The Importance of Sharing Our Stories, by Illy

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I am choosing to create a better ending for myself each and every day by participating in my emotional recovery. It took me many years to let others help support the weight that I had been carrying and accumulating since childhood. My addictions, both with alcohol and eating were symptoms of my inability to manage my emotions. I struggled with the trauma that I had endured as a child most of my life, my addictions masked my fears, yet my fears gradually became my reality. When I entered into treatment, I had no anticipation of a life afterwards. I thought that my misery would manifest itself tenfold. The counselors helped to support the weight that I had been carrying just long enough for me to be able to start managing on my own. I was taught valuable lessons of which I will never forget. Instead of employing tactics to distract myself from the recovery process, I was taught to use all resources at my disposal to outsmart my addictive mind instead. They showed me through their own experiences that life and happiness could coexist.

When I graduated from my treatment program, I was absolutely terrified. I was out of excuses and I had to be my own rescuer once and for all. I could no longer seek rescue in relationships or new cities, I had to start creating home for myself on the inside. I knew that I had all of the tools that I needed, I just had to use them. I had no more energy to escape and I had to start believing that I was worthy of a better ending… My recovery is paramount to me now and with each day, my positive conception of self-worth strengthens. The broken little girl inside of me is finally being listened to and I am becoming more in tune with the woman that is me. I am creating a better ending for myself and am gradually arriving at where my life should be.

My Story:

It was only in junior high school when I began contemplating unleashing the truths about the abuse I had endured. During this time the abuse had ended for me, my abuser was still living with us though, I just felt different from everyone else and thought that talking would help…

Sharing our stories connects us to one another. It enables us to communicate how we want to be treated, what we value, but most importantly, to communicate what is possible. I am so grateful for the people who have communicated to me through their stories that change is in fact a possibility. I have learned that there is always hope if I take the time to listen… To share is to heal yourself, but also to inspire change in someone else.

The Importance of Sharing Our Stories

That year, we got computers in my school. It was 1999 and I remember googling for outside help, yet I had no idea on what it was I was looking for exactly… Susan Kesegich came up in one of my Google searches for she had published a book that same year recounting her story of being abused during childhood. I can’t remember exactly what I wrote to her, but I did write and I did share my truth. It was my first disclosure of the abuse, other than when I had told my mom years before. I couldn’t believe that there was someone else who had been through something similar and had survived to write about it. I thought my life was over, doomed to be the victim for always, but Susan made me realize that I was not alone. She sent me a copy of her book, Twisted Roots of Evil. I read her story again and again… and again. I did some real crying for the first time about my abuse because there was so much that I could identify with in her story. I had bottled up my truths because I thought nobody would understand. Susan’s story gave me hope. It encouraged me to take action. If she could tell and survive, then maybe I could too? Her story made me believe that I could be a survivor too. With Susan’s guidance, support and countless e-mail exchanges in between Montreal and Florida – I eventually managed to share my truth with a counsellor at school.

Sharing my emotions today, let alone the struggles that I have faced throughout my life has never been an action which has come easily for me. I am ridden with fear that in my honest disclosures, I will be misunderstood, judged, made to feel sorry for, rejected, and thought of as broken. Hitting “Publish” on my blog scares me each time, but I do so anyways because my shame tells me not to. Sharing is pivotal for me right now as I re-learn how to live and with each honest disclosure, I am exposing the real me in spite of my fears. If I am not sharing, I am living in the midst of that shame that lurks inside of me and that can be detrimental to the maintenance of my sobriety. Susan’s story reminds me of the importance of sharing. For me, sharing removes the power from that shame allowing me to redirect my fearful energies into healing.

I am eternally grateful to the universal force that brought Susan into my life. Her story changed my story on such a profound level, her story was my story’s catalyst of hope. I truly believe that someone, somewhere needs to hear your story to effect change in their life. Isak Dineson once said, “to be a person is to have a story to tell”. She has seen me through many changes over the years, and vice-versa and that is beautiful for our stories continue to unfold. I am glad to say, that 14 years later, Susan remains a huge support in my life.

Only now, I call her Mum.

Illy is the author of Mask No More, www.masknolonger.com, a blog about personal recovery and sharing our stories. We are grateful for her Better Endings Story of the Week!

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