Marry YourSelf First: Depression, Addiction, Divorce…

I had a client say something very interesting to me last week…
she suggested that because I was a mental health counselor, I,
therefore, have minimal issues or challenges in my life.

Ha! I wish!

I shy away from sharing much of my personal story with my clients,
as that is all part of having, and demonstrating, healthy boundaries.

But I felt inclined to share the following with her…and now, with you…

I shared with her my early life challenges with addiction to drugs and alcohol,
the three drug-related arrests by age 18, my 18 months of inpatient is after detox treatment, and the “mac-daddy”, the relapse with cocaine and methamphetamine.

Then my spiritual awakening at 29 after over 40 different jobs,
my marriage, my “calling” to go to college and become a therapist,
my being “THE” self-proclaimed relationship expert,
followed by the next breakdown: The divorce!

Then the fall into depression and the battle with it over the
next 15+ years.

I shared this all with her to convey one message: Yes…
I’m human too and I’m NOT beyond any set of circumstances
that occur with my clients…or anyone else, for that matter.

BUT…through all those trials and tribulations,
I have learned valuable lessons…many of them.

I’d like to share a few of them with you now…

Everything passes…Sunshine always follows the cloudiest of days.
I choose to focus on the future sunshine, not the past clouds.

I have a choice of my attitude regardless of outside circumstances.
I choose the positive, hopeful and optimistic path.

The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.
I look for opportunities.

The more uncomfortable something is, the more I can grow from it.
I commit to growth.

I’m either living or I’m dying…there is no neutral.
I choose living every time.

And the biggest and more wonderful lesson is this:
No matter how far down or how hard I might fall, I can always
get back up and it doesn’t have to be pretty.

And with each fall or stumble or fumble, I learn something
that I’ll inevitability be able to pass on to someone else or,
better yet, because of my poor choices or bad experiences,
I now have an empathy with another who has a similar
challenge and that empathy, that connection,
has tremendous healing power.

Yes…I can turn every bad, negative, hurtful wound inside-out
and grow a garden…after all, manure is great fertilizer!

These are sacred wounds and I am the wounded healer…
and for that I have no shame.

Rather, I have gratitude that I am able today to have the ability
to connect, help and heal others because of all my varied
life experiences.

The good…the bad…the ugly…and the beautiful.

And the same goes for you….

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