I'm a survivor of childhood trauma, toxic family dysfunction & addiction. I have been working intentionally to heal from my trauma and re-write my story for the past 8 years. Today I'm living my dream of being a full-time nomad, running my business from the road, and making up the rules for my life as I go!
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Hello Beautiful! I';m Morgan
"We all have our own story. And we stay attached to our story. This can stop us from growing and living. You want to make your life better? Change your story, change your life." - Tony Robbins
We all have our own life stories. They are filled with relationships and events that shape who we are and what we believe to be true about the world. Depending on our perspective and willingness to grow, our experiences can create space for negativity and patterns of playing the victim, or they can fuel a life of empowerment and continued self-development. It is the story we tell ourselves about what happens that makes all the difference.
My story began with a mother wound. The first time I read the words "Mother Wound," they sent a strange but familiar energy through my body. It was almost as if, somewhere deep inside of me, I already had a relationship with these words.
It was 2 am on a random Tuesday morning and I was still nursing an awful hangover from the night before. I was also spiraling down an internet black hole looking for relief from my decades-long inner turmoil, "What the fuck is wrong with me, why do I keep falling into this same pattern over and over again?" "I don't want to do this anymore so why do I?" I was utterly exhausted from the alcohol-induced Groundhog's Day that my life had become.
The universe, as I've come to see her do when we are ready to receive, delivered guidance that morning as I found my way to an article explaining the concept of the "Mother Wound." The writer beautifully explained how women have been unintentionally passing down unhealed wounds to their daughters for generations. These wounds have become part of our makeup, our DNA, our ancestral lineage. They heavily influence who we become as adults. They run deep through many generations, making it difficult to uncover their roots and understand how they impact us today.
Because of this, most of us grew up unaware of our wounds and as a result, have not had any guidance on healing them. Instead, we unintentionally learn how to co-exist with them. When unhealed, "mother wounds" can wreak havoc on every aspect of our lives; relationships, work, money, self-worth, confidence, sex, parenting. The list could go on and on. They create the perfect environment for addiction, self-doubt, self-hatred, confusion, and turmoil. Unhealed, they gain the power to overshadow our lives and push our true selves into hiding.
.“A strange sense of relief came over my body and for the first time in my life, I experienced a moment of absolute clarity. I knew at that moment, as hard as it was to accept, I had carried on my mother's wounds and had been battling them for decades."
For 20 years I had felt like a prisoner to the stories I believed to be true. Life was hard. Life was disappointing. I was all alone. Success was unlikely. I was one of the unlucky ones. I was unlovable and on and on. I fell into a dark and lonely pattern. I would come to expect life to present another shitty day/experience/situation. And in response, I would habitually need to vent (complain) about said disappointment and look to my friends for validation and excuses to stay stuck right where I was. This pattern went both ways.
I would tell myself, "I'll just meet the girls for one drink, get it off my chest and then come home." Fast forward 12 hours later... I wake up in my bed (this time, thank god), no idea how I got there. I feel like death had come to visit me in my sleep and decided to keep me alive as punishment. I'm wearing the same clothes from the night before. "Oh god, I don't remember anything after that "last" whiskey and ginger." I feel my body flush hot with embarrassment for what I don't know. I get up and begin the recovery process. Again...
After the embarrassment fades; the guilt, shame, blame, and negative self-talk kick in,"one goddamn drink Tracy, and come home, why can't you ever do that!?" I continue to kick myself while I'm already down. I vow that it's the last time, and I swear off drinking. Again...
Two days later, my phone rings. The voice on the other end says "I can't believe I was stood up! I'm so upset. I need you, will you please meet me for a drink?" And right on cue, my need to people-please and co-dependency kick in and overpower my want to make better choices for myself. "Sure, where and what time?" This was my pattern, my way of living, my baseline for 20 years. It was utterly exhausting! I didn't like who I was. I was ashamed but hid it from the world. I swore I wouldn't become like her. I promised myself I wouldn't follow in their footsteps. I told everyone that I would be the one to do things differently. I told myself I was in control.
“But there I was, living out my family pattern. There I was... carrying on my "mother wound." nobody expecting any different of me. Nobody holding me accountable. Nobody to see my pain.
It would take another 2 years or so after that morning before I gained control over my relationship with alcohol and an additional 3 before I admitted to myself that I was an alcoholic. I was a social, functioning, and mostly fun (until I wasn't) alcoholic but still an alcoholic. There are different opinions on what makes an alcoholic but at the end of the day, we each need to be able to say what we believe to be our truth. My truth is, alcohol had power over my life for a long time. I also know that when I finally felt brave enough to face the question, my answer was clear.
