It’s been a while! HI!! =) I want to make this comeback a special one. It’s time to celebrate a milestone in my personal growth… to highlight the #frwdmvmnt in my own life. This post will share my experience as an avoidant person; one who resisted growth in a lot of ways. If you’re like me, the first question that comes to mind is, “why would anyone want to resist growth?”
The answer is simple: it’s uncomfortable and, sometimes, it hurts.
To grow, you have to give up parts of yourself that feel “natural” or “comfort.” Sometimes, those are the very parts of yourself that exude confidence and, almost always, become part of how you self-identify. Giving up my comfort, confidence and identify sometimes felt like I was trying to become something I wasn’t. It felt unnatural and prompted fear and doubt to become the louder parts of my thoughts.
I was still, subconsciously, subscribing to limiting beliefs.
I knew the sacrifice [of comfort, confidence and identify] was necessary because I realized I was showing up as a version of myself that was still wearing “armor” I put on at a young age. I was still operating with the mindset of the younger me who was bullied; a girl who was heartbroken by decade-old experiences; a girl who overcame those challenges and wanted to grow, but didn’t know how to let go. I was holding onto memories of both pain and victory; and it was time to let go.
Growth requires you give up who you are to become who you want to be.
I didn’t identify as a person struggling with addiction. I actually described myself as a person with “an addictive personality.” It just sounded less dysfunctional and resulted in less judgment, primarily from myself. It started with people and it started at a young age. It progressed to substances, like alcohol and/or drugs, which also started relatively young. As I got older, it evolved into validation [feeding my ego!] from the praise and admiration I received after accomplishing something.
All of this was highly addictive.
I got lost in each of these things, sometimes all at the same time, and put up a front about being positive, happy and/or successful. Sure, there were moments when I felt positive, happy and even successful, but those moments were short-lived. I had to face the challenges of life and, many times, didn’t want to. So, to avoid the short-term pain of growth, I chose emotional and mental stagnancy… and I self-medicated.
Tomorrow, I’ll celebrate a milestone: One year of not getting high.
I was working up the courage to stop self-medicating. I tried to stop several times. [If you’ve ever self-medicated, you know how overwhelmingly low those lows feel after the high fades.] It was really hard and, many times, I gave up and gave in. I guess, in a way, I was desperate to be free, but struggled with the feelings that came along with it.
It’s weird to say this, but sometimes, it’s easier to be a slave to something than it is to break free.
I finally decided to just surrender and I prayed to God for the strength to just endure the inevitable suck. I knew, in my own strength, I wasn’t going to succeed, but by leaning into HIM, I could endure it, one moment at a time. I was right. It sucked. LOL! [I can laugh now, but I was actually on my hands and knees, crying alone in my bathroom, that first night.] I felt physically sick and I couldn’t think straight for a few days. My cognitive function was not optimal. I also found myself feeling very weak, despite sleeping and trying to eat/exercise properly to support myself through that time.
The suck never lasts.
As with any hardship, time passed an I endured; I just took things moment by moment, especially in those first few months. Around that time, I’d been listening to this song, Echo, a lot. I think I had it on repeat for weeks. Seriously. Here are some of the lyrics…
When my mind says I’m not good enough
God, You’re enough for me, yeah
I’ve decided I’m not giving up
‘Cause You won’t give up on me
You won’t give up on me
I kept hearing this voice say things like,
“You’re just going to go back to your old ways, why bother fighting?”
“You’ll never change.”
“This is part of who you are.”
I prayed harder. I sought God more. I stopped believing it because I didn’t want to be the same person I was for nearly half my life. YES, I mean HALF my life. I started leaning on alcohol and drugs as an emotional crutch at 15 and, at the point I decided it was time to stop, I was 31. For over 15 years, I came up with all these excuses and justifications for my destructive habits. Ultimately, I was allowing myself to settle for less and, as I drew closer to the Lord [through marriage, motherhood, sickness and entrepreneurship], I knew I would never serve the PURPOSE GOD created me for if I didn’t answer the call to take that step and get clean.
Comfort can be deadly, not necessarily in the physical sense, but certainly in the spiritual sense.
If you are in a season of transition; if you are letting go of habits, beliefs, people, ANYTHING that/who simply doesn’t contribute to you serving your PURPOSE, take things one moment at a time. You can only do the right next thing. (Shout out to Olaf from the movie Frozen!) If you’re stuck in your thoughts or in your ways, you will definitely stay there. So, take that right next step and keep making that decision to move forward. Sure, some movement might be in the form of that 1-step forward, 2-steps backward dance, but you’ll find the rhythm that’s right for you as you continue to show up and stay committed to reaching that next moment.
“I’m going to see a victory, for the battle belongs to you, Lord.” – See A Victory by Elevation Worship
That’s where I’ll wrap it up tonight. Thank you for reading and being part of this journey. I am only here because God called me and I answered. If He’s calling you, consider responding. It’s life-changing and, I can say from experience, there is NO high, NO substance, NO comparison to being in relationship with God… to hearing from Him… to HEARING HIM. It’s life-saving. Trust me. =)
God Bless & Stay Strong,