Over the last six months I have been a bit more in the shadows than usual. There have been very few blogs, minimal speaking engagements, and no boasting about random accolades. I’ve been prepared to write this post when the time was right, and it feels like now. There are a lot of things about recovery that we don’t really give thought to when we are hanging on in the very beginning. For me, this journey has been about unpeeling all the layers of BS and learning who I am, what I love, and what my sacred contract on this particular journey is all about.
After nearly two years of sobriety this past spring, I was blessed with the gift of a new life in my belly. I always planned on having a family. I mean, that’s what people do…get a job, make money, get married, have kids and live happily ever after…right? It didn’t work out that smoothly, at least for me. Once I found out I was pregnant I was devastated. It occurred to me that I was doing this for my husband who had been nothing but loving and supportive over the last 10 years, especially through my early recovery. There was SO MUCH shame for me, hating myself for being sober and STILL not recognizing my truth. How was I not “farther along??” Then there was the guilt of “ruining my husband’s life” not just by being an alcoholic, but also now to tell him that I didn’t feel ready for a family, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be married. It was horrible on so many levels.
We went through 11 weeks of highs, lows, therapy, and lots of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Seeing and hearing the heartbeat at the first ultrasound was surreal but I could tell the technician was uneasy and that something wasn’t right. They brought us into a room and told us that the levels were not where they should be and that we would need to return in one week. There had been a whole lot of soul searching up to that point and my husband and I could both see the writing on the wall if this pregnancy didn’t make it. A week later there was no heartbeat and a month after that I moved into an apartment alone.
When dealing with addiction many people have to hit rock bottom and lose everything. Today with so much more awareness just as many people don’t. I hadn’t lost everything. But when you spend your whole life building up a story on a false foundation, there is a daunting amount of work that has to go into deconstructing, in the hopes of one day building again on a healthy foundation. There were so many days romanticizing my addictive behaviors of partying and obsessive working. “None of this would be my reality if I stayed in the fog.” But the truth is, there IS no reality in the fog.
There would months of waking up in the morning and praying for the universe to help me put one foot in front of the other and to stay away from distractions of any kind. I turned down offers this summer for roles and opportunities that would have brought my ego a lot of satisfaction. I got sober to stop reaching outward for inner peace in ANY way, not just with substances. The time had come to go inside. So I have gone inside, and I am there…in the pit, where the knitty gritty work has to be done. And its haaaaaaard. It’s lonely. It’s painful. It’s inconsistent. But I am recognizing that in this pit is where I have to go to live a truly free and genuine life.
One day in the car a few months ago I asked my husband (he knew I was sharing all of this as its partially his story to tell) what he thought would happen with us and he said he honestly had no idea. As far as what my life looks like one year from now, I too, have no idea. But I am grateful that I have stayed present to walk through this with clarity and honesty. This post isn’t about sympathy or attention. It’s about transparency. My professional bio paints the picture of “perfection” and “awesomeness” in sobriety, however THIS period has been about having the courage to let go of what my story is going to look like and how I think it needs to be.
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about the master coach
Danielle, the Founder & Master Coach of RealYou Revolution, is a woman in long term recovery with a passion for helping others overcome their own personal demons – whatever they may be.