How to Find Your People?

How to Find Your People When Smothered By Addiction

Community is critical for healing and recovery, but how do you find your people when you have lived an isolated and secretive life? A major aspect of living around those struggling with addiction, is secrecy. In an alcoholic family, life behind closed doors swirls in chaos and uncertainty. Often times the external world sees a brilliant facade, masking the chaos and heartache of reality.

The structure and stability of this “double” life is dependent on secrecy. Shame, guilt, uncertainty, fear of safety….there are many reasons people stay quiet while living around those struggling with addiction. The reality is, that by staying quiet, no one beyond those stuck in the cycle know the truth. This secrecy leaves everyone involved very isolated. Though still showing up for work, the occasional soccer games, birthday parties, church events, etc….reality is a GAINT secret. And true connection to those around you slowly dissolves.

Importance of Connection 

Connection is critical to healthy living and reclaiming joy. It is also one of the hardest aspects to reclaim after a secret life of addiction has taken hold. It doesn’t feel safe to trust others with the honest stories of you life. Judgement and fear of being cast away socially, even if the connections aren’t authentic, are scary and filled with anxiety. True connection and belonging are the key to enjoyment in life. Bruce E. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.  studies the impacts of authentic connection and the healing of those who suffer trauma. Life around addiction if filled with plenty of trauma, and I resonate deeply with his work and ideas shared in his book, “What Happened to You?”.

“Having access to a number of invested, caring people is actually a better predictor of good outcomes following trauma than having access to a therapist… This isn’t to suggest that therapy isn’t helpful, but therapy without “connectedness” is not very effective.”

He studies the healing practices of past cultures, and compares their successful practices with our current system for healing through traumas.

“Aboriginal healing practices are repetitive, rhythmic, relevant, relational, respectful, and rewarding – experiences known to be effective in altering neural systems involved in the stress response. The practices emerged because THEY WORKED. People felt better and functioned better, and the core elements of the healing precess were reinforced and passed on. Cultures separated by time and space converged on the same principles for healing…..Our ancestors recognized the importance of connectedness and the toxicity of exclusion.”

Fear of exclusion, that keeps us silent. And kills our connection to those around us slowly. Like the frog chilling the pot of water that is headed for boiling. Silently, the lack of community grows, and we are unable to connect with our people.

Seasons of Relationships

Before we can understand “how to find your people”, and connect with your desired authentic community, it’s imperative to keep in mind that people come and go into our lives for different reasons. At different times, to serve different purposes. This poem by Brian A. “Drew” Chalker comes to mind often as I navigate all the relationships in my life. Reason, Season & A Lifetime is a beautiful perspective of the ever changing dynamics of people as they float into and out of our life.

Reason, Season and A Lifetime 

People always come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwards or inwardly.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty,

or to provide you with guidance and support,

to aid you physically, emotionally, or even spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend to you, and they are.

They are there for a reason,

you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part

or at an inconvenient time,

this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die,

Sometimes they just walk away.

Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and is now time to move on.

 

When people come into your life for a SEASON,

it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.

They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it!

It is real!

But, only for a season.

And like Spring turns to Summer and Summer to Fall,

the season eventually ends.

 

LIFETIME relationships teach yo a lifetime of lessons;

those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson,

love the person/people(anyway);

and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships

and areas in your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being part of my life….

Examine Your Current People

Alright, now you can start examining your current relationships. This has been a huge help for me as I live around so many loved ones that struggle with addiction. Before recovery, I found my life to completely overwhelming and SO frustrating. UGH, constant lessons it seemed. This perpetual “lesson learning” was exhausting and really, I didn’t see it as lessons. I saw it as a huge pain in my ass.

I wanted the chaos to end, and thought it was their fault, and they should just fix themselves and all would be well again. FALSE. I can see now, through many years of healing and softening, that the addicts in my life are some of the most beautiful lessons I’ve learned and grown through. Because of them, and their REASON in my life, I am the healing, light-filled, happy, vibrant person I am today. Without those lessons, and the continued lessons, my evolution was/is not possible. As many of you might sympathize, life around addiction is non-stop lessons….though now I have more tools to hold space for both the chaos and joy (with some really epic boundaries too:).

Start Small to Find Your People

Alright, now you have a new perspective on those in your life, and you’re ready to find those LIFETIME people that are your vibrant community, “your people”. So how can you find them!?! Start small. Building trust and confidence in others, which is how connection is authentically felt, takes time and practice.

