I have traveled a lot, worked, and lived in different countries, but my survival traits (problems) were following me everywhere, waiting for the opportunity to show up and make my life unbearable. I was obsessed with perfection, I had problems with authority figures/boss relationships and I practiced relationship anorexia. I was afraid of people, guilty when I stood up for myself. I lost the ability to feel or express my feelings, judged myself harshly, and had a very low sense of self-esteem.
There have been a few “hitting bottoms” in my life due to survival traits and I thought I was just weird and depressed. Until the final “hitting a bottom” - a devastating pain of a romantic break up when I eventually started to look for a way out.
It was a huge relief to find out that my “weird behavior” is “normal” and that there is a way to recover and moreover - that I am not alone! I have just finished the Twelve Steps ACA Yellow Workbook and even though it was not an easy work, it was totally worth it. I have read a lot of books on the ACA topic, started the Steps work, too, but I didn't make it till the end as one cannot recover alone. But once I have found the courage to trust and tell my story to another person, my life has started changing dramatically!
I am very grateful for the ACA program even though this is not the end of the hard work on myself, but just the beginning of a new way of life - the ACA way. It is essential to understand where all the survival traits come from to be able to deal with them and eventually integrate them.
It is easy to understand now what my artwork was about to tell me and why other people found it weird or scary and why I did not want to sell it. My true self has been talking to myself and reflecting on each phase of my life and my stuffed feelings that I was unable to express in different ways. I understand now the meaning of my first “selfie-sculpture” (on the picture) representing "don't talk, don't trust, don't feel" rules, that I would like to use as awareness of ACA in my future artwork.
Once you start working the Twelve Steps, you won't be the same and you will tend to help other ACAs who might still suffer with an entrenched feeling of being different or frightened. I know now that I can help others thanks to my story and my artwork - I am no longer afraid of living my true life.