No matter what you’re struggling with in your life right now, I think you’ll appreciate today’s post.
Because we’re tackling a belief that torments every –
- Adult Child Of An Alcoholic
- Addict or alcoholic
- Family member or friend of an addict or alcoholic
- Survivor of domestic violence
I’m talking about the belief that you are alone with whatever you’re going through.
This belief, if left unchecked, can rob you of your life. But don’t you worry because I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Today, I’m sharing with you the #1 thing you need to do to avoid getting sucked up in the soul crushing belief that you are alone.
I’ve been doing it for years. And I am always amazed at how this tool never fails to crush that crazy belief that I’m a total freak show. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s 100% free to use and you can start doing it today.
Once you’ve had a chance to read, tell me what you think in the comment section.
Your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read.
As Vance Havner once said, “Snowflakes are frail but if enough of them stick together they can stop traffic.”
Thank you, as always, for reading, commenting and sharing. I do appreciate it!
Until Next Tuesday.
P.S. The comment section is the perfect place for you to put today’s tool in action. Especially if you’ve never done it before;) So, leave a comment!
The #1 thing you need to silence the belief that you are alone is simply this – Tell Your Story.
My First Time
One of the first times I shared my story was through a speech I gave at a Toastmasters meeting in NYC.
I stood in front of that room full of about 30 people and I told them the story of my childhood. I told them about my alcoholic mother, my abusive stepfather, my emotionally absent father and narcissistic stepmother.
I held nothing back.
Now, I’d talked about my childhood in loads of therapy sessions before so I couldn’t imagine that sharing in a room full of 30 strangers would be that different. But it was.
I cried while giving that speech and at times I could barely catch my breath.
But when I was done I felt liberated, validated and as if I’d kick this massive load of shame and guilt off my back.
I felt freakin amazing! It was in that moment that I truly understood the power of telling my story.
And because I was willing to be vulnerable, I ended up connecting with other people in that room at a level that I would never have been able to reach through casual small talk.
When you allow yourself to be vulnerable through your story, your inspire the people around you to do the same.
How You Benefit From Telling Your Story
Lissa Rankin M.D., in this article for Psychology Today breaks down the benefits of telling your story like this,
“Every time you tell your story…you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins. Not only does this turn on the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms and function as preventative medicine—or treatment if you’re sick. It also relaxes your nervous system and helps heal your mind of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of disconnection.”
So, not only do you have the mental and emotional benefits to look forward to when you tell your story but who knew that on a hormonal even cellular level you could benefit to.
Where You Might Get Stuck
Even just the thought of telling your story can kick up intense feelings of guilt and shame. Not only is it totally normal to fear what other people might think about you, after they know your truth, it’s also totally natural to fear what your family might think.
When I’d share my story in groups, I remember thinking, “These people are about to hear things they’ve never heard before.” Or. “They’re are going to think I’m the craziest person on the planet after I share this.”
But here’s the deal. None of what I imagined ever happened. In fact, the complete opposite happened. Instead of a group of people judging me, I always found a group of people looking back at me and saying, “Me to.”
Here’s the thing you need to really get about telling your story, especially when you’re starting out. You’ve got to be highly selective about who you share your story with.
When I gave my speech in that Toasmaster’s meeting, I got lucky. And by that I mean that I barely knew the people in that room but luckily they were open and empathetic. I’m totally aware of the fact that it could’ve gone the other way for me.
Respect your story and share it only with people you know that will listen, witness and support you.
Now. When it comes to your family, I say this. You don’t have to tell them anything. That doesn’t mean that at some point you can’t tell them that you’ve been sharing your story. But for now just know that you don’t need their permission to do what you need to do.
If you think your family would be receptive that’s one thing. But if you’re not sure or you just flat out know that it will cause drama then just leave them out of it…for now.
How To Get Started
Journaling is a great way to start getting your story out of you. With a journal you can keep things private until you feel ready or until you find the right support group or person to share with.
Facebook is booming with closed support communities for anyone and everyone. I belong to many and I’m amazed at how much support can be given and received in these online environments.
If you decide to join a group or two just know that you don’t have to share your story there. Sometimes it can be just as therapeutic to read about what someone else has been through.
Some of these last suggestions, you’ve probably heard before but they are worth repeating here. In person support groups like Codependents Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon are tried and true go-tos for sharing your story.
If you’ve never been to a meeting like this, I’d suggest that you just try it out. Maybe go to a few and see if it’s a good fit for you. If not, you can move on to something else.
I’m not here to sell you on 12-Step groups but I will tell you that as a former Al-Anon student, I let go of a lot of my own crap by sharing in those rooms. It’s really where I got it that I wasn’t alone.
If you’re ready to take a bigger leap with your story, why not start a blog? Even if no one ever reads what you write you’ll still reap the benefits of getting your life out of your head and out into the world.
I’m living proof that telling your story has healing powers. It takes courage to do it but I know you can. Don’t think about what you may lose by telling yours. Think about all you have to gain. As one of favorite authors, Iyanla Vanzant says,
“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.”