Speaking up about my healing journey through addiction has been liberating and freeing. It is a part of my experience that I have owned and gained power through. That comes easy, now, as I have healed that area of my life.
What doesn’t come easily is sharing about the real pain I am in, right now. The healing journey I am currently on. The journey through heartbreak and grief of a relationship ending.
Breaking up is fucking excruciating. I will feel free and light one minute and like my heart has been ripped out the next. The grief is hard. The cycles of grief are real. I go from angry – really, really angry – to painfully sad. The denial part has been over for a few months, which is a nice feeling. I have cried in a way I didn’t know it was possible to cry. I have had to remove myself from big life moments because the pain has been too much, and I cannot seem to be around people.
I’ve had to face fears I never knew I had (or some of them, I didn’t realize were still so prevalent). I am 28-years-old. I have just broken up with someone whom I was sure I would be spending the rest of my life with – someone who I had tried on engagement rings with just a few months ago. How far away that seems now. I have never had a hard time being without a relationship – even when I was in my addiction I would have long periods of being single before entering into a new relationship. When I was in my first year of recovery I was not even open to a relationship.
But, things have shifted now. I am no longer 24. I am ready to have a partner to share my life with, as two whole people moving through the world together, side-by-side. I thought I had found that. And to go back to casually dating seems impossible at this moment. How can you be open to dating when you just thought you were with the man you were going to marry?
I am beyond thrilled for the people in my life who are getting engaged or are pregnant, but it’s hard. I won’t pretend it’s not. I never imagined starting over at 28. Dealing with the shame of being 28 and moving back in with my parents to get back on my feet after I move back from Korea, as the home I had with my boyfriend is no longer mine. Meanwhile, most of my friends are buying homes with people, are getting married or having babies – at the very least they’re on the verge of engagement.
With that, I have moved through letting go of a lot of the timeline I had for myself and the expectations of the timing of my life. There are so many positives happening and cultivating for me that would not be happening if I stuck with that rigid timeline, one that might not authentically work for me.
I go through waves of embarrassment, shame, and guilt. I openly told friends and family (because I believed) that this was the person I would spend my life with, and now that the relationship has failed, my fear of failure is glaring back at me. I have admitted now that I want a partner, a family and a life with someone. That was something I buried deep for a long time. If I pretend I don’t want to get married or want kids then it will be easier when nobody wants to marry me and have kids with me, right? Then you will think that this was my plan all along and I am strong and successful and that this was my decision. I have never wanted that, but it was easier to pretend that I did. It was easier to protect myself from my fears of not being enough or not being worthy of love or not being inherently lovable. I could protect myself from feeling how I am feeling right now. I am grateful to my recent ex for showing me that those things are possible and what I want.
It’s strange when you are letting go of something that you know isn’t healthy for you – something you know actually brings out the worst in you, yet you feel so sad about that loss. What I have learned on a very deep level is that it is okay to miss someone and still know they aren’t meant to be in your life.
In that, I have also further realized the depth of my codependency, and that has been hard. I have a core belief that I am not loveable on my own and have a huge fear of rejection due to letting people down. By on my own, I don’t just mean without a man, I mean without your approval. That if I am not doing something to make you love me, you won’t. I have so much fear of not being liked that it was hindering me from stepping fully into the wholeness of who I am. I was blocked by that. I am moving through that, now. Some days are easier than others, but I am on the upswing of it now. That is a freeing feeling – to let go of what other people think. To do what is right for you regardless of how others will think about you for it. When I take authentically aligned action, there is no stopping me.
So, I’ve been healing. I’ve been letting myself feel ALL of the things and unapologetically taking care of myself in a way I never have before.
I am rigorously meditating, praying and journaling. I am living in a space of being unafraid of looking inward because I already had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. What I hold inside me isn’t scaring me anymore. I want to release my fear, step fully in the wholeness of who I am and let that light shine. I have had to look at the fears that I have head on. The fear of failure, the fear of not being worthy, fear of being unlovable, fear of rejection, fear of confrontation, fear of what other people think, fear of being alone – all of those juicy areas of life we never want to really look at.
Letting go of this relationship is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I got sober, but I had to. I was going to die if I didn’t. Maybe this is like that – I certainly was addicted to the relationship, that’s for sure. At some point, staying in it was creating such a disconnect from my authentic self. I couldn’t be preaching alignment to others and surrender when I was holding on so tight to something I knew wasn’t good for me anymore.
Yes, there are hard days. But the overall feeling that I am sitting with now is freedom, growth and a courage I never knew I had. I am actually doing really, really well. I am putting all of my focus on myself. I have detached from him and put that attention back on me. I am growing my business and working my butt off. It’s as if when I let go of what wasn’t good for me, the blinders came off and all of these other opportunities that are healthy and positive for me came flooding in. And not in a romantic way – just in a life-opportunity way. I’ve made new friendships and connections, had some really cool work opportunities come up and the future is looking brighter all of the time. I just needed to move all of my eggs out of the one basket they were in to realize that the whole world is available to me.
In that realization, there has come such freedom and power. Early this winter, I felt a sense of doom – like this was the life I had signed up for and there was no turning back now. I was going to be anxious and stressed in a relationship forever. I genuinely did not think I was strong enough to let go. Everything was going to change and I didn’t know how to cope with that. But I took the next right step for myself, regardless of what other people thought, and surrendered the relationship. I did what I never thought I could do. And in feeling that fear so deeply and doing it anyway, I have gained my whole life. The tears flooding down my cheeks as I write this are those of joy and being fucking proud of myself.
I write this in the hopes that if you are going through anything similar, you know you are not alone. Heartbreak is hard but I promise you will be okay. I promise you will make it through. It’s just putting one foot in front of the other, trusting something bigger is working for you, and trusting your gut.
You are powerful, strong, beautiful and worthy of the love you deserve. I hope you find it. I hope you find it in yourself, first. That’s what I am working on, right now.
Slowly but surely, the laughter has come back. The smiles have come back. And I am being able to laugh at the madness of it all. That is real healing.
All of my love.