I’ve come to a recent discovery after doing some self-reflection that I am someone that takes longer than your average person to process feelings, especially ones that are considered heavy or disheartening. I’m naturally a BIG feeler and a deep thinker.
While discovering this, it has been said that this is a “hang-up” or a “bad thing.” As I ask myself, “am I defective for taking so long to process things?” or “is something wrong with me for taking so long to process things?” I’ve been trying to process why I am this way, and I had an epiphany this morning.
I take longer than the average person to process things, because I’m feeling the feelings and processing them. I’m not side stepping or avoiding truly feeling and processing feelings. I’m doing the work, I’m evaluating my part, and caring enough about myself to not rush the process. This is self-care. This is self-love. This is putting myself first, and in return I can show up for others in a more grounded way. I spent 27 years drinking alcohol to numb my reality, to escape.
While running, I didn’t have to put in the work to feel the feelings and process the pain. I jumped from one shit storm to another for 27 years. I didn’t show up but a shell of me did. Avoidance worked until I decided I wanted to get real with myself, and all the problems I had been running from for 27+ years showed up at my front doorstep. I could only run for so long… 27 years is ALONG TIME!
The difference in today…
Today, I’m no longer running home to drink so I don’t have to feel. A shell of me is no longer showing up, but all of me is, along with my imperfections. As I approach a 9-year milestone in my recovery and alcohol-free journey (8/13/12) I am taking note of the way things are for me now, verses the way things used to be. I’m no longer depending on alcohol to take the pain away; I’m depending on myself to put in the work to do that.
This takes a while.
I’m not a robot.
While others might say this is a negative thing, or something they can’t live with or tolerate, I can say I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come. It’s taken a lot of self-work, blood sweat and tears to learn how to process real and raw feelings after spending 27 years escaping them. No one has shown me how to do this, I have no mother, father, siblings, aunts, or uncles pouring into me. I have figured it out on my own.
Let me add, responding after a trauma response is triggered, is a whole new beast. Acknowledging the problem is half the battle. Admitting and committing to help is another piece of the battle. I’m a work in progress as we all are but I’m not sitting in denial. I have work to do.
It’s all a part of the growth process, I think. As we grow and move forward in life, we discover new things about ourselves. Some of them will make us pick our face up off the floor, and some we ease right on into depending on the circumstances. We’re all a work in progress, and we’ve all adapted to life’s circumstances using survival skills, some healthy and some unhealthy. It’s up to each of us to put in the time, work, and effort to figure out new ways to work things out, especially when the old ways don’t necessarily serve us a great purpose.
Sharing because if I’m ever late to the party, likely I’m over here processing and feeling the feels just so I can show up at all. But when I show up, I will show up with all of me. Not fragments or broken up pieces of me like I did for 27 years. I won’t show up avoiding my reality, masking my feelings with alcohol. I call it self-loyalty and being true to me. It’s not for everyone to accept and not everyone will understand this. That’s okay. I’ve accepted I’m not for everyone.
My main focus is on being true to me. Then, I can show up genuinely for others in a more well rounded way. Wherever you are in your healing and processing journey, be easy on yourself. You are right where you need to be.
Here I am again as another trip around the sun comes to an end while the last few months of 2020 is fast approaching. Yesterday I embraced the beginning of a brand-new trip around the sun.
A new page.
A new chapter in this book called LIFE.
This year has had a million twists and turns and I have found myself slipping into a surreal state of bewilderment on many occasions. I think many of us have.
August 13th is my earthly birthday and I turn 46 years old yesterday. This means that 46 years ago yesterday I experienced the saddest day of my existence, the day I lost my birth mother. Birthdays are difficult for adoptees. If you don’t believe me, check out my friend, David Bohl’s most recent article Happy Birthday Relinquishment Day to Me! I know I’m not alone. I know many other adoptees feel a deep-rooted sorrow on this day. Here’s another article to consider reading – How Adoptees Feel About Birthdays.
I have been celebrating another milestone on my earthly birthday and that is my Rebirth-Day. My Rebirth-Day is my yearly milestone of living an alcohol-free life. I wholeheartedly feel this is the day I truly started living. This is why I’m calling it my Rebirth-Day. 8 years ago, on August 13, 2012 was the last drink of alcohol I had. It just so happens these two “occasions” fall on the same day. Spending a lifetime of running from adoptee pain, my Rebirth-Day is the day I started processing relinquishment trauma, grief, loss, C-PTSD, abandonment, rejection, anger, and rage from my adoption experience FREE FROM ALCOHOL. It’s the day I stopped using alcohol to numb the pain. Not many people can say they have done this without substances of some sort. Adootee pain is SO GREAT!It’s not easy, but my kids have made it worth it.
