From Massive Grief & Financial Problems to taking my business Virtual

 

Recovering from Addiction turned out to be a “GIFT”  that continued to give.  In my case, not one but many gifts. It restored and mended my relationship with my children and family and it led me to a career I am passionate about. 

After graduating from The Hazelden Addiction Counselling Program I obtained my MA in Psychological Counselling and opened my own Private Practice in Geneva. I loved every minute of my work as a Counsellor.

Clients often looked at me in astonishment and asked: ” How do you know that? ”  The answer is very simple. I knew because I had lived through so many of the same issues. 

I understood and “felt” their fears and worries, BUT more importantly, I cared.  This is was and still is my greatest strength. I  know what is going on inside their heads because many years ago there had been times  I felt my own head was going to blow off with despair.

Although it has been 26 years since I was where they are  I have never forgotten the terrible loneliness, sorrow, pain, craving and distress they are feeling.  Unless you have lived through this yourself it is hard to imagine. You cannot fake knowledge of this kind and my clients picked up on it. 

My own story became my greatest tool. I DO NOT LOOK LIKE AN ADDICT.  Seeing me sitting there well-groomed, at peace, happy and in good health with no trace of the terrible fight to the death I had been through, gave them HOPE that they too could one day overcome their own challenges. 

 Once people know that you truly understand and CARE about their  pain  they give you their trust. This applies to Counselling and it applies to Blogging.

 

Having  been the recipient of a complete lack of compassion and contempt from others, and experienced first hand how lonely it feels to come up against the absence of kindness and empathy, I have made Bob BRISSET’S words  ” People do not care how much you know UNTIL they know how much you care  ” My Mantra and this idea informs  how I treat every single client I work with. 

There are very few human emotions I have not experienced or had my clients trust me with. It has been a privilege to be in the right place at the right time to help someone.

During the years that followed my recovery, I saw people from all walks of life who were dealing with many different issues: Addiction, anxiety, eating disorders ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) Aspergers, shyness, Procrastination and Time Management.

It was a happy time. I loved my work, my children, my family. Life was good.

 

 

THEN SUDDENLY  ONCE AGAIN  IT WAS NOT!  Grief, loss, and heartbreak of a magnitude I never would have imagined possible struck from out of the blue. Many people I loved more than life itself, died within a few short months of each other. Even now years later, I  wonder how I survived the pain of it.

I was still reeling from these tragedies when I was hit by unexpected but extremely serious FINANCIAL PROBLEMS.   Everything I held dear and familiar was disappearing!

Although my battle with Addiction had very nearly killed me, in many ways I found what happened next more frightening. This time I was sober, there were no pills or booze to cushion me from reality.

I was now a middle-aged single mother responsible for two still very young children who depended on me for everything.

I DO NOT REMEMBER EVER FEELING SO UNUTTERABLE LONELY, INCOMPETENT, OR CLUELESS ABOUT HOW TO DEAL WITH WHAT WAS HAPPENING..

As problems continued to rain down on me in ever greater numbers, my anxiety escalated until I felt almost paralyzed with FEAR. I became avoidant and stopped answering the phone, or opening my mail, the rationalization being that I just could not take one more bit of bad news.

I had discovered a new phobia I called “Fear of the Letter Box”. I also became someone who developed the habit of Fear based Procrastination. This is a toxic killer!

FINANCIAL PROBLEMS CREATE CHRONIC STRESS because they threaten our present and future security. I went from being a resilient unsinkable optimist to a cowed anxious worrier.

I know first hand at the deepest possible level what it feels like to be terrified, alone and frozen with despair and worry.

Thankfully for me, my recovery from addiction many years prior to these dark times ONCE AGAIN came to the rescue.

Because my recovery had resulted in going back to University and training as a therapist, my passion for teaching people how to become more resilient, flexible and adaptive in the face of change now stood me in good stead.

I knew what to do and was able to use the enormous reserves of knowledge I had accumulated during my many years as a counsellor on myself.  It worked.

This is why when I decided to take my Counselling practice online, I made these tried and tested methods an important part of the foundation I am building the blog and  business on.

Knowing how to overcome our Limiting Beliefs and how to cultivate a “Growth Mindset” is tremendously helpful. Being able to tap into this knowledge and use these tools is invaluable for “ facing your fears, and doing it anyway”. Acquiring the right MINDSET  is what will allow us to stay motivated focussed and positive.

PART I – FROM ADDICTION AND LACK OF COMPASSION TO COUNSELLING

And then if you have time read:

WHY ADOPTION MADE ME CHANGE MY LIFESTYLE AND START A BLOG