1. The little things that I do aren’t my “personality”
Up until this point I accepted that the way I react to situations and people are just my blueprint, and that’s who I am. After spending a lot of time talking about my anxiety, my counselor asked me to identify situations in which I feel the most anxious and how I usually cope with them. For example, being around a boy that I like and want to like me back provides an unlimited supply of anxiety. I usually grab a glass of wine or something to ease the anxiety. We discussed alternate coping mechanisms to such situations like mindfulness and deep breathing. I was fine with my original coping strategies because I had come to accept them, but I feel much freer and happier knowing that my reactions to my anxiety aren’t just my “personality” rather they are a result of living in an alcohol household as a child and healthy coping strategies are possible and so much better.
2. The aspects of my life that are in my control are POWERFUL
My counselor has a lovely way of asking me about things in certain situations of my life that I CAN control rather than the parts that I can’t (which are more often than not the ones that drive us to our breaking point). By focusing on the things I can control, I feel at ease and I have more compassion for myself. When I meet a new boy and possibly start dating him, I now remind myself of the things I can control. I can tell him how I feel and ask for things I need. I can set my boundaries. By doing this, I don't have to blame myself. Instead of worrying about not being fun enough for him to like me, I think, I ask myself if like him. And if so, what should I do to negotiate a relationship.
3. The more you talk with a counselor, the more you want to know
In three months I've realized that I am not as fine as I thought I was. Self-righteousness is quickly proving to be something I struggle with because up until this point I thought I was doing so much better than everyone else (comparing myself to others is also something I struggle with). I am learning that the movies, t.v. shows and stories that I hear have set me up for disaster because I have learned a system of rules that don’t work. Waiting around for a grand gesture from a cute boy I talked to briefly 8 months ago is a waste of time, energy and is NOT a healthy way to live. I am learning more and more just how my childhood with an alcoholic father has shaped me. It’s not all bad, some of my best qualities have been created through the ashes of traumatizing events. But for the most part, I am truly seeing the tangible negative effects it has on my life and this self-awareness is will be my salvation.
I’m a believer in counseling and for the skeptics out there, I encourage you to go. Even if you go with the intention of proving yourself right. Go and see what they are selling because I guarantee their product with bring you freedom and salvation from a life that you thought was just yours to have regardless of how much it might suck.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: The Intern