by Jennifer Hardy, CMPS, Peer Support Coordinator
One of my greatest obstacles to leaving the "life" of commercial sexual exploitation was fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of not being able to do anything else. Fear of not having enough money. Fear that no one in the "real world" would want to hire "someone like me". Fear that those who said they would support me would abandon me when the going got rough. Fear with being uncomfortable being "square" or "normal". Fear of feeling my feelings. Fear of having to think about what I had done, who I had been.
The thing about fear is that it lives only inside our own heads. Fear is not the same as danger. I was facing dangerous situations daily, but was more afraid of unknown change than continuing to walk in danger. This lie kept me in the clubs for several years, wishing I could make a change. An interesting paradox to me now, but this is what trauma and addiction does to you. It tricks you into staying sick. The hard thing to do is, in reality, usually the safer thing to do. For me it took a very strong moment of clarity-that I credit as a gift from God-when I was able to see that my future in the world I was in was death. I was running so hard and so fast with people that were only using me, my total destruction was inevitable to me. In that moment, it seemed to me that anything would be better than death. I couldn't keep it up. I was so sick and so tired of being so sick and so tired.
As recovery progresses, I learn to face all sorts of fears, most of which are equally as irrational as the fear that held me in "the life" for so long. Every fear I acknowledge, accept, face and walk through makes me that much stronger. I am learning to trust myself, my higher power, and the amazing people in my life. And I am learning to share these lessons with my sisters in recovery. This is a beautiful place to be!
One of our members shared the following song with me this week as a source of strength in difficult moments and I pass it on to you:
“No Longer Slaves” / Bethel Music