I started drinking at 17. I remember the first time I got drunk. It was euphoric - all of my anxiety melted away, all of my worry, all of my self-doubt. When I was drinking I was able to take a break from needing to control everything and everyone around me. I was fun, I was easygoing, my friends called me the life of the party. I felt accepted, I felt loved. Drinking brought me closer to people. Drinking brought me closer to my family. It's the only time I saw them briefly let their walls down. It's the only time they seemed to see me. I was afraid of losing all of that. That internal relief from the emotional pain is what drove me to make excuses for my choices, actions, and behavior.
As I look back today, It's easy to connect the dots and see how that pattern started in childhood.
I had been surrounded by alcoholics since day one. My mom the most prominent. As a child growing up in dysfunction and addiction, you learn to survey everything around you. We do this because we often have to fend for ourselves and not being aware can put us in danger. You learn to listen for a tone of voice, a flush in face coloring, an inability to walk straight. You watch for mood changes and sudden shifts in the environment. These were the signs that told me I needed to be on alert and be aware of my surroundings. These signs told me that there was no longer an adult on duty. It was time for me to take over. And that's what I had to do for the first 18 years of my life.
“Drinking gave me a chance to be off duty for the first time in my life. I finally understood why they did it."
Before the yelling, fighting, stumbling, anger, rage, and blacking out; there was a brief space where the walls would come down, sincerity shared, love exchanged, and brief moments where I saw the adults in my life for who they were under the deep wounds they carried themselves. In this space, there would be vulnerability, compassion, laughing, dancing, and brief feelings of hopefulness. This space would become oddly comforting to me. A place I went on to crave as an adult. I look at it now and see what I was really craving was honesty, vulnerability, connectedness, and depth from those closest to me. I learned that this was the only space I could get it so I broke my vow to myself and I stopped fighting it and I joined them.
My family's relationship with alcohol deeply impacted every aspect of my life. They chose it over me every single time. I competed with it daily but it always won. Because nobody understood their wounds and because nobody was equipped to heal, they unintentionally passed them on to me. I carried deep feelings of guilt and shame for falling victim to the family pattens. I didn't want to follow in their footsteps so why had I? For a long time, I thought I had done something to deserve it.
But on that early Tuesday morning as I sat there hungover, reading about the "mother wound" I received the message, "It's not your fault,"
“I could feel tears swelling up. I tried to hold the emotions back as I often did but it was impossible this time.”
That was the first time anyone had ever told me "it wasn't my fault" and for the first time in my life, I realized none of it was my fault. I was just a child. I just did what was modeled to me. I had no control. And then I cried, I cried a cry that I was afraid would never stop. I cried for my family, I cried for the deep-rooted pain and grief that was my childhood lost. I cried for the mom I never had and I cried because I knew that my "mother wound" ran deep. But finally, I understood that none of it was my fault. This new acceptance gave me an anchor and I finally felt a small sense of grounding.
After that I got curious. REALLY CURIOUS! I began to dig deep. I read books. LOTS OF BOOKS! I went to workshops and classes. I learned about trauma. I found Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACOA). And for the first time, I went to therapy. When my first therapist didn't understand me, I found another and another. I found hope in the understanding and education of why I was the way I was. Hopefulness is something we seldomly, if ever. experience growing up in family addiction and dysfunction. So when I found it, I sure as hell wasn't going to let it go.
I look back now and realize that this curiosity is what set me apart from the rest of my family. I realized that they had all just been going along with the stories, the patterns, and the beliefs. They didn't ask "why." They didn't question the status quo. They didn't seem to want to change anything. Maybe they never got tired enough. Maybe they never reached their rock bottom. Maybe I was just wired differently. All I know is that when I received that message, I felt a shift. I knew I was ready for a change. I didn't know how but I knew. I knew I was ready to heal my "mother wound."
“It has since been a long, challenging, and emotional journey but one i'm grateful for choosing every day since.
It's not easy as a childhood trauma survivor who is used to living her life in the shadows, keeping quiet, not drawing too much attention, and playing small to vulnerably share my stories of recovery from family dysfunction and addiction. It's taken a tremendous amount of inner work to get comfortable talking about my story publicly. But when I look back over my journey, I realize how much hearing stories of others has helped me to heal. And now sharing my story is a huge part of my healing process. If my story can help just one person who is in pain, it is worth stepping out of my comfort zone.