing up at meetings that I was an alcoholic, but it was necessary that I believe in God. I was told I needed to forgive all those who have hurt me, and I was encouraged to make amends with those who have traumatized and abused me. I was told if I didn’t admit I was an alcoholic, I was in denial and denial would only lead to death, failed recovery, relapse, among other things. 

Somehow I finagled my way through the 12 steps MANY times, without ever verbally saying I was an alcoholic. In 2012, I would say, “I’m Pam, I’m in recovery for alcohol abuse.” but that was the closest thing I have ever come to labeling myself an alcoholic. It seemed to fit me and my situation better at the current time. It was more TRUE to me to say that, than attach a label to myself for the rest of my life. I absolutely despise labels, and I find them to be a box of confinement of rules and regulations that I refuse to fit in. Currently, May 21, 2020 I say, “I’m in recovery from LIFE and relinquishment & adoption trauma!” This suits me at this present stage of my life. See how the labels can actually hinder us and trap us in a space we have the abilities to move beyond? Especially the phrase, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic!” –  Dangerous! 

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It feels so wonderful to share this publicly, and not feel like I’m going to get thrown under the bus in the process. I feel labels only construct us and hold us back within the limits of those ideas and we deserve the freedom to go far beyond that. I know I have one friend who understands this and that’s David Bohl.  David is also a fellow adoptee in recovery, and we see things very similarly. He’s given me the inspiration to share my feelings about such a complex topic and he continues to share his on his website. 

DavidBohl-headshot-740x1024David shares in his article called The World Post – AA,, “I’ve learned a lot from AA and I learned a lot from leaving it. The biggest lesson is the one that tells me I need to be kind with myself and that I need to stay as diligent about Reality as I’ve always been. I no longer live in the delusion that I can drink without some dire consequences and I don’t need meetings to tell me that. But just because I don’t go to meetings, it doesn’t mean that I’m off the hook from reminding myself every day and practicing what keeps me sober and happy.” –  David B. Bohl 

I can so agree with David about learning a lot from AA and also learning a lot from leaving it! Same with Celebrate Recovery. Today I asked myself, “Did I really have to admit I was an alcoholic in order to be in recovery, seek healing and wholeness in my life? Did I need to admit I was an alcoholic to stop drinking? How has this idea stalled my healing?”  What I’ve finally discovered is that, “NO, I don’t have to accept or admit I’m an alcoholic!” I can’t tell you how refreshing, freeing and wonderful this realization has been. If it’s true for me, it can be true for you too! We have to step into writing our own story, and stop letting others write it for us. 

Over a 20 year period, I learned that both my biological parents were alcoholics. I found out my biological mother was first, and it’s ultimately what killed her. Some years later I found my biological father, and I was told he was a raging alcoholic. He will likely die the way my birth mother did. Discovering these two very important pieces of my history is something that rocked me to my core. This is why ALL adopted people should receive 100% of their truth. It’s the KEY to healing!  You might ask, “How are both of your birth parents alcoholics and you are not when you drank for 26 years?” 

That’s easy for me. I don’t drink anymore, and I’m in recovery and I no longer have a desire to drink. I’ve put in the work to make changes. They, on the other hand are going to die from alcoholism as my birth mother already has, and my biological father is right behind her. If either of my birth parents put in the work to become sober, I wouldn’t label them alcoholics but they never got help, sadly. I broke the cycle and I’ve applied a lot of blood, sweat and tears to do this. I can not consciously attach being an alcoholic to my name and my legacy because of this. My kids are my motivation! 

I BROKE THE CYCLE NOT JUST FOR ME, BUT FOR THEM! 

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From my experience, in AA never admitting you are an alcoholic is denial. This thought process that influenced me kept me confined for a very long time! It’s very scary for a lot of people who are considering recovery or living an alcohol free life. From my experience, in AA, if you don’t label yourself an alcoholic, you will NOT make it. Relapse is inevitable and you will be told you are in denial. Let me be clear, I know AA, NA and Celebrate Recovery, and all the other recovery programs and ministries have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I can find goodness in all of these programs. But due to my experiences with them, I can also take some steps back and see how damaging they can be. I’m not knocking them, or those who believe in them or those that are faithful participants of any of them. I’m just saying what worked and didn’t work for me, along with my views being on the outside looking in. 

