The dark side of healing

I hope this title intrigued you rather than scare you away..

My intention in writing on this particular topic is to encourage, not discourage: but truly, healing is hard work.

What I mean by “the dark side” of healing, is in the context that it’s a messy, monotonous and sometimes a frustrating process of self discovery. It’s not all sunshine and butterflies.

I have been on a big healing journey since I was 30, so over 6 years now. And what a wild ride it has been! I like adventure and all, but woo wee, hold on to your pants!

When I am talking about healing, I am not just talking a physical thing like, oh I should clean up my diet and get more exercise. All aspects of who we are as humans and spiritual beings are interconnected and in constant communication with one another.

All parts of who we are mind, body and soul are ONE, connected in an interplay of energy and consciousness. When we heal one level of ourselves, we are healing the other parts too. They are all important, equally.

When I was 30 I got sober from drugs and alcohol. This was a long time coming, and one of the best decisions of my life. Without this recovery, I would have never survived beating stage 4 cancer at 32 years old. That healing journey, prepared me for an even bigger one.

Healing from my addiction was messy, and so was healing from Cancer. Hence, the dark side of healing topic. Some of you might know me in person, others may not know me at all or very well.  Nonetheless, I try to keep it real always, sugar coating shit never helped anyone.  Moving on…

I remember the last time I got wasted. I was in San Francisco with my best friend, I’ll spare you the details- but I ended up blacked out, passed out and very sick. I woke up the next morning still drunk, and my heart told me, “Please get sober if you want any kind of normal happy life”.

I flew home back to Portland Oregon, and sat my butt in the same AA meeting I use to go to with my parents when I was just a kid. I really wanted, and want to break this cycle of pain, confusion and addiction. It’s been a lot of work, meetings, working the steps with a sponsor and even therapy. 6 years later, I haven’t picked up a drink, miraculously.

When I got diagnosed with stage 4 cancer only less than 2 years after getting sober, it was devastating to say the least. It was a death sentence type of cancer; alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, stage 4. These evil tumors had metastasized to my spine, ribs, neck and jaw. I was given 6 months to 1 year to live with chemotherapy. What a blow.

Being newly sober, and having to navigate all the pharmaceuticals and medical marijuana on top of processing my impending death was tragic. It was the darkest time in my life. Despair. I’ve never known despair and fear like that. And I don’t think I have it in me to handle it again. Hence why I keep on this healing journey, even though it’s hard.

My cancer story in detail, is for another time. But for the sake of this blog post I have been in remission by the grace of God for over 3 years now.

I used traditional medicine like chemo, radiation and pharmaceuticals.  But also tapped into an anti inflammatory diet, supplements, herbs, tinctures, CBD, yoga, meditation/relaxation, writing, Kangan alkaline water, photography, counseling, coaching, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, exercising, nature, traveling, reading, studying and beyond to heal my life.

Its hard work.. a part time job. But it’s saved my life. And has helped me to thrive, and not just survive.

So the dark side of healing.. at times it can feel like a lot, over whelming, it can be expensive, and there are times when you wonder if any of this hard work is paying off? And the answer is YES.

I have learned that everything I have put into this healing journey, has helped me 10 fold to heal and grow as a person, and then some. On all levels of my being- mind, body and soul.

My physical body healed from the tumors, they are long gone! And physically I am still trying to clean up the damage from the chemo and radiation. Right now this is the frustrating part.. working on it.

The trauma I endured mentally and emotionally is almost gone, and spiritually speaking,  almost dying  young brought me closer to life, people and a higher power of my understanding.

Currently I am studying to become a Integrative wellness coach through a fantastic program online at Duke University. I graduate in December 2018.

My hope as a coach is to inspire and encourage folks going through a healing journey, TO KEEP GOING.

All the hard work saved my life, and has given me a purposeful, happy life again.  I believe this is possible for anyone willing to do the work, and stick with it, even theougn the dark times. Don’t give up.

happy healing, thank you for reading.

-Brittany

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