The word “Addiction” wasn’t part of my journey until after I began healing. I never understood the true depths of my addictive behavior until I stepped away from that life completely. For some reason I thought an addict was someone who would partake in drugs and alcohol on a daily basis, but what I’ve learned is that an addict is someone who becomes physiologically or psychologically dependant to an activity, habit or substance. Whoa. That’s me.
My addictive behavior began to haunt my life around the age of 12. When I was upset, I felt as though the world was spinning out of control and the pain I experienced was far too immense for me to handle. This was the onset of my depression, but at the time I had no idea what was wrong with me. One day, I found myself sitting on the floor with my back against my bedroom door to keep everyone out of my room. I had launched myself into one of my many pre-teen emotional breakdowns.
I felt alone and scared and desperately wanted the pain to stop.
All of a sudden, I started to feel a release… almost like a cooling to my over-heated body. I looked down and saw that I had scratched the tops of my thighs raw until they bled. I stared at the ugly mess with wonder in my eyes… It felt really good. For in that moment, I focused solely on that physical pain which took my focus off my emotional pain. That day sparked the beginning of my addictive behavior.
Scratching turned to cutting.
Cutting turned to pill popping.
Pill popping turned to drinking.
Drinking turned to hard drugs.
And all throughout this mess of a life, I also became addicted to pain.
Ironic, isn’t it? The pain I was trying to numb, was the pain I began to welcome into my life.
I craved the drama, the horrible relationships, and the user-abuser men.
I welcomed all of that pain into my life and attempted to balance it all out with anti-depressants, alcohol, and drugs. I never saw my alcohol or drug use as a problem because I wasn’t drinking or using everyday. But looking back with sober eyes, I can see the problem – it was right there in front of me. I was dependant on my toxic habits and substances and I used those things to hide the reality that was my life… I hated myself. And by giving into all my addictions, I created even more self-hate.
After my rock-bottom moment in 2012, I began a new journey towards a new me. I began by cutting abusive men out of my life, then the drugs, and finally (just recently) drinking. For the majority of my life, I wanted to numb my feelings. Now, I embrace what I feel because I understand that this is truly the only way to heal. The lessons I’ve learned in my recovery keep adding up, making it extremely apparent just how vital this process has been. I’m sharing these lessons with you because they’re far too important to keep to myself.
Recovery isn’t just about getting sober… Recovery is a complete life transformation that will bring you closer to the real you.
Here are 6 lessons I’ve learned in my recovery:
1. Party Friends Are NOT Real Friends
Ouch. This was one of the first lessons I learned during my recovery and it stung… a lot. I was never “Miss Popular” growing up… In fact, I was the complete opposite, struggling to fit in and find my place wherever I went. The moment I began my career in the nightlife industry was the moment things began to change. People “liked” me. They would call and text me, invite me to events, and invite me to party with them. But here’s the twisted truth about all of that: They would call and text me to get something… They would invite me to events to get something… They would invite me to party with them to get something. Pretty fucked up, right? This was the norm for that industry. I had surrounded myself with users and abusers and placed my self-worth at the lowest it’s ever been. I settled for these fake party friends because they made me feel wanted (despite the fact that my heart knew better), and they made me feel accepted (despite the fact that many of them were abusing our friendship behind my back).
As soon as I stopped partying, I stopped seeing those “friends”. This was such a tumultuous time in my life and I found myself reaching out, but when those friends would respond by saying things like “I know what you need… Let’s get fucked up!” or “We totally need to party and get your mind off these things.” I found myself slowly backing away. No… this was TOTALLY not what I needed! I needed to heal. Fewer and fewer friends called and texted… I felt really alone. No one wanted to hang out with Sober-Ruby… she wasn’t Fun-Ruby. Needless to say, this was a much-needed detox in my life. Real friends are there for you no matter what. They don’t abandon you in times of need, they embrace you. Sure, I lost a ton of friends during this time in my life, but I gained way more by holding onto the friendships that contained more value. Quality over quantity.
2. Holy Shit, I’m An Introvert
Now this was truly a “Holy Shit” moment for me. Growing up, I was never the outgoing, popular kid in school. I was quiet and awkward, worked really hard to fit in, and avoided doing anything that would cause me to stand out. Drinking and doing drugs was the gateway to my new, unauthentic personality. When I was drunk or high, I felt as though I could be anyone I wanted to be! I could be that girl who danced on tables. I could be that girl who was known at every club in the city. I could be that girl that everyone liked because she was so damn fun. So I would be her – Fun-Ruby – and I embraced her every time I would drink or get high.
It wasn’t until I stopped doing drugs and drinking heavily that I noticed just how awkward I truly was. I no longer felt comfortable in settings with large groups of people and I didn’t even know how to start or carry conversations. I rediscovered my introverted self and am still taking my time getting to know her. What I learned is that I didn’t just use to numb my pain, I used to crack myself out of my shell; to become the person I thought people wanted me to be. Now, I know better. I just want to be the authentic me, and if she’s an introvert, so be it. I embrace my introvertedness.
