My recovery from addiction

My recovery from addiction

I had lived what I thought was a full and wonderful life, achieving my goals and successfully climbing the corporate ladder. I did all the things I thought I was supposed to do and I thought I was exactly where I should be.

The truth is, I never really played full out. I was always playing it safe for fear of not fitting in or being judged. That voice that told me I was not good enough played in a loop in my mind. Living my life with all these false truths led to dis-ease in my being, as well as an assortment of diseases that felt ‘normal’. Of course, accepting disease as normal is just another layer of the ‘supposed to’ life I was living.

This mentality took a huge toll on my body. I started experiencing severe stomach aches in my 20s that would leave me bedridden for days. The acute stress kicked it up a notch when I had a heart attack at 39, followed by several stents. Then, my vascular system became unstable and I couldn’t even engage my feet to stand up due to a lack of blood flowing through my right femoral artery, which was blocked. The vascular surgeon told me they’d unblock it when it got to the point where I couldn’t leave my house. Seriously, WTF?

For 2 years, I went undiagnosed with contact dermatitis from overuse of aromatherapy and exposure to the other toxins in my environment. The medication I was on for my heart affected my gums, resulting in gingivitis and the movement and loss of teeth that were once perfect. My intolerance to sugar, wheat and dairy produced a toxic environment within my body, where candida was suffocating my organs – I could even smell it in my breath. Then my hair started receding and falling out in clumps. It all came to an overwhelming crescendo when, in 2015, I started waking up from sleep gasping for air. This kept happening more and more frequently, and at the moment I gasped for air I started losing control of my bladder. My body was literally shutting down. I was terrified to go to sleep. The last time it happened, I ended up in hospital. They told me my heart had stopped for 7 seconds. I went home with a pacemaker.

If I’d known then what I know now, perhaps my life would have been radically different. But we all know how much we learn from our deepest challenges, and what I learned is that my mind, body, spirit and soul were broken.

I was subconsciously running programs full of fear, trauma and shame. My body had literally had enough – it just stopped. My health kept failing. I felt more and more uncomfortable in my own skin. I grew tired of watching my life pass me by as I played the role of the sick girl…

And yet, I still didn’t fully ‘wake up’ until my mother sold the family home, where I had been recovering. Suddenly, I was forced into taking the actions I had been avoiding for so long.

I now see this event as the universe and my higher self conspiring on my behalf; pushing me to make a drastic change. It was time to roll over and admit defeat… or to take supreme control and make something of my life.

At age 57, I realised that I had plenty of time to live an exceptional life – I just had to choose it! Spurred on by two movies that inspired me at the time, I stepped into the journey of creating my own path:

Under the Tuscan Sun

In Under the Tuscan Sun, Diane Lane says, ‘Unthinkable good things can happen, even late in the game’. In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner hears a strange whisper telling him, ‘If you build it, he will come’.

Both of these movie moments reminded me that I have agency. Life is not just ‘happening to me’ – I have a choice in how it all goes down. Not only that, I started imagining what I could do for others, using my experience as a guide, both for myself and for those who were also seeking their soul purpose and desiring to leave a powerful legacy.

I decided enough was enough – no more negativity! There shone a light within me, an inner knowing that there are so many more possibilities and opportunities for me to explore. I began unravelling the layers that were hiding the real me. This shedding awakened me to my true self and opened up a doorway to recover my sense of worth and return home within myself.

As I went on this journey, I wondered what kind of woman I would meet. Who was I, really, after all this time and trauma? Over the years I had only caught glimpses of the woman I truly am, always shrouded in shadows that were not mine.

Making the decision to take back control of my life from the addictive behaviours that were running it was freeing. The process wasn’t necessarily smooth, often finding me back in old habits, old ways of being. I kept moving, however – nothing could stop me now.

I found a fantastic mentor that I respected, who shone a light on me and served as a guiding light himself, leading me out of my own despair. I followed his teachings, watched for the signs and symbols that would lead the way. I was conscious of my thoughts, words and actions. I learned that facing a crossroads means there is always more than one way ahead. I learned to trust my inner knowing, quieting my mind when I needed answers, for I knew I had it all within.

I discovered my ability to heal, myself and others, through my journey and newfound awareness.

There was a time when I was totally controlled by my addictions. It was these addictions that kept me ‘safe’ from feeling like crap and hid me from my own stress, trauma and anything else that I did not want to confront… OMG what an illusion! Little did I realise at the time that they were actually what was keeping me in that loop of stress and ill health.

Because I am a firm believer in authentic expression and drawing from life experience, I want to share these addictions with you. Here are my ‘Top 4’:

  • Vices that I physically consumed – these kept my body dense:
    • Alcohol
    • Cigarettes
    • Sugar
    • Food (overeating)
  • Not being present in my body – these kept me stuck in my toxic waste:
    • I wasn’t moving my body
    • I didn’t have strength in my muscles
    • My lymphatic system was clogged
    • I wasn’t nourishing my body with the water it needed
  • Mental programs – these kept me invisible from myself:
    • ‘I’m not good enough’
    • ‘I’m not worthy’
    • ‘I am dumb’
    • ‘I am unlovable’
  • Ways I suppressed my spirituality – these kept the threshold to me closed:
    • Not trusting my intuition
    • Not allowing myself to dream
    • ‘Who do you think you are? You’re not special.’
    • ‘You can’t do that’

I am so grateful that my life is now SO different. Despite the numbing effect of all these addictions, I learned what I needed. When the time came to step out from behind the masks all of these negative habits had created, I instinctively knew how to take the golden nuggets of wisdom I’d gained and weave them into my life and into my coaching work with others.

It took cleansing from toxic foods; fuelling my body with whole nutritious food; hydrating with clean water; kind thoughts, language and actions…

I still keep working on my trauma and shame responses. There are still layers to peel back and explore and remove. What is different these days, is that this ‘self work’ serves as a reminder of how far I have come – I no longer get stuck in it.

The lessons I have learned are many, and they are profound:

  • Bringing joy, gratitude and playfulness into each day.
  • Opening my heart to love and intimacy again.
  • Knowing I am worthy of everything I desire.
  • Loving myself and being kinder to myself.
  • Being guided by Mother Nature’s seasons.
  • Opening myself to the magic of the cycle of Conception, Actioning, Birthing, and Receiving.
  • Fully trusting in myself and my process.

Being guided by Mother Nature's seasons

It’s a beautiful journey. I can appreciate all parts of it today, even though there were many dark spots along the way. Reflection is a peaceful place when you’re in a healthy state in your mind, body, spirit and soul.

Now, centered in my glorious Queendom, I am a guide and space holder for both men and women that wish to:

  • Unravel who they are not and discover who they truly are.
  • Starting living an unapologetic life as their Ultimate Self.

This is a journey that anyone can go on – you just have to trust in that first step. You will know when you are ready. If you are reading this, there is a reason. I don’t believe in coincidences and I’m tipping that you don’t either!

If your time is now, let’s chat. Taking action is the only way to tell the universe you are ready to reconnect with YOU. I know it might feel scary right now, but you will look back and say to yourself, “What took me so long?!”

Honour yourself with an opportunity to explore what could be possible for you and your life.

If you choose, know that I’ve got you!

My recovery from addiction

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Debra Hicks

Debra J Hicks is your happiness coach. Debra helps to remove blocks from your everyday life and is able to find the unique abilities in each person. Book a free discovery call with Debra today

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