Besides my three amazing kids, knowing both my birth parents were alcoholics was my motivation to want to be nothing like them. I didn’t want to be like them, and I didn’t want to die like them. I have wasted 26 years of my life, with alcohol being at the center of almost everything I did and I didn’t want alcohol to take anymore from my life, or my kids lives.  

The older I get, the more wisdom I gain, and the more I begin to think for myself. I never understood how labeling myself an alcoholic for the rest of my life would help me? If I’m doing everything in my power to become happy, healthy, and recover from my previous life experiences, why do I have to call myself an alcoholic, yet be manipulated into doing this? I never fell for it, and I have never been comfortable with ADMITTING I’M AN ALCOHOLIC. 

Today I celebrate 2838 days of living alcohol free, and I’ve made it this far never claiming the label of being an alcoholic. Can I agree I had an alcohol problem? Definitely. Can I drink today even if I wanted to drink today? No sir. I can’t. I know this and I have way too much at risk. I can also agree that the root of my drinking, and alcohol problem was relinquishment trauma and adoption trauma from my adoption experience. That’s my truth and that’s where I needed to put my focus if I ever wanted to be a happy, healthy individual. 

So how did I get to where I am when I’ve never publicly admitted I’m an alcoholic? Being true to myself was KEY. In order to know what that looked like, I needed to be by myself. I know not everyone can do this, or wants to do this. That’s okay.  I spent years, single not dating at all in order to learn who I am and who I’m not. What were my likes and dislikes at this stage of my life? I had to leave all the systems that were presented to me like church,  AA & Celebrate Recovery and walk away.  I had to create my own program that works for me which has been Adoptees Connect, Inc.  I walked away from many of the reasons (people, places and things) I drank to begin with, I got real with myself and got honest. I’ve applied the tools that I’ve been given and aligned them with what works for me and I’ve thrown the rest in the trash. Some of these things, others inside and outside of recovery settings might not agree with. I’ve learned to be okay with that. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I’m no longer collecting CHIPS for my recovery milestones. I collect ROCKS which are symbolic to me. I’ve found more healing in nature, chasing waterfalls than I have inside any church, program or ministry. 

MY WAY. 

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There’s a lot of stigma attached to recovery, that it has to be done a certain way. I’m no longer buying into it. I’m now doing things my way. Going against the grain is in my DNA but it’s been a significantly difficult journey to always be the one “not listening” or “not following directions.”  Or better yet, “THE REBEL WITH A CAUSE” – This is what I prefer to be called. 🙂 But here I am, 2838 days into sobriety and I have a story to tell on how I got here. The instructions of finding god, labeling myself an alcoholic and demanding forgiveness in order to heal and be in recovery has not worked for me, and news flash…

I’M STILL IN RECOVERY! 

I’M STILL SOBER! 

I HAVE A NEW FOUND LOVE FOR LIFE THAT I NEVER HAD BEFORE. 

MY WAY ISN’T ANYONE ELSE’S WAY. 

I’M OKAY WITH THIS. 

I BROKE THE CYCLE! 

I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC! 

I would like to share a message of encouragement for all my fellow adoptees in recovery, and anyone else who might be reading this article. You don’t have to admit you’re an alcoholic to get help, nor do you have to admit it in private. You don’t have to forgive everyone, or anyone for that matter. You don’t have to believe in God to get the help you need. I encourage you to explore other options outside of the 12 steps of AA, and religious settings because as times change, recovery doesn’t fit in a box. It’s not a “One size fits all” method like it was when I was growing up, and entering the recovery 12 step world in 2012. There are so many other options out there now. Keep searching until you find what works for you and realize that your way isn’t anyone else’s way. 

 One of the people who I follow and admire greatly is my friend mentioned above, David Bohl. Follow his Facebook, get his memoir. Read his article, Blue Mind and Relinquishees/Adoptees. The idea of being close to water and the healing dynamics to it is a very powerful healing tool! I can wholeheartedly agree, because this is what I get when I chase waterfalls. This is one of the many things that’s worked for us, but the mainstream recovery outlets aren’t talking about it. We learned it on our own and have a lifetime of experiences to back it up. Research Blue Mind.  You will be happy you did! 

