A Former Patient Reveals Her Authentic Self.
I am still wondering when “real life” is going to begin…when life is going to suddenly fall into place and everything is going to be rainbows, unicorns and ice cream. I am joking (sort of). So, I know that simply being sober isn’t being in recovery. But, I cannot deny that there is a part of me that is still looking for the easy way out. Then, I imagined, wrongfully but understandably so, that simply cutting alcohol out of my life would alleviate all of my problems. I would be sober and clear headed! I would finally clean out my car, put my laundry away and my marriage would be perfect. Moreover, I would not be depressed anymore! But, anyone who has traveled the road of recovery knows that it is not that simple. Sobriety helps you see the problems more clearly-it doesn’t take them away.
I am also wondering when the real me will emerge. When will I get back to my basics and tap into my authentic self? Who is that person? What is she like? It’s been a while since I revealed her to the world.
Addiction masks our authentic self. Perhaps we are so worried how the world will treat that authentic being. So, we use…we put up a barrier to hide that most precious part of ourselves, lest someone or something damage it. Rediscovering and revealing our authentic self is not something that will happen overnight. We can begin by tapping into our Source or asking our Higher Power for guidance, acknowledging that, just like getting sober, we can’t do it alone. Next, we should take a hard look at our core values and beliefs and make sure that the life we are leading truly reflects those values. My values include concepts such as balance, resourcefulness, growth, intuition and pleasure. I can use these values to guide my recovery and strive for them throughout the process.
These values may seem simple, but they get down to the core of who I am. In active addiction, these values were the furthest from my mind. I was stagnant, massively depressed, bored, exhausted and disconnected from myself. I came to view these negative traits as myself and I believed that I was stuck like this forever, and deserving nothing more. Now, in recovery, I see that there is so much more to me than that. I continue to stay sober, I put my energy into living my true values and show my authentic self; someone who is happy, clear-minded and kind.
Think, for a moment, about the Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy delivers the Wicked Witch of the West’s broomstick to the Great and Powerful Oz, she is met with a terrifying image. Green smoke billows and fire erupts from beneath the massive head of a ghoulish looking wizard. But when the curtain is pulled back, the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz is revealed to be nothing but an old man. Not the wrathful, powerful image he projected. When Dorothy confronts him, she calls him a “bad man” to which he replies, “No, I am not a bad man…just a very bad wizard.” Like the wizard, we are not bad people. We are simply stuck in a routine of broadcasting images of ourselves that do not align with our true or authentic self.
We want others to recognize us as powerful, as capable, as fun and as outgoing. So we project that image to the outside world. We show people what we think they want to see, what our addiction tells us we should be. But, at the end of the day-it’s all smoke and mirrors. Our true, authentic self lies behind the curtain. Recovery is the act of peeling back the curtain. Of re-meeting that self which addiction bullied and betrayed. Of tapping into our true, authentic self and re-learning what it means to be us.