I do a lot of my work at the local coffee shops. So for the past year or two, I have slowly begun to interact with the employees and other locals. Recognizable faces now turn into smiles. Sometimes I exchange names, and begin a small dialogue . How’s your day? What did you do in the sunshine last week? How’s classes going for you? I like your shirt. Cool hair cut…..you get the picture. Start paying attention to the people around you in your daily commute, coffee stop, grocery store run, or smoothie shops. Begin with a smile. Grow your confidence, voice and curiosity slowly. Find connections with those that surround you daily. They may not be “your people”. But it is a safe way to start practicing connection. And a way to focus on things beyond the world of the addiction cycle. Keep with positive topics here!

Shift from the perpetual mind swirl of the addict and their choices, and begin to notice… who surrounds you on a daily basis? And can you begin to see outside of your isolated world just for a few moments each day, building connection in small ways helps you to build confidence to find greater connection over time. AND…can you connect with these people through some form of positivity? Keep it positive!

Building A Network of Your People 

Your small steps are in action daily….. and now you’re ready to dive into the depths of “finding your people”.

The best way to build your network with “your people” is to experiment. Yup….ultimately, when rebuilding your authentic community, remind yourself that curiosity is key. Once your confidence begins to grow in the small areas of connections to those around you daily, you can begin to experiment!

It’s challenging to remember how to connect, or what you used to do beyond life around addiction. Give yourself time to move through this process. And remember, even after years of recovery now…I am constantly experimenting and staying curious to the process! Start playing with some of these questions:

What lights you up, or used to?

A funny movie, walking in solitude, reading, knitting, dancing, fishing, hiking, massages, soccer games, furniture building, theater shows, drawing, painting….

How did you spend your time as a child?

Skipping, playing in the mud, dolls, exploring the wooded patch in the neighborhood, bike riding, baking, jumping rope, sand castles, snow angles, fort building…..

Begin curiosity in old places that once brought you joy. See if there is any spark left in those areas. If not, NO WORRIES! With evolution, we change. What once brought us jubilation, might be of the past. That’s where the curiosity comes in. Remain open to whatever comes up without judgement. Move past what things used to be, and begin asking yourself, “what could light me up now, where do I get a small spark when I think of it?”

You’re trying to find your community, and first you need to reclaim what lights you up! Practice, practice, practice! Keep investigating small nudges or little things that peak your interest. For it is in this curiosity that you will playfully begin to find your people. By returning to yourself, you begin to find others who are interested in similar aspects of living, and beautiful connections with “your people” begin to form.

 QUICK Isolation SHIFT 

Right now you might feel super alone and lost. Don’t worry, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. There are many of us along this journey to find peace amidst the heartache and isolation of family addiction too. Allow yourself to have compassion for yourself and your journey. Pause, and see how you could connect in a small positive ways to those in your path today. Look for the little activities that bring you joy, and invest in yourself….And try this QUICKSHIFT to help move the isolation energy when feeling overwhelmingly alone.

A QHICKSHIFT is a simple way to shift emotionally charged energy. A combination of physical movement and affirmation that safely shift charged up emotions. Use this QUICKSHIFT to move your isolation energy and find courage to start building connection today!

Affirmation: I am connected to all things and feel the energy growing stronger everyday.

Movement:

  1. Gently find release tension in your shoulders and promote opening around throat by slowly bringing Left ear to left shoulder. Pause, take a few breaths.
  2. Switch sides. Slowly shift from side to side. Tilt your chin towards your chest and away during the side to side movement.
  3. When Left ear is towards Left shoulder, bring Right arm out beside you and play with further stretch. Switch sides.

Want to grow your resilience and learn to de escalate the overwhelming fear of exclusion? Just like building physical body strength when training to climb a mountain, you must hike and build strength. Training the brain to respond differently when activated, requires dedication and guidance too!

Not sure how to start your own recovery? Let’s connect! Sign up for my newsletter and receive your Free 40 Day Yoga Journey video sequence, instruction packet, tracker and journal here!

Ready for in-depth healing guidance? I offer 1:1 Coaching, in 4 or 12 session coaching packages. Using movement, meditation and breathwork to heal the nervous system and reclaim peace. Apply today!!

 

Sending so much light and love, Heidi

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