TNM_book-hand-mockup_jan_2018-400x386Another sober living tool I’ve been following and learning about is This Naked Mind.  This Naked Mind has helped me realize that many people struggle with alcohol, and we have many options to try to seek understanding on the WHY, so we can make an informed choice on getting help.  I also encourage building a support system of other adoptees in recovery. Consider starting an Adoptees in Recovery® group via Adoptees Connect, Inc.®  I suggest EMDR Therapy because it has been highly recommended for adoptees, trauma work and inner child work is also a great step in healing. If you can find a Adoptee Competent Therapist at Beyond Words Psychological Services, LLC. I highly recommend it. 

268x0wListen to the podcast, Adoptees On. This has been a major healing tool for adoptees all over the world. Haley is a personal friend of mine and her gift of this podcast has changed the lives of so many people. She’s exceptionally gifted on creating a safe space for adoptees to share their adoption experience. In this, the validation that adoptees receive by tuning in is a valuable tool in our healing. Check her out!

I can share from experience, HANDS DOWN – I COULD NOT WORK ON RELINQUISHMENT AND ADOPTION TRAUMA WHILE I WAS DRINKING ALCOHOL. I HAD TO STOP DRINKING COLD TURKEY TO DO THIS WORK! I became suicidal mixing the two, so if you are TRULY wanting to work on your adoptee problems, trauma, and issues I suggest getting sober FIRST. After-all, that’s a huge part of the reason many of us drink and use substances to begin with. If you haven’t made that connection yet, here is a helpful video for you. Paul Sunderland – Adoption & Addiction.

We all deserve to know the truth that there are more ways than the one way that might be presented to us as contemplate entering into a recovery journey. Your “thing”  might be drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, sex, divorce, anger, rage, self esteem, abandonment, rejection, C-PTSD, and the list could go on. Alcohol was the substance I used to run from processing abandonment, rejection, grief, loss and trauma regarding my adoption journey. Keep searching for what works for you and please know that this world is now full of possibilities  to living a life of happiness and wholeness beyond the confinement of any programs, rules and regulations of others telling you how it needs to be done.

Do not settle for one way. 

Your way isn’t anyone else’s way! 

Sending Love & Light,

Pamela Karanova

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 Social Media Distancing – The Time Clock is Ticking

fe98b18a-8e0e-42f1-b675-2eda5ebd4e90Allow me a few minutes while I share my new guidelines for social media distancing. I am making some major changes in my personal and professional life, I hope to have more time to write about different topics of being an adoptee in recovery, and nature, wilderness wellness and more. My time is the most valuable thing I have on this planet and there are certain things I will no longer waste it on.

As so many mixed emotions, situations, and feelings have risen for most individuals due to this Covid-19 virus sweeping through our world, it has literally changed everything for me personally and professionally. Some of it has been painful, and some has been enlightening. Some has been a mixture of both. Most of us have been able to find a silver lining, if not many of them.

Spending the last few months glued to the television, seeking any and all guidance from the mainstream media, our government and traditional news outlets, I’ve made the personal choice to discontinue tuning into this for my own mental health and well-being, not to mention I’ve found most of it to be propaganda based on lies.  I have also found this to ring true for certain social media platforms. I have found it to be a toxic addition to my life, and I am making the choice to opt out of certain platforms.

I have seen people fall out on social media at the flip of a switch because narratives are presented with certain articles, views or ideas and someone wants to make it “I’m right and you’re wrong.”  I have found this line of thinking to be toxic, as well as the friendships that are based on the foundation that in order to be my friend, you have to believe like me, act like me and talk like me. Sounds like religious circles, right?  To be true to myself, these are not the type of people or relationships I want in my life, even on my social media.  Because of this, I’m implementing my own social media distancing guidelines. The older I get, the more things change. I want a small, true, and genuine circle of friends. More friends is not better, it is actually worse.

One thing the Coronavirus has done is allow people to show their true colors, especially on social media platforms because many love to get big and bold behind the computer screen. Reality is, if they talked that trash in real life, they would likely get punched straight in the face. I personally partake in a particular type of social media etiquette and carry myself a certain way when in the presence of so many other people because I feel its the kind thing to do. When I see something posted by someone else that I do not agree with on social media, I politely pass that post by. If I notice someone I know on social media sharing posts that I feel are toxic to my mental health and well-being, or it’s something I don’t agree with,  I kindly snooze them for 30 days, or unfollow them all together or simply ignore it. I am not on social media to pop on everyone’s timeline and create discord on their posts and pages and that is never what I have been on social media for. Social media used to be fun, but at this present time in our current affairs, I have found it to be anything but fun. It’s draining, triggering and exhausting.

