recovery acoa therapy

Life After Over A Year In Therapy

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Roughly five months ago I said I was back to the blog, back to writing and that you would see more from me. Then I promptly disappeared again. There are a number of reasons why I let my writing go for a time, one big reason, in particular. It’s not something I’m ready to go in to just yet, but I am renewed in a number of ways. I have been writing like mad behind the scenes recently and I believe I am finally ready to take this space back on.

Something that I’ve been contemplating recently is how this past year+ of therapy has impacted me. The work that I’ve done, and continue to do, has been shifting my perspective on relationships, work, religion, self – life. When I started this space, I thought I had a clear vision of where I was headed, but the reality is that I had absolutely no clue. I’m slowly starting to find myself. That sounds incredibly cheesy and cliché, doesn’t it? But I don’t know how else to put it. I’m certainly not a different person, I’m the same ol’ me in many ways, but I am uncovering so much of myself that I either buried over the years or was too afraid to let shine out of fear. I’ve grown weary of the fear. There is still much work to do and it is the hardest work of my life, but strength and bravery are becoming pretty good friends of mine and with them at my side, I know I can do anything.

If I’m going to give you a post after a 5-month hiatus, I couldn’t imagine doing it without a Top 5 list. As of today, here are the Top 5 things I’ve learned/gained after a year of consistent therapy, in brief:

  1. It isn’t all about being an adult child of an alcoholic. While this is what I initially expected to conquer when I stepped into my therapist’s office, it’s turned into so much more. While being an ACOA set my foundation and has been carried with me through many of the choices, behaviors and experiences in my life, there is far more going on.
  2. Mindfulness is one of the most valuable tools I’ve been given because anxiety is an ugly beast that is impossible to combat without it (in my opinion). The book, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, may have been one of the most eye-opening reads of my life. While it might be a little too woo-woo/God-involved for some in the last chapters, the clear presentation of the inner voice (or roommate) that resides in all of us was a profound discovery for me.
  3. Vulnerability is essential. This is not something that comes easily for me, but it is without a doubt something to be practiced, to be embraced, and to be proud of. Brené Brown said it best: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
  4. Empowerment. The bottom line is that I feel more empowered after this past year. I have a voice and no longer feel the need to stay hidden. Even when I thought I was using my voice in the past, I wasn’t. The frightened little girl inside was really the one in control. In many ways I’ve walked through this life constantly feeling inferior to everyone else, not as smart, not as strong, not as pretty. While this isn’t something that just completely disappears after a year in therapy, it’s nice to finally recognize this voice and to actually put it use.
  5. Spirituality is beautiful. I continue to go through an interesting shift in this regard. I have no ill will towards organized religion, which may work well for many people and maybe even me some day. I’ve just been stuck in a fear born from religion, one that gave me nightmares and contributed to my anxiety. The last thing I ever expected was to turn towards and embrace a spirituality of sorts over this past year, but this is exactly what has happened. I can only describe what I’ve gone through as an awakening. I am looking at the universe and spirituality through a different, almost new set of eyes. It’s been a beautiful experience.

 

3 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this and the book recommendation. Your reference to mindfulness and empowerment definitely serve as a reminder to us all that these both can become assumed states rather than actionable practices on our part. Looking forward to more from the Intentional Optimist!

    Liked by 1 person

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