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For many years, I was afraid to speak my truth.
I was a chameleon, being whoever it is that you wanted me to be, and I had no true idea of who I actually was. I’m not entirely sure when this started, as I know that I was not born to hide myself away, but at some point in my life I learned that being what other people wanted me to be was a good way to avoid getting hurt. I don’t believe that I am alone in this, as I think it is an unspoken societal truth that we are taught at an early age not to show other people who we are and only put forth our best foot. As a female in particular, I was surrounded by unrealistic depictions of beauty and poise that I knew that, no matter how much I tried, I could never truly live up to, and so I would hide away who I was, and just go along with what people said or did. In any given moment I would switch my beliefs to match yours, so that you’d like me and validate me. You see, it was more important for you to like and accept me and then for me to like and accept me, and for years this way of going about living seemed to serve me well.
I personally have an added layer to this because for many years I was an alcoholic, and I knew that in order to continue to drink and drug the way that I had to, I couldn’t let people get too close to me. Plus the act of agreeing with people seemed to keep them off my back, which in turn allowed me to continue to drink. The problem with this way of living is that it is not sustainable and eventually everything came crumbling down for me and at last the truth was exposed. As uncomfortable as this experience was, it was freeing as well, because at long last I knew that I no longer had to hide who I was or what it was I wanted to say.The process of getting sober is difficult for anyone however when it comes to women there are some hurdles we face in recoverythat men don’t. Being a mom adds an extra layer to the already difficult process of getting sober. As you need to learn to take care of yourself first. This and learning how to set boundaries were one of the hardest lessons I learned in sobriety.
Learning how to speak my truth didn’t come about all at once but it has been a process with both steps forward and steps backwards, and at the heart of it all has been the journey to the acceptance of myself. Some of my earliest memories are that of feeling different. I spent many years living abroad and the fact that I was a Canadian born girl, living in Peru, who had red hair, pale skin, and green eyes, always made me extremely self-conscious. I always wanted to be someone else and this feeling of not being comfortable in my own skin created the perfect situation for a denial of self. When I was finally forced to face myself it was a struggle to drop these old ideas and learn to accept myself just as I was.
Part of what allowed me to do this was to truly take a look at my life. I had to go back through all of the pain and everything that I shut out for so long and really own it and feel it. This act allowed me to see that yes I had done some things in my life that I wasn’t proud of, but overall I was a good person and I deserved to be loved. I was enough, there was beauty in the imperfections this is what made me, me. I didn’t need to be someone else, I didn’t need to be who I thought you wanted me to be, I just had to be myself, and if you didn’t want to be in my life because of that, it was okay, I wouldn’t die.
For many years I struggled to keep people in my life that had no business being there because I was so afraid of what their departure would mean. My image of who I was, was so fragile that I would put up with anything just to keep you around. This changed however when I started to truly accept myself and through work with a therapist I began to be able to speak my truth and set boundaries. The act of setting boundaries was extremely difficult for me at first and it was exceedingly uncomfortable as well. I wasn’t used to telling people no, or telling them that it was not okay to treat me that way, but over time doing this became easier and had the added effect of allowing me to accept myself further. This was not the only benefit boundaries created a sense of safety and security that I had never experienced.
Something that was indispensable to me in learning to speak my truth was coming to know a God that I could relate to a “God of my own understanding”. I grew up in very Christian home, to the point where the reason why I was in Peru growing up is because my parents were missionaries. This God of my childhood brought me such guilt over who I was and the things I did, that it is not wonder I denied my true self for so long. For many years I held God directly responsible for the trauma that happened to me growing up. When I finally found a God that I could relate to, that I knew loved me unconditionally, and accepted me for who I was, I began to be able to accept myself more and more.I had found a God that spoke my truth.
I have found that my relationship with God has given me strength to speak my truth when I otherwise would have crumpled. This God is one of love and kindness who has shown up in my life in very tangible ways. This God has allowed me to do and say things that I would have never been able to in the past. I am no longer a doormat for people to walk over, I no longer apologize for my beliefs or thoughts, but rather I stand as the woman I have always wanted to be, learning to accept myself more and more every day. When I am alone with my thoughts I am not plagued by confusion and guilt as I was when I was busy denying myself. It took me a while to get here, but I am grateful that I finally know who Rose is.
Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
You can find Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram