From a young age I suffered from very low self esteem. I judged myself constantly, comparing myself against other people, with a warped sense of my own identity. I was terrified of being on my own, of being myself and I didn’t know how to love myself.
I sought comfort in relationships, then sabotaged them with jealousy. At 16 I learned that alcohol helped to numb pain. I started drinking to hide from myself, from the thoughts and feelings of unworthiness and loneliness. I began to choose partners who had the same feelings of unworthiness, and drinking became the norm.
Fast forward to my early thirties; after years of binge drinking, I found myself on my own without a partner, and the drinking took over completely. Every evening alone in my flat, I would consume 2 bottles of wine and stumble into bed in a drunken stupor. I would wake with memory loss, get up and go to work again. I would hide behind my makeup and my perfect clothes. I looked the part, but underneath I was falling apart. I hated my job and I hated myself. I didn’t talk about what I was doing, and pretended it was normal. I seemed to be able to carry on without anyone questioning what I was doing.
Then I met my husband, who reminded me of my love of yoga. I started practicing when I was 14 from a library book, and I continued to go to classes when I was in a good place, but I never went when things were bad – I never felt worthy enough for yoga when I was drinking. He brought me back to my practice. Yoga helped me to see that to truly live from a space of love and compassion, I needed to learn to accept and love all of my imperfections and see the deep beauty in them.
To fully embrace my own glorious light, I needed to experience great darkness, and accept that darkness as part of me instead of hiding it in my striving for perfection. I found a profound beauty in complete and utter surrender; it enabled me to trust in my higher self. When I speak my own truth, expose my darkness, my light shines ever brighter. That light invites others to speak up too. Elena’s admission of addiction gave me the courage to speak my truth, and slowly I am remembering my light. Thank you for reading this and helping me share it.