Apparently too much time in the house has others who are out to argue or prove someone else is wrong and they are right. Let me be perfectly honest, in my opinion social media all alone has created an illusion that all these people are our friends, and all these people like us, support us and “love” us. This might be true to an extent because I have many people on social media I like, support and LOVE. I think we all do, however the other side of this is a lot of people are connected to us in some form or fashion that are just people taking up space. Their opinions really do not matter to me, and if I am being completely honest, most of them are likely no one I would ever hang out with off social media in real life. Who are these people and why are they on my social media? I sometimes ask myself this question daily. I do social media cleanses often, unfriending people who I don’t really know but I realize we all have different outlooks on social media. I respect what others use it for and understand we might have totally different views on this.

I think I have been clear on how I feel about internet interactions, due to the creation of Adoptees Connect, Inc. and this resource having the soul purpose of building relationships with adoptees in our communities in real life. In person friendships and meetings are so much more genuine to me than anything that can be built online, and these are the connections I want in my life. I also apply this to my real life, not just Adoptees Connect, Inc. I do have a small circle of close friends from the adoption community, who I consider my ride or dies. I am not talking about them. They know who they are.

The new normal of others being stuck at home due to the Covid-19 virus has really done a number on people, understandably so. It’s done a number on me too, and I’m 100% certain my life will never be the same.  Some people are out of work, some are trying to find food for their kids, some are at a complete loss on how they can pay their rent this month. I get it and I have great sympathy for each person and each family.

I have experienced my own setbacks due to this virus, although I do not care to share them publicly, I am consciously aware that we are all at different spaces and places in life. I am aware many people are on high alert, and much of what they share comes out in what they post on social media. I know when to allow others grace and turn the cheek and when to keep it moving.

As for social distancing, some people are doing the things they are doing to survive, and what that looks like to them, looks like defiance to someone else. I am set on never casting judgement on people for doing what they need to do to survive. Many people are dealing with mental health issues, and others are extremely lonely. The internet is good at making people feel as if they are connected and because of this, social media has been a wonderful tool for many. Isn’t that what so many of us desire, is that ultimate need to feel connected?

Normally I do not post politically motivated topics, or topics to be overly sensitive for many reasons. Over the last few months, I have shared a few posts that could be looked at as controversial, and I do not regret sharing them at all. However, the open mindedness I would hope most people would have was almost non-existent. Instead of reading the topics, and learn something they wanted to be right, and express that I was wrong for sharing them. These are not the type of people I want in my life, and this is not the type of activity I want to be wasting my time on. We are only allowed a certain amount of time granted to each of us in every single day we have here on earth, and the time clock is ticking.

I am taking responsibility of allowing social media to fill a space in my life that really could be filled with other things that are productive to living a happy and healthy life, even with the Covid-19 virus in full effects. In recovery we can make excuses all day long but ultimately, we must take accountability for our own lives and make changes when things do not suite our needs. Just like the church, religion, and so many other areas of life, it is easy to fall into a trap of co-dependency regarding social media and how much time we spend on there.

I have struggled with the entire concept of so much good coming from social media, at the expense of my unbelievably valuable time. With my time I want to be educating myself and learning new things. I want to be outside in the sunshine reading books I have had on my bookshelf for 25+ years because motherhood dominated my life for so long, I had intentions to read them but never could. I’ve read two whole books in the last week from beginning to end. That hasn’t happened in over 25 years. Now, my kids are older, I want to spend time with them which is my biggest priority. I am free to explore the world and different areas of my state. (Before and after Covid-19, obviously) I have hammocks, and camping gear and a car filled with gas. I want to be adventuring in my area and state and forget all about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as much as humanly possible.

My mental health is always better when I am outside, connected to the earth in full sync and harmony with nature. Being glued to computers, cell phones, tablets and all electronics are just things I do not want to be doing anymore. If I do, I want my time spent in these areas to be as productive as possible. I believe all the social media platforms that are around and being created are truly just distractions from us all living the true life we were meant to live.

