So I realized something recently about myself that needs to be addressed and worked on – forgiving my addict self. By that I mean the version of myself that was parading around, causing chaos and choosing alcohol and drugs over everything else in my life.
I’m still very much upset at myself for the way I acted and have had trouble finding any sort of sympathy for her.
As a side effect, I’m finding it very hard to have any sympathy for addicts. That’s just the surface problem. The root of it is that I actually don’t have any empathy for myself and I’m projecting. I have not yet forgiven my addict self for the years I was in active addiction.
It’s been over a year and a half and I still haven’t forgiven myself. In fact, I live in a state of not really feeling like I have done enough to work on it – so it leads me to feel guilty and projecting that guilt and hurt onto other humans – mainly other addicts at the moment.
The weight of that is really heavy. I realized it recently when talking about other addicts. I was very cold and even upset at them for choosing their addiction over life. Someone would tell me a story and I would just be like, yea fuck them they are selfish. Instead of having any sort of compassion or hell, empathy since I’ve been through this myself, I just couldn’t muster it.
I had my past thrown in my face by a friend in an argument recently and it hurt me greatly. I’ve been processing even since. Then hearing news of other addicts dying or making other’s lives difficult – I’d turn cold instantly. Blaming them for their addiction and calling them selfish. Not able to show an ounce of sympathy and instead wishing I didn’t have to even hear about these humans.
At first glance, it’s very cruel and selfish and vastly hypocritical of me. I speak a lot about compassion, empathy and building humans up – why couldn’t I do that for fellow addicts?
The answer was simple once I sit with those feelings – I still haven’t learned to love my addict self. When I’m presented with other addicts, I see myself and I instantly hate them…when in reality, It’s just me projecting the hate I have for myself. Looking at them is like looking into a mirror that I keep trying to break and walk away. However another mirror just takes its place and there I am, looking at that reflection of myself again that I hate.
I’ve backed way off from the addict community. I rarely go to meetings, I don’t have a sponsor and I don’t do much to help others proactively in recovery (aside from those who reach out to me directly, I’m always willing to help there). I stay away from it all. I avoid it. You get tired of all the stories, the people dying, the relapsing, the constant chaos and constantly living with the label.
I’ve leaned mostly on therapy to help me dig into those parts of myself that made me use drugs and work on fixing those things. In doing that, it forces me to sit with a lot of the emotions I used to run away from. I’m retraining my brain to feel and think through my feelings. It also forces me to question my feelings and emotions and then try to come at them with compassion for myself (instead of getting upset and punishing myself for feeling certain ways).
I have a tendency to be really hard on myself and rarely show myself any sort of compassion when it comes to certain things. My therapist points this out to me and reminds me to be nicer to myself. There is no timeline when it comes to trauma recovery. There are goals but it’s not like a college program where you sign up and you’re done in a certain amount of time. This could very well be a lifelong process and I need to accept and be patient with that process.
I try to take it all onto my own shoulders and when I fall short of my own expectations, I start to self defeat. It’s an internal war my mind rages against my emotions and often time leaves me exhausted. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that it’s going to be okay as long as I stay sober and keep trying. I can still pull myself out of this.
There was this song I used to listen to when I was a teenager. It was called Hero by a christian band called SuperChick. The lesson in this song is that sometimes you are the one that is the hero in your own life. You could also be the difference is someone’s life.
To be able to do that though, I’ll need to learn how to love all the parts of myself – not just the good parts. It took my years to finally forgive myself for suffering the abuse I did for nearly a decade. Now it’s time to work on loving the part of my self that came out during active addiction, offer her forgiveness and show her that it’s all going to be okay.
My addict self is worthy of love and forgiveness too. I just need to get to that place in my life.
So I’m trying to work on loving my addict self, so that I can not only heal myself but be more empathetic to those around me. Empathy is one of the greatest gifts and can make people feel seen. I think we all just want to be seen so we can feel less alone in this world. Part of being seen is talking about the hard stuff and exposing parts of ourselves to people that we would maybe rather hide.
So this is me, sharing a very intimate detail about myself that I would normally not share. I have not yet learned how to love my addict self, but I’m acknowledging it and trying to work on it.