Soulbriety is for anyone in pain—the kind of pain that burns a hole deep inside your body that you think you’ll sink into, all alone. The kind of pain that makes you fear you’ll disappear into a dark void from which you’ll never find your way out…and worst of all, no one will know you’re gone.
I know this kind of pain. It is the kind of pain that makes you feel broken, less than, and invisible. It’s the kind of pain that makes you hate yourself because you perceive that you are somehow not as strong as everyone else, which only causes more pain.
When you break into pieces, it only gets worse. You find yourself disassociated and floating above what used to be you, or the only you you’ve ever known. You’re frozen in fear that you’ve died there on the floor, and it is beyond your comprehension as to how you will be able to fix this latest mess you’ve created. In your mind, you have only two choices: lie down and die, with all the pieces of you scattered on the floor; or walk away, detached from yourself, and go deeper into a hole of never-ending darkness.
I want to give you a third choice—a choice you need because there isn’t always someone around to be with you at your breaking point. I want you to know that help is around the corner, waiting for you to reach out. But for the period of time when you find yourself alone, here is what I want you to know: You are enough. You are not broken. You exist. People see you. I see you. The unbearable pain you feel will not always feel this way. But the truth is, everyone needs to fail and experience pain. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be alive! Challenges and suffering are a part of life, and part of our growth trajectory. And many parts of living can sometimes feel really dark. But this is also an opportunity. It gives us a place to nourish the roots of who we are so that our soul can express itself through us. A time to learn. A way to transform. When we greet our pain with curiosity and acceptance, we start to put the pieces together in a new way, a better way—and get help doing it.
If you imagine you’re at the bottom of Mt. Everest and are told that the only way to feel better is to climb the mountain to the top alone, in the dark, without a map or tools or confidence that it will, in fact, be better at the top—then I am telling you this: Go around to the other side, because that’s where the rest of us are! We’re climbing, too. We have lights, tools, and food. And sometimes it’s hard, but together, we have fun climbing. Together, we laugh and cry and carry each other when it gets impossible to take another step. The best part is, we see the faces of those who made it to the top climbing back down. They stop and tell us stories of how amazing it was up there. How they found new versions of themselves at the top. How we, too, will meet parts of ourselves we never knew existed. They’ll tell us that when it was time to come downhill, they willingly came this time—because they were so excited to meet us, to share their wisdom with us, to start all over again…because they wanted to begin another journey to the top, so they could learn even more. Because they finally realized that, despite what our culture might tell us, the top isn’t the final destination; it’s just a part of the journey, and the bottom is equally important.
Struggle and pain are a part of life, but so is joy. Some of us may be carrying much more of one than the other; our stories are not the same, and comparison is impossible. We are all on our own unique soul journeys, and none can be judged as more or less worthy than another’s. You can only truly witness one soul journey—and that is your own.
It is the curiosity you hold toward your own adventure that will lead to your awareness of underlying addictions and traumas. Through your own healing, excavation, and inner-world work, you will learn to understand and have more compassion—not just for yourself, but for others. It is not what happens to you, but rather, how you create meaning, purpose, and a mature intuition from those experiences that makes you who you are.
Soulbriety is a different way of thinking about recovery from trauma and addiction:
- First, it shows you that you no longer need to run and hide from your pain, suffering, and losses.
- Second, it gives you a twisty and intricate road to travel—so you go slow, take in the surroundings, and use the time on the path to learn, not to escape.
- Third, it gives you a dark corner where you can make a resting place and decorate it to your liking. This will serve as your safe place to go, where you can work on the pieces you left on the floor.
- Fourth, it gives you a method for meeting the parts that make up the complex world of your psyche. Start with the most obvious; for me, it was my addiction persona. You can spend time writing down your parts’ characteristics, drawing pictures of them, and naming them.
- Fifth, as each part becomes more identifiable, soulbriety urges you to talk to them. See what they have to say. The most important question you can ask them is: “Why are you here, and what do you want to tell me?” Then, listen.
- Sixth, on the days you feel frozen, lost, or hopeless, soulbriety helps you to remember this: You are soul. You are powerful beyond what you know, and you have access to something greater than yourself. Soul is trying to communicate with you, to get your attention—and while you may feel alone now, you are actually right on the other side of breaking through and reconnecting with the essence of your life. So. take a deep breath, be still, and remember that this is the beginning of your soul journey.