It’s so easy to get sucked into the enticing aspects of the fun and convenience that social f18beb15-8b90-4cc1-9674-4fd5be3d3ebdmedia brings, but I woke up one day and realized if I don’t make some changes I will be a slave to social media forever. I have addictive personality, so monitoring my time on social media does not work for me. I have tried it all, just like I did with alcohol for the 27 years of drinking. If I do not make changes, time I that could be spent feeding my spirit to be as happy and healthy as possible will have slipped by me, poof…  Gone, like a vapor. No one knows how much time we have on earth, and I am living each day like it is my last, even in quarantine.

Stress is a huge problem for many people in work, at home and life in general. I can tell you one thing, stress will eat you from the inside out and take a toll on your mind, your body and spirit. I have let the stress from Adoptees Connect, Inc. and social media platforms dominate way too much of my time. Due to the nature of social media becoming a toxic playground, I have made the choice to take a break from most of the platforms I have normally been continually active in for many years. I have had a love/hate relationship with social media and technology for many years. This comes from wanting to be healthy and happy, and becoming happy and healthy you notice more, especially toxic things and toxic people. It is no wonder I am at a breaking point because it’s been in the works for years!

I care more about my personal friendships with people that I do about being right and others being wrong to even care to participate in these platforms and conversations. I have learned that when leaving social media platforms, 99.9% of the people do not even notice you are gone, because relationships have become so generic due to the illusion social media gives off which is really a sad thing. I am not falling into this illusion anymore.

What I desire in my life are true genuine connections with people in real life. Of course, I still want to keep the relationships with people that aren’t close in my city, but I feel we are close enough that we can and will still keep in touch despite my farewell to many social media platforms. Those are the connections and relationships I have built in the last 10 years at a distance that are scattered all over the world. Most of those people have my phone number, and email and we can stay in touch. They know who they are, so I do not have to share names.

The people who I want around me in my real life, are the people who don’t always have to be right, and those who allow the possibility of others experiences, strengths and wisdom to be people we can all learn something from one another. The “I’m right, your wrong” mentality is a dangerous space to be in, and that is not where I am at.

Social media in my life has become a thief of time, and I write all the time about how time is the most valuable thing I have left to give, and the most valuable thing anyone can give. So why continue to give so much time to something that really is not bringing me the fulfillment it once was but in return it is stealing my time?

106f31ed-3f27-4e3c-bf09-050cad01eca0I have clearly outgrown it.  I have a whole list of things I want to tend too in my personal life that have all of a sudden become more important than feeding into the social media illusion I’ve been addicted too for many years now. I have developed this co-dependence that I wish to discontinue, and that is where I am at in this present place of my life. First, I discontinued Twitter, then Instagram and now my public Facebook page. I’ve kept my Facebook “like” pages for now, but I don’t plan on spending much time on them and I had to keep my commitment in keeping my Adoptees Connect, Inc. group alive, as well as the AC Facebook page. Keeping these pages alive are for my fellow adoptees, not for me.

I have taken care of people my whole life, and it has been my career for 15 years. Now it is time to take care of myself. My hope is to write more on my website, as well as read and be outside. I want to build on my small circle of close friends by intentional connections, by reaching out to them and spending time with them when the world opens back up again. Until then, I want to talk on the phone and make plans to see one another. The superficial illusion of social media is no longer controlling me.

Another thing I am working on is my addiction to SUGAR. How is it SUGAR has been harder for me to beat than alcohol? I have figured it out, but I will share in future articles I write. In recovery we learn people trade addictions for addictions. I have found this to be true regarding my toxic and unhealthy love for sugar. This is another reason why eliminating stress is KEY because stress can trigger all kinds of addictive behaviors and patterns. While valuable time on social media is out, I am putting myself first so I can be the happiest and healthiest version of me. Be on the lookout for more articles, more writing, and more genuine connectivity from me! Although I am off my personal Facebook page, you can contact me by my public page by clicking here. You can also find me on LinkedIn. Please introduce yourself. I do not add strangers to my LinkedIn.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading! I would love to know what boundaries you are setting for yourself during the Covid-19 pandemic? What have you found that is not working for you? What is working? Are you taking care of yourself? If so, how? If not, why not?

I hope you make the choice to put yourself and your happiness first. By all means necessary, do what you need to do to eliminate as much stress as possible from your life. Your health and happiness depends on it. XO – P.K.

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