I really wanted change. I was suffering extreme burnout, a caffeine addiction, anxiety, insomnia, IBS, hormonal problems, thoughts of extreme anger, resentment and regret all at the same time. I was incredibly fatigued and codependent to both of my alcoholic parents. I hated my life and I hated myself. I wanted it to change.
The thing I struggled with the most, despite really wanting to change, was the actual motivation and energy to do so. It sounds shallow, but I really wanted a quick fix. I knew there were plenty of strategies out there that could help me move out of my really dark place; gratitude journaling, counseling, affirmations, exercise, reassessing my relationship with my parents and putting in boundaries. I thought the most effective at helping me, would be a combination of all of these, but I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to start. Hope was lost to me because I thought to myself, “how can one tiny thing like exercise solve this huge complex issue that is my well-being?”.
My partner, who ironically worked in addictions, suggested I read Adult Children of Alcoholics. I did. It helped my perspective on my parent’s alcoholism but it didn’t help me feel motivated to change my life. Unfortunately it talked about people who spent five years in recovery from ACOA syndrome and they all had to do lot of emotional work. I was fatigued and anxious and I didn’t want to spend five years recovering. I didn’t have the energy or hope to even try.
I ended up quitting my job as a Care and Protection Social Worker and cited this as the reason for a lot of my insomnia, burnout and health problems. I mean it’s a stressful job right? It was a hugely stressful job and leaving it did lift a lot of my burnout and stress. My partner and I went traveling and there’s nothing more carefree than backpacking the world with your lover in your 20s, so naturally physically and emotionally, things did get better for me.
Even though six months of traveling made me feel much better, the fact was I was still an ACOA, I hadn’t dealt with it and my mental and physical health still suffered. I was still a perfectionist, I still felt responsible for my parents, I still had low self esteem and I still guessed at what was normal. The thought of dealing with it all still made me anxious, I viewed it like opening a can of worms, I thought I would lose control and never be able to gain control ever again. I was still looking for my quick fix.
Early this year, I found a quick fix. A top hypnotist, specialising in anxiety and self esteem (my two biggest issues), was going to fix me. She had ace reviews and loads of them. I booked an appointment and went to see her three times. She gave me just what I had lacked, the motivation and energy to change.
I thought I would walk out of there a different person and my life would magically be changed. Instead, what I walked out of there with, was the courage and motivation to use some strategies. I began gratitude journaling, goal setting, honestly talking about my emotions, eating healthier and setting boundaries with my parents. Hypnotherapy was no quick fix, but it was a huge step in the right direction and a step I had been avoiding taking for a year. I’ve learnt that being an ACOA is not going to be cured overnight. It took 25 years for these problems to develop to this stage, healing takes time and I’m okay with that.
I’m breaking the cycle and it starts with me!