Even when I have a great reason to celebrate my 8-year milestone, the realities of the BIRTH day still haunt me. To be completely honest, I have been dreading this day all month, even before August gets here. It has taken every bit of strength in me to get out of bed and even be halfway functional. This year has been hard, not just on me but our entire world.
Remaining SOBER through the stresses that have come due to the pandemic and this year has been a challenging feat, to say the least. More and more I am learning how to handle uncomfortable emotions, that I would not process in my old, PRE-REBIRTH-DAY ways. Alcohol was my best friend, in good times and bad for 27 years.
What have I done to live an alcohol-free life for the past year? Besides finding enough strength to pick my face up off the floor on many occasions, there is much more to it for me.
I have set hella boundaries for myself.
Be true to me, no matter what.
I completely removed myself from Adoptionland. It is taken a toll on my mental health, and I can no longer participate.
I have ended relationships with people who are the type of people who only allow those to sit at their table who believe like them. This is a true gift I have given myself. I will never fit in their box. It is time to move on from these relationships.
I have listened to my intuition on how people make me feel when I interact with them. Interactions that leave me feeling drained that no longer serve me in a healthy way will be discontinued.
I put myself first, and stay away from blood suckers who drain my energy dry.
I am getting more sleep and making my body rest when I feel tired.
I discontinued the use of many of my social media accounts. I no longer have Twitter, a personal Facebook, Snapchat or TikTok. I cannot tell you how much this has helped my overall mental health and well-being. I still have a public Facebook, and I have Instagram but I’m not as active as I once was. Disconnecting from social media apps and electronics in general has been a wonderful boundary I am setting for myself, especially from my current state of affairs.
I am reading more books and I’m educating myself about topics I’m passionate about.
I am being very intentional with my time and who I spend my time with. I will always believe time is the most valuable thing any of us have. Certain things I used to entertain; I no longer entertain.
I am sleeping grounded. It is helping my mental and physical health in many ways. Click here to learn more. Grounding is one of the most amazing ways to heal our bodies. When I can’t be connected to the earth 24/7 I am now connected to the earth when I sleep at night. This is one of the best investments I have made on my health.
I am trying new plant-based recipes and changing my eating habits. It is taken time, and I am not exactly where I want to be, but I’m headed in the right direction.
I am learning as much as possible about cancer and getting educated on alternative preventative ways to stay cancer free.
I am creating my own happiness in my surroundings at home, and out in nature. I spend AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE out in nature, connecting with Mother Earth! This has been one of the number one ways to heal in my personal journey. I’m still chasing waterfalls, as Kentucky has over 700! This has been great for my mental health, and I always feel rejuvenated when I return from one of my hiking day-trips.
I purchased a flip phone, and I also have a smartphone. I keep the smartphone put away on airplane mode about 99% of the time. It is a huge distraction and blood sucker of time. The older I get; I feel this way about all electronics. I do see the need for some, but the way the world is going with AI taking over, I am not a fan AT ALL.
I am calling my friends more and talking on the phone. It seems like a lost art these days, and I am doing all I can to stay connected to my friends and family. I want to talk and hear their voices. Everything is so digital, and I truly feel people are missing out on real connections because of it. If you want to talk, CALL ME!
I am cutting back on texting all together. If you read the above message, you know why.
When I get angry, or feelings overwhelm me to the point of paralyzation, I make myself go to sleep. I do not respond to these emotions.
I stopped saying “Sorry for the delay.” We are all busy, and I do not want to keep apologizing for being human and not responding to text or emails like a robot.
I stopped explaining myself when others do not have the willingness to listen.
I no longer insert myself into spaces that are not adoptee centric. I have been shafted and had one too many gaslighting experiences by adoptive parents and birth parents. My presence is a gift and I choose to insert myself into spaces where my fellow adoptees reside offline that are safe spaces. We get one another and I’m saving my sacred energy for them.
Believe it or not, I am still learning how to process life on life’s terms by living a life without alcohol. Every day is a new challenge and a new milestone. I have recently experienced some setbacks. To be honest, I was not sure how I was going to overcome them. I have spent a lot of time sleeping, because that is the only way I know how to shut my brain off. But instead of feel “dysfunctional” I am learning that resting my body and mind is a healthy thing to do. More so when I am going through what feels like an emotional or mental health crisis.
