I met Rose a while ago through the sober internet community. She approached me about doing a guest post for my blog and she’s been a regular contributor for a while. I love her writing style and the content she chooses is very appropriate for the recovery community at large. I am grateful she is someone that I get to share this journey with, and I’m sure you’ll agree when you read her Interview as well.
What was your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food before you got clean and sober?
My relationship with alcohol, drugs, and food was very unhealthy before I got sober. They were my solution to everything. I would use drugs and alcohol to numb out the emotional pain I experienced on a daily basis, and my eating disorder aided me in my pursuit to feel nothing. All of these things gave me a false sense of security and control and they allowed me to cope with the world around, since I hadn’t really developed any other skills for doing so.
What is your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food today?
Today my relationship with these things is very different. For one I no longer drink or use drugs, and I am no longer enslaved by my compulsion to drink or drug myself into oblivion. I have a healthy respect for drugs and alcohol and I hope to never again believe the lie that they are the answer to my problems.
My relationship with food has changed as well since I sought help for my eating disorder. I no longer look to food to comfort me or as a means to purge feelings, but rather I stick to my eating regimen, and my workout schedule, and no longer attempt to control my weight to an unhealthy degree.
How were your relationships with your family before you got clean and sober?
They were very stressed and tumultuous as I went further and further down the rabbit hole of addiction in the form of alcohol, food, and prescription drugs. They did their best to help me and love me, but addiction is a disease that is extremely difficult for loved ones to understand. No one is really equipped to handle such situations and so they looked at my drug and alcohol abuse, and my eating disorder, as something that was baffling. They didn’t understand why I did the things I did, and it really took a toll on my family overall. I knew that when they dropped me off for treatment this last time that they were done with me. I had burned most of the relationships in my life with the fire of addiction.
How are those relationships today?
Today it brings tears to my eyes when I think about the things that I have heard my mom and dad say about me. I have to mention that I never in my life thought they would be my biggest cheerleaders and yet here they are doing just that. Let me preface that statement with the fact that it took months to get back on speaking terms again and it has taken years for them to truly see the changes and the different person I have become. I would not be where I am today if I had not had them there to help me along the way. I have heard my father and mother both come to my defense when people have found it hard to believe that I am sober and different today.
Regarding your prior romantic relationships – how did your addiction affect those?
My addiction hindered my ability to see how toxic and destructive my relationships were. I was unable to see the abuse that was happening, because I hated myself to such a degree that I felt I deserved to be treated in that manner. I didn’t know it at the time, but I believe there is a direct correlation between my ability to love myself, and the type of people that I choose to be with. Not loving myself allowed me to justify terrible relationships, and then those relationships other furthered my self-hatred, causing a cyclical pattern of dysfunction that really took me getting sober to break out of.
Although I have not gotten into a relationship in sobriety, I finally see my worth and realize that I do not have to settle in life anymore. I have come to see that I truly am worthy of respect, honesty, acceptance and love. Today I know this and I am slowly learning to love myself as other people in my life are showing me the way.
What is your current relationship status today?
I am currently single. I have decided that I want to wait until I meet the right person and that has not happened yet. I am not opposed to dating but I am very selective, as I do not want to repeat the mistakes of my past relationships.
How do you feel your relationships with friends and co-workers are now that you’re clean and sober?
These relationships are the healthiest they have ever been. I am not saying that they do not need work or that I am cured but I definitely have much healthier relationships today. I have healthier boundaries and am better able to speak up about my needs and wants. I am working on people pleasing, but this is perhaps one of the hardest things that I struggle with. I am still bothered by the thought that other people may not like me and I am slowly learning how to be okay with that.
The friendships I have today are such a blessing as I still wonder at times how they can really like me for me. This was a common thought in my mind that if they truly knew me then they would not like me, but over the past few years I have learned more and more that this is not true. It truly is a wonderful feeling to having people love you for the person you are, and not for who you are pretending to be.
Do you have relationships with pets and if so, how has that helped with your recovery?
I don’t have my own pets but my parents have two dogs that were so helpful when I first moved home to Virginia. They would cuddle with me and helped to provide company when I was feeling alone.
How is your relationship today with society at large? What have you been able to contribute?
I no longer withdraw from society or have some deep-seated misanthropy about people like I did when I was using. Before I got sober I believed that everyone was out to get me and that the world was a cruel and angry place. I didn’t see love anywhere and the absence of a spiritual presence only amplified this feeling.
Today I choose to participate in society and participate in my own life. I work hard, I raise my children, I am there for my friends and family, and I am an active member in the recovery community. For years, life was all about what I could get, but today I wish to give back and add to the peace and happiness of those around me, and those I do not even know yet.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.