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Who You Are Not: The Importance of Identity

Do you remember where we ended the last time? I shared with you 5 steps that I personally took to start on my recovery journey!


Today, we’re going a little deeper into my story. A place where I found it was hard to find myself, but even in this, I want to share some practical tips that I used to learn the importance of identity. In your recovery journey, you’re going to face a lot of demons from your past and even some that you’re still struggling with at present, but one of your biggest weapons is your identity. It’s just as important to know who you are not as it is to know who you are.


Now we’re going to fast forward through all the years of me grooming myself to be outwardly what I thought I needed to be seen as from color-coordinated outfits, perfectly styled hair, a mature sense of stature, to physical and emotional strength we land in my early adolescence. My father was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident just one year after we were all separated, living apart while he was in treatment for alcohol addiction. I had just turned 12. This is when I began to drink. This is also when I survived my first rape and the stalking that occurred after. For the next 4 years, 4 more close male friendships would end in very similar ways as my father's. Feeling abandoned, feeling like every male would leave, or abuse me I became extremely insecure. Alcohol worked for me. It allowed me to escape from my pain. I didn’t know any other way.


Talking about it with anyone wasn’t an option. Plenty of people in my life made it very clear that they didn’t want to hear it anymore. I was being selfish and attention-seeking. And then, another sexual assault. Followed by even more reasons to cover up my fear, anxiety, and emotional distress. Giving me more reason to drink but now accompanied by a new control mechanism. What I ate and how I looked on the outside. Only what I saw was not at all how I looked. Anorexia and body dysmorphia entered my life. I relied heavily on restricting until I was 25. And alcohol helped in so many indescribable ways.


At 16 my physical body began to change. I had this calling. It was like nothing I had experienced before. I knew I had to become a mother. And by just 2 months past my 17th birthday there he was, my biggest gift in life. Protecting him wasn’t always easy. His father and I had a tremendously abusive relationship back then. Domestic violence was something I endured but always shielded him from. His father and I separated our lives and went on to become great friends.


But this chapter was not without more perceived trauma and loss. During my pregnancy, I discovered my dad was not my biological father. I had an entire family I knew nothing about. I had two miscarriages one at 18 and one at 25 during another abusive relationship. You see, I have a rare blood type that sees naturally occurring things in my body as threats and therefore will kill them off. I didn’t know then that this meant facing a lifetime of autoimmunity’s that would continue to present me with challenges.


Physically I suffered for over a decade. I even had a few near-death experiences before the final surgery at 29. Putting me into a post-menopausal state. Luckily for me by this time I had met my husband and I knew what true love and unconditional positive regard looked like.


This was an emotional season for me, the time leading up to age 27… the insurmountable loss, physical deterioration, fearing death and two more sexual assaults were not at all what I needed to endure. A hard-working mostly single mother, I learned to balance home and work, save well, I even bought a house all while maintaining my daily drinking, disordered eating, people-pleasing codependency, perfectionism, and now I added in a shopping habit to comfort my emptiness and pain.

You see, it was trauma after trauma and honestly coming out of that sometimes I have to continue to remind myself that what happened to me, what I went through, and what even I put myself through by the decisions I made-do not define me.


They just add more value to my story. I recently created a post that said:


“You are not what you do! Your roles in life do not define you the person.”

I would like to add that you are not what happens to you either. Remind yourself of this every day! Sometimes we can get caught up in identifying ourselves as the things we do, but we are not things. We are human and being who we are is much more valuable than what we do.⁠ You can realize your aspirations! This is your life, it gets to look, feel, be however you want it to! So, make it look how you want it to, not what your roles in life try to define you as!⁠ Be kind to yourself, you are amazing!⁠


Are you ready to live the life you desire unhindered by your negative thoughts and habits? You can have the life you deserve now, by visiting www.turningleavesrecovery.com and sign up for Strengthening Your Resilience. There is nothing like going toe-to-toe with yourself and your past alone, but we will never leave you by yourself. We are here for you! If you’re ready to take that next step, I am here for you. All you have to do is make a consultation and we can get started!


If you’re a little more independent and you want to dig into your recovery with the right tools, head on over to the site and visit our courses and our shop to find the tools and resources for you!


Until Next Time!

Tricia P.

Your Recovery Lifestyle Coach

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