3. The Art of Having Meaningful Conversations
When you’re high, every conversation is interesting and you could talk for hours about the same damn thing, thinking it’s the most amazing thing ever. And in those moments, you’re having the time of your life… You’re experiencing the best conversation you’ve ever had… And you feel so connected and close to the people around you. And then you wake up. All those seemingly endless, pointless conversations that I had with people while I was high were simply just conversations we kept going for the sake of continuing to get high. The longer we talked, the more time we had to keep going.
Here I stand today, as my introverted self, working to embody the art of having real conversations all over again. Meaningful conversations are the ones that peak your interest; that ignite your soul in a way that keeps you lit. These are conversations that you remember having with people that you choose to be around. Meaningful conversations involve being open, authentic, and attentive, and they have so much value to offer to each person in that particular conversation. I’d rather have these types of conversations anyday.
4. Feeling vs. Numbing
To feel is to heal. This is something I’ve just recently learned. When we numb our pain, we bury it and avoid dealing with it. Then that pain begins to fester within us… growing until it begins to cloak us with it’s darkness. And so we numb some more. It’s a vicious, endless cycle of self-hatred and self-abuse. I ran away from feeling for so long… I didn’t even realize that the process of numbing actually began to hurt MORE than the process of feeling.
During my journey, I’ve learned to acknowledge and accept my emotions. Now, I take the necessary time I need to feel what I feel. Does it hurt? Hell yes, it hurts like a bitch and on some of those “down-days”, I just want to turn the entire world off… But I don’t. I allow myself to feel by surrendering to my emotions. Emotions are simply energy, and energy moves through us. By numbing our emotions, we create blocks in our energy field which stops our flow. But by surrendering to our emotions and giving ourselves permission to feel, we allow that energy to move through us, eventually moving right through us. Now doesn’t that sound like a much healthier method of dealing with our emotions?
5. The Universe Loves and Supports Me
For years I lived the “Woe is me” mentality; I honestly believed that the world was against me and that the Universe didn’t support me. As a young girl I felt connected with a Higher Power, but as I grew older and succumbed to my addictive behaviors, I began to lose that connection. I thought the Universe had cut me off… but what I know now, is that I cut the Universe off. How is one supposed to feel connected to the Universe when they’re buried deep in toxicity? I stopped believing that we were connected and allowed myself to sink deeper and deeper… But here’s the thing… The Universe NEVER lost it’s connection with me; I lost my connection to the Universe. When life goes awry, that doesn’t mean the Universe doesn’t support you. These are all just tests placed on our journey; assignments that we must take in order to reach the next level of our lives. By avoiding these tests and assignments, we force ourselves to remain stuck, hence the feeling of being unsupported. The moment I began to take these tests and assignments, was the moment my life began to shift.
The Universe supports us on our paths, but it’s up to us to walk that path.
6. I Love Me
All those years of self-destruction were rooted by one underlying issue… I did not love myself. I had made many attempts to break my toxic habits and behaviors in the past, but none of those attempts stuck because I wasn’t hitting the root issue. My lack of self-love lead to my lack of self-worth. I didn’t feel worthy of living a happy life and instead, settled (and often created) for an extremely unhappy life for myself. I stayed with abusive/disloyal men… heck, I even attracted them into my life. I felt as though that was all I deserved. I continued to drink and use because I didn’t care enough about my well-being. Bottom line, I didn’t give a shit about my health (emotional, spiritual, physical) because I didn’t love myself.
Once I started on my journey to self-love, I began to view myself in a different light. I started to see what I was doing to myself and what I was allowing others to do to me. I finally realized that I had control to stop it. Eventually, I filled myself up with so much love that I transitioned into the healthy life that I live today. None of the shifts I took to lead me to this place felt forced… Everything flowed with ease. The more the love inside me grew, the easier it became to release negativity from my life. And in place of all that negativity, I adopted healthier, more loving choices for myself. And all of that felt effortless.
I now love myself too much to ever put myself through that sort of shit again.
And so it is. Life is brighter, lighter, and filled with more love and joy than I ever thought possible. Do I still experience pain? Yes. Do I still experience tough days? Hell yes. But I choose to deal with these things in a much healthier way. My recovery has equipped me with the tools I need to get through all the shit that life will throw my way. And the best part… I am confident that I will get through anything. I am a Love-Warrior, ready to face the world as my true self.
No more hiding. No more masking. No more numbing.
I choose to embrace every experience that will be placed on my path and am grateful for all that life throws my way.
Ruby Fremon is a Self-Love Coach determined to help others create positive life transformations through the power of self-love. From living a life of self-destruction to a life of love and positivity, Ruby has created those massive shifts by learning to harness the power of self-love.
Ready to transform your life? Take the first step by committing to a Transformational Self-Love Coaching Journey with Ruby. Receive your FREE 20-minute consultation here.