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Sanity Within Recovery

Photo Credit: Genevieve V Georget @gen_georget

There are many forms of addiction, yet most people initially think of alcohol and drugs when hearing the 'A' word. However, as I do, and maybe you can relate, control is a predominant addiction that inflicts a large portion of the population.


To clarify, it is me that I tend to control.

  • How I look.

  • How I dress.

  • How I eat and drink.

  • How I react to others and my triggers by blocking the emotions that come with them.

Controlling all these things allows me to deflect my emotional trauma—that's the definition of addiction. For me, recovery is having the ability to release that control while understanding the consequences.

As I continue to delve deeper into the 'why' behind the way I show up in the world, whether within an addictive reaction or a recovered response, I have been clear for some time that when I am not fully aware, I lean into addictive behaviours. During that moment of unawareness and indecisiveness, and without taking a moment to recalibrate, I falter and seek the solace of control.

It presents itself in two ways, and both are detrimental to every aspect of my health. The first one takes me to a place of believing that I will not emotionally survive if I don't block the emotional feeling that comes with what is triggering me. Externally, I become perfectionistic, wanting to present myself aesthetically in what I think is the most accepted way by those around me.

  • I dress the way I think others would like.

  • I never leave the house with makeup or my hair done.

  • I deprive myself the pleasure of food to maintain a certain weight dictated by society.

  • I over exercise.

  • And I never, ever speak my truth, instead agreeing with the status quo.

Alongside this need to appear sane, I become a different person behind closed doors, defaulting to the 'fuck-it' mode.

  • I drink every night.

  • Eat anything and too much.

  • Deprive my body of movement.

  • And default to speaking my truth in defence.

Each external and internal persona allows me the capacity to be functionally dysfunctional while teetering on the brink of insanity. It's a fine line for someone with an inherited-developed pattern of striving to be perfect while also yearning to be human.

Heightened self-awareness was the key for me to step out of the yo-yo cycle of control. While writing my memoir, Around the Table, using the Daring to Share Your Story writing workbook, researching my past and every interpretation I had of myself and my family was anything but easy. However, it clarified which perceptions were real and which were fantasy. This, in turn, provided the confidence to release controlling my emotions to experience and process them. As a result, I currently immerse myself in a more healthy state of being, which I have chosen many times throughout my quest to maintain my sanity but never had the degree of self-awareness I needed to maintain it.

It took a lot of perseverance to recover from my addiction to control. My definition of sanity involves maintaining a state of self-acceptance and self-awareness...most of the time. It requires focusing on my recovery to mindfully move towards an equilibrium of my best self without needing to control the outcome.

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