Tag Archives: perfectionism

A Goodbye Letter

2 Mar

“I keep putting off writing this letter, because it’s honestly the hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to say. I’ve said many goodbyes in the past- none of them easy- but the pain of each of them dulled by you. You’ve always been there for me, when I’ve needed to cope with pain, calm my nerves, boost my confidence, mask my introversion, increase my energy, mend a broken heart, hide from my own thoughts, or appear more attractive. But it’s ironic because in the end, you’ve only destroyed my hope of possessing any of the thing you promised me.

“My love affair with you has brought me crippling anxiety, isolation from those who love me, migraines and fatigue, broken relationships, total humiliation, and an inescapable hatred of the face I’m forced to look in the mirror every morning. You’ve burned through piles of cash, dug pits of debt, disregarded my health, distorted my perception of myself and the world I live in, and left me emotionally paralyzed.

“Sure, you were fun at first. For a fleeting moment, you gave me a taste of everything I ever wanted (and more). You made my life feel exhilarating and adventurous. But sooner than I could even catch my breath, you snatched the rug out from under my feet, leaving me a mangled pile of shattered dreams and aspirations, desperately trying to put the pieces of myself back together. Time after time, you chewed me up and spit me out, yet I pathetically continued to crawl back to your seductive lies.

“But I’m choosing today to break the cycle. I no longer need your cheap thrills to give my life meaning and value. No, I am a daughter of Christ- defined by his never-ending love and grace. You see, the glorious riches God promises me, He WILL deliver. Riches not of this world, but of an eternity so incredible I couldn’t begin to comprehend. He can mend my broken spirits, ease my pain, comfort me in times of trouble, restore and renew my mind, give me peace and rest, and lead me to a far brighter future than your manipulative tricks could ever hope to offer. It’s time to part ways for good, I’m not sorry, and by the way- it’s not me, it’s YOU. I’m taking back my life. Though you tried, you will not defeat me.

Goodbye, forever.

-Laura, 12.15.14″

The above is titled, “To My Dearest Vices”. It’s a goodbye letter to chemicals that I wrote while I was in MN Adult & Teen Challenge’s inpatient program. I know I haven’t written in ages, but that is part of the reason why. I’ll give you the super condensed version: I relapsed back in June, thought I could keep my head above water, but then slowly watched my life crumble around me before checking into treatment on November 24, 2014. My new sober date is a few days before that, November 21, 2014. As we speak today, I’m 101 days sober. Totally and completely, which unfortunately I couldn’t say last time. Sure I was “sober” – I hadn’t been drunk since the night before my sober date, but I still had drinks here and there if I knew I was in a situation where I could honestly only have one and not get drunk. And though it wasn’t often, I still didn’t feel the need to turn down anything other than alcohol (after all, that was my only “problem”). Anyway, I think the evidence speaks when I say that can only be kept up for a short amount of time. If you light enough matches, eventually you’re gonna catch fire. Personally, I’m amazed that I lasted 15 months. I could rationalize this and explain away that, but there’s no sense in dwelling on the what-ifs and should’ve-beens. In the end, I’m here today, and I’m sober, and my body is totally and completely detoxed for the first time in probably four years. And I feel AMAZING.

Teen Challenge was an incredible experience. I am so thankful that I went. I grew more in those thirty days, and learned more about myself, than I have in years of counseling combined. I learned that over the years I have nurtured three primary self-destructive characteristics: Low self-esteem, people-pleasing, and perfectionism. The three of which weave together and create something even more destructive: codependency. And on top of that, codependents are by nature extremely high risk for falling into abusive relationships and- SURPRISE!- addiction. Funny how that works, huh? Overall, instead of just trying to quit drinking and get sober, for the first time I am really learning those underlying parts of my being that drive me to addiction in the first place. And once again, after spending years in counseling and burying my nose in countless self-help books, for the first time I feel that I am actually able to DO something about my issues. I feel like a completely different person than I was three months ago. Of course I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel at peace with myself. My confidence is growing. I’m learning to seek God’s approval, rather than carrying the weight of the world’s opinions on my shoulders. I’m learning how to adopt a spirt of forgiveness, first and foremostly for myself, and secondly- for my abuser. That’s huge for me. I’m realizing that doing my best is enough, that I’ll never be perfect- and that’s ok!- because I don’t have to be. I’m ready to become the person I was made to be.

Since getting out of Teen Challenge around Christmas, I’ve been attending outpatient treatment there. It’s Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights, all evening. The weeknights I’m not at treatment, I’m trying to make it to Substance subgroups. On the weekends, if I’m in town, I’m taking care of housework, running errands, going to church, and doing whatever else I didn’t have time to do during the week. Oh, and on top of that, I’m still working full time at Land O’Lakes, in a new position- doing development on the ETL team. That is super challenging for me. Between all of that and still making time to snuggle with my furry baby, I’m a pretty busy girl at the moment. But it’s all really good for me, and I’m excited to see where this will all take me. However, I AM going to continue to use it as an excuse for being an absentee blogger… :)

I hope this spring has found you all in good health and high spirits. Thanks for reading and I promise to be back soon! Love you all!