I had never heard of affirmations before I was in recovery from substance abuse back in 1993. The counselor, Lisa, insisted that I make an affirmation list. It was one of the hardest things I ever did.
Sitting there trying to think of the good in myself. To think of one good thing was hard. A whole list? Here I was in my early 30’s, a mom of 3, fighting my way out of a nightmare with an abuser of 17 years and addiction because I was slowly trying to commit suicide. I couldn’t see the good in me. All I saw was failure. All I could see was the ugly, the addict, the alcoholic, the runaway, the unloved, and the beaten.
She had me tape it to the side of my bathroom mirror so that I could see it every morning before my day was started and at the end of the day before I went to bed. It was one of the first times I realized how badly my mental state was. I cried the first several times I read it. Some days I would come home from being in their day program and rush to add a new one that I had thought of. Some days I would get mad at that d*** list because I didn’t believe it, I didn’t see it, and more importantly, I didn’t feel it. I literally had to fight with myself most days to read it and give myself a chance.
Give myself a chance to find me again. I was so lost. My identity had became so intermingled with him and his mentality I forgot who I was. I had to give myself a chance to heal, to recuperate, to be free from the torment of statements that he would say on any given day at any given time to me, about me, trying to tear me down. There had only been madness in my world for so long that I couldn’t see the sanity yet. I just knew that I didn’t want to die. Nor did I want my children to continue growing up watching this nightmare unfold in front of them.
Climbing your way out of addiction is not for the weak. Climbing your way out of abuse is not for the weak. I realized on a daily basis how strong I had to be to overcome the hurdles I had allowed in my life. When I was 14 my mother had given me a book and wrote on the inside cover that I was strong and would get through giving my son up for adoption. I didn’t want to be strong. I just wanted to be loved.
Finding my worth
That affirmation list followed me for several years and hung by my bathroom mirror in a few different houses. It helped me on more occasions than I can remember. Eventually I came to believe in every affirmation on that list plus a few more. I knew I was loved. I knew I was brave. I knew I was smart. I knew I was able to give my children the life they deserved. I knew I could heal. I knew that even though I may be scarred from the abuse and addiction I was still of worth, value and importance.
So, when I hear about affirmations and whether they really work or not, I remember the journey they brought me through. They do work if you just believe and give yourself a chance. There is light at the end of the tunnel. That light is you.
All the best,