Back in March of 2016 I was curled up in a fetal position crying on my bed. I was uncomfortable, I was defeated, and I was hopeless. I had recently closed the doors on my dream of starting my own business and reluctantly took a sales job to pay the bills. I had jumped into my dream with both feet, I spent all the money I had, and when that ran out, I borrowed more. I pushed back the fear that I didn’t have what it takes, that I wasn’t a REAL entrepreneur, that I was an imposter who just hung out in networking groups, but it seemed I was wrong to push back the fear - I had failed ...again. I felt small and I felt embarrassed. The same way I felt as a child, the same way I felt when I couldn’t please my classmates in high school, when I quit the basketball team, when my relationships failed, and every time people’s eyebrows scrunched up when i told them I was going to own a successful business. I told myself that my thoughts about my inability to succeed were a lie, but what if the lie was true?
I was single, I was only a few months sober, I had recently moved back to Austin to help family, and my future looked bleak. As long as I can remember I’ve dreamt of helping people overcome their struggles by sharing my story. The only problem with having a dream like that is you have to overcome something first. What I didn’t know was that I had already started this journey, I was on the path but I had not yet overcome anything.
Laying there on my bed - I summoned the motivation to put on a podcast. A friend had recently recommended Brooke Castillo, so I gave it a shot - It was an episode about PTSD. As it turns out, my father, who is now a hero in my mind, served as a Ranger in the Vietnam war when he was 18 years old and his service caused him severe PTSD that traumatized my siblings and I. My father is a great man with a huge heart, and he genuinely loves his family. Unfortunately, he has a lot of physical and emotional pain, that he never learned to deal with, so he would drink to numb the pain. When he would drink, often he’d black out and relive his war experiences, then things would get pretty intense for anyone who was near him. There is a lot of my childhood I do not remember, but I do recall the police being at our house regularly, running as fast as I could to get away to the neighbors, and living in constant fear.
As it turns out a childhood like that can have pretty long lasting effects. There are certain things I haven’t been able to shake off. Like anger, fear based thinking, and irrational ways of dealing with my emotions. Worst of all was my victim mindset - I’d fight against the lies that that I was broken, but what if the lies were true? I would cope with life through over drinking and overeating. I hurt people because I was hurting. I lived in so much pain because I didn’t know how to cope with life in healthy ways.
I spent years and years reading every self-help book out there. I’ve journaled almost every day and tried many different “healing” strategies. People in my life have always teased me, “You’re so serious Whitney- you’re always trying to ‘get better’.”
Only now can I see that I was constantly trying to figure out how to remove the pain. I CRAVED to be better, to overcome, and was determined that I couldn’t rest until I figured out how.
Well, God is a good God, He puts people in our lives when we ask because we need them and Brooke Castillo podcast was the start of something incredible. I will forever be grateful that God allowed our paths to cross.
I am not more skilled than you, I’m not incredibly strong, I’m not uniquely courageous, or special in any way. It’s because I trusted if I put in the work it’d produce fruit, I expected more from myself, and craved to help others. So, I made a promise to myself to keep moving forward even though I doubted I would get anywhere. And that when I get to the other side, I will help as many people as God allows! That’s exactly what I set out to do - even if the lies were true.
In the past 22 months, I have stayed sober, I met Jake - God’s Best for me, I’ve lost 40 lbs and kept every one of them off, and now I get to eat what I want without the fear of gaining weight back. I no longer use alcohol to “celebrate” life or to “unwind” after a long day. My career is helping people overcome and I have restarted my dream business with my husband as my business partner. I’m intentionally continuing to build my future with BIG plans and designing it by taking action towards it daily. Finally, I have an internal peace, feel real joy, and when I laugh it feels real. Bless God- He is faithful and answered prayers I kept praying!
So, if you are reading this and find yourself craving more or feeling overwhelmed or hopeless in the stage you are currently in then this is for you!
There are three basic steps I’d encourage you to take. This will be a start. You can do this exercise now as a commitment to yourself. Remember, if I could overcome what I have you can DO IT TOO!!! So, grab a piece of paper and pen to get started.
Acknowledge what circumstances would you like to change in your life. Next to each one, write next to it, “MY control” or “NO control”. My control, is if you have the ability to change your circumstance (avoid trying to figure out the how or assessing how hard it’d be). “No control”, is if you can’t change the circumstance because there is nothing you can do to make it better.
List a few thoughts about each circumstance. Think about how you would like it to be different, in what ways? What would you rather be feeling instead? Imagine how changing that circumstance would make your life easier?
Now write a list of actions you can take to make your circumstance better. Who do you know that has gone through something similar? Who is knowledgeable in this area that you can gain insight from? Is there a support group that can help you gain strength? List all the possible solutions or ideas that come to mind.
This little exercise may help you gain perspective. It may also help you see the hope, maybe a lesson you are learning, or how you’re being built up for something new.
Most importantly just keep moving forward even if you are afraid the lies are true.