Who am I?
That was the question I asked myself the first time I went into recovery. Two years later (now at No Longer Bound) I’m asking the same question.
What’s the definition of insanity?
Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
Am I insane?
That should have been the question I asked.
All the traits I thought made up my character were gone. Good father. Friend. Calm. Balanced. Kind. Creative Funny … all gone. Addiction has changed me, robbing me of the person I thought I was. I couldn’t even look in the mirror at the height of my addiction, afraid of what I would see. Instead, I preferred the denial of my slow deterioration.
An identity crisis is defined as “a period of uncertainty or confusion when a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure and unstable.”
My struggle in getting sober has not been just about ending substance use. Sobriety and recovery is about changing everything: how I live, my spirituality, whom I spend my time with, my perspective on day-to-day living, how I treat others, and my future goals. This process has included grieving the loss of my identity and learning how to become an entirely new person.
I’ll never forget the day my then-wife said to me, “You used to be funny, kind, and full of charisma. You used to have goals.”
As much as I want to return to that person she described, the reality is I can’t. Even that version was created by my parents, my childhood experiences, and my misguided beliefs.
We all have hidden wounds that govern our lives.
My father was in the military, and we moved every four years until I was 14. I was terrified of trying to fit in, usually flying under the radar as long as possible so other children wouldn’t judge me. Is this why my main defense mechanisms today are isolation and avoidance? The truth is, I’m comfortable there.
This is the question I will be wrestling with, which I believe will also help me cultivate a relationship with God.
The funny, kind, and charismatic version of me is still here; I realize this more and more each day that I am sober. But the me from the last 13 years of alcoholism is still here too.
At No Longer Bound, I have an opportunity to discover a completely new me, a person who has experienced the highs and lows of life, seen his own darkness, and realized he does not have to live that way — acknowledging his past while not dwelling on it or getting caught up in the illusions of the future. A new identity: present, pragmatic and optimistic about living a life full of purpose and clarity. – NLB resident
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” -James 1:2-4