I meet lots of amazing people and groups through our social media feeds. Not a day goes by when I am not grabbed by someone’s story, someone’s art or their sharing.
It truly is a fantastic thing.
And here’s another thing: so much of this “sharing” is people opening up to others, about their addiction and about their recovery. We all read these and often get something really tangible out of them.
But when was the last time we opened up to ourselves? When did we confront our pasts and get comfortable with “us”?
One of her blogs really struck a chord.
In “A love letter to the girl who used-to-be”, Tiffany writes to herself… she confronts her very self-being in a deeply personal and moving way.
I think the best way for you to understand what I mean is to read the letter in full.
With that in mind, I got in touch with Tiff and asked if she’d mind. Like all good Recovery Peeps she was only too happy for us to publish her work on here.
Tiffany, thanks so much for sharing your letter with us. It means a lot. You’re bloody great!
Next time you’re this side of the pond… you know where to come for a good cuppa and even better natter!
A Love Letter To The Girl Who Used-To-Be
by Tiffany Swedeen, February 15, 2018
At your very darkest, when you wanted more than anything to exit this life, you still managed a tiny glimmer of hope and it kept you here; you stayed.
I love you for that courage. I love you for staying alive, even when it isn’t pretty.
Dear Girl that Used-to-Be,
I love you.
I know that you are hurting; you feel alone and confused. Your desperation to be comforted for even a fleeting moment has led you to some very ugly places and very big mistakes.
But I love you.
I can see your fear – afraid of your own emotions and terrified of your feelings. You found ways to numb yourself, to avoid situations and escape from life instead of showing up to face it. Not your best move – that’s for sure. But it’s understandable, so stop beating yourself up. You don’t have to do that anymore.
I know you’ve been frantically looking for love all over- in relationships, in school, in your career, in religion. You believed success and accomplishments would earn you the type of love that was missing. I can see how painful it was when you got to the proverbial top and found out you were wrong – it wasn’t there at all.
You’ve taken any attention you could gather – along with physical affection, co-dependency, and martyrdom – and dressed them all up to look like love. I applaud you for trying; I don’t blame you for screwing up.
Brave girl. So scared, so full of determination. You found yourself at the bottom, then scraped and scrambled your way back out. At your very darkest, when you wanted more than anything to exit this life, you still managed a tiny glimmer of hope and it kept you here; you stayed. I love you for that courage. I love you for staying alive, even when it isn’t pretty.
I love you for trying, even when it feels like shame is swallowing you whole; when it feels like the cloud of pain around you is visceral and smothering and unbearable. You’ve been through Hell, and I love you for that too; for getting out and being willing to hold the hands of others who are wading through a fire of their own.
Listen, girl, I’m not gonna lie. You made me furious with your dishonesty, broke my heart when you hurt your friends and family, shattered my spirit when you failed your workplace, and embarrassed the hell out of me when you sang drunk karaoke to Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back (OMG seriously, how could you do that??!!)
BUT….I still love you…. even though all of that.
You did a lot of stupid, dangerous, embarrassing things. But what you’ve done is not who you are. I forgive you. Let that in.
I know it’s scary and I know it’s hard – you look yourself in the eye and see every bad decision, every stupid mistake and just want to disappear or hurt yourself and you can’t imagine a world in which anyone would forgive the girl you think you are.
Girlfriend, stop it. Stop living in the past. You have a choice to keep looking backwards or BE HERE NOW. You’re a smart woman – you don’t need to play those painful records on repeat.
Try this: eyes closed, hands over your heart, slow breath in and out. “I am valuable. I am special. I am loved. I am not the Girl That Used-To-Be.”
This is where the healing starts.
Hold tightly to this love and the rest will have a chance to grow.
When you don’t believe it: fake it. When you can’t remember: read this.
Stop settling. Stop trying to live up to ridiculous and useless expectations. Don’t be afraid of this moment. Don’t be afraid of your feelings. You’re strong, you are capable, and you deserve happiness. You deserve compassion and kindness – you deserve to give it to yourself.
You’re not perfect, but you’re perfectly you. Stay awake to this; look yourself in the mirror and see yourself proudly looking back
“I love you. You’re doing your best. I love you.”
Never stop trying.
About our author.
Tiffany has lived a series of experiences that many would call mistakes, but she considers practice.
As a nurse and certified life & recovery coach, Tiffany writes about her adventures as a part of her healing journey, in hopes to empower others.
Travelling as much as possible in her VW camper van, Tiffany aims to conquer the world with compassionate mindfulness.
She lives in a small town with her beloved canine Cassie the Wonder Dog, and is mother to one magnificent daughter who’s trying out the big wide world for herself.