One of the best things I have done for myself is acknowledge that no matter where I am in life, I will always have setbacks, and things happen that make me feel bad and sad. Embracing this truth as a “part of life” has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
Processing 2020 without alcohol is a milestone to be celebrated. While my birthday is a sad and sore subject for me, my REBIRTH-DAY is something to be honored. So today I shall save space for my sadness of loosing my birth mother 46 years ago today. I will also save space for the celebration of 8 years living life alcohol free.
I cannot endthis article without extending a special shout out to my main squeezes who have supported me along the way. My kids, my close friends and family. My kids always have been and always will be my motivation to keep going, even when I have not wanted to keep going for myself. My friends & family, thank you for listening to me, and sitting with me in my sadness. I would not have made it this far without the support of some amazing people in my life. Thank you!
Cheers to 8 years!
Even in the middle of a pandemic, I still have so much to be thankful for.
Q. For my fellow adoptees, how are you maintaining your sanity in our current times? What have you done to shift your atmosphere to be in better alignment with the added stresses we’re all going through?
Today is 2 years sobriety for me. I can hardly believe it’s already been 2 years.
Let me just say this has been the hardest 2 years of my life but because of my higher power, Jesus Christ I’m still standing! Because of Celebrate Recovery, I’m still standing! The devil’s mad, but I’m STILL STANDING!
I’ve spend the last 2 years in a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery, and now in leadership in that same ministry. I can honestly say that working through the 12 steps and 8 principles has been the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have ever done in my soon to be 40 years of life. Celebrate Recovery is designed to take us all the way back to the beginning of life, and to find the root cause of our addictive behaviors. For me, abandonment & rejection from being given up for adoption was my root issue. Never being able to grieve my loss or share my feelings added to my deep rooted pain. This is why I turned to alcohol at a very early age so I could numb the pain I was feeling. There was no one to turn to and no one understood the depths of my losses. What made matters worse is that everyone expected for me to be grateful. This caused me to live with a huge amount of pain, and this pain came out in different ways such as low self-esteem, sexual promiscuity, anger, rage, lying, stealing, fighting, and drug and alcohol abuse. I hated myself and everyone in my life.
As I got older these symptoms only got worse. Somehow God spared me my life, and helped me find Celebrate Recovery. A close friend named Sandy introduced me to this ministry. I will always be thankful! I was scared and nervous in the beginning, but after I started to attend weekly I learned that everyone loved me for me, and didn’t condemn me or treat me different. They loved me like family. After working through a Step Study, and working through the 12 steps and 8 principles, I was able to identify my root issues, and this was a very healing experience to me.
In adoption, so many things are kept from the adoptee. Most will say it’s to protect the adoptee, but this is also another way of lying and keeping secrets. There is no possible way for adoptees to heal unless they know the TRUTH about what they are healing from. Protecting them is only hurting them. No matter what anyone says, we deserve to know our truth. ALL OF IT! I began my healing the moment I began to learn my truth. I began processing my history, my truth when I let go of alcohol to numb my pain. I was feeling the emotions carried and buried for close to 40 years because everyone told me to be thankful. They said that I couldn’t feel anything about my first family. I couldn’t love my birth mother. I couldn’t miss my family, even when I didn’t know who they were. ALL OF THIS HURT ME, and it HURT ME DEEPLY. Birthdays come and go, and I wanted to just sit alone and sob for my birth mother, but everyone expected me to just forget all about her. This hurt me. The last 2 years of attending Celebrate Recovery and living a sober life I have truly started the grieving process for losing my first family. Yes, they are MY first family and I lost on everything with them. Memories never to seen. No family tree, no pictures together, no mother/daughter bonding. I can go on and on about what all adoptees loose, but if you’ve ready any of my blog, you will know for yourself.
So today I celebrate 2 years of life where I have truly been able to feel the sadness, and anger, resentments, and pain that I ran from truly feeling my whole life because I was denied being able feel anything. [ just be thankful! ] – If I hear that one more time I will put a sock in someones mouth! I honestly don’t wish this pain on anyone but I have come to the conclusion that I’m happy I’m finally able to feel this pain, because some never make it to this point. I don’t think its forever, even when many adoptees say it never goes away. I believe there will always be pain, because there are always too many reminders of what was lost. Holidays, Mother’s Day, “Birth” Days, and The list of triggers I have, and so on. But I hope and pray it gets easier and I’m thankful I finally have MY TRUTH and I’M ABLE TO HEAL BECAUSE OF IT. God gets the glory!
Happy 2 Year Sobriety To Me.
If you’re an adoptee, and you are depending on substances to get you through the pain, remember you aren’t alone. There is help available. Celebrate Recovery is the world’s largest Christ Centered Recovery Ministry! www.celebraterecovery.com and find a meeting in your area!