11. Give yourself grace

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Victoria talked about turning to alcohol to numb the anxiety and pain she experienced in the aftermath of cancer treatment and reminded us to let go of the expectations we put on ourselves and get support to develop healthier ways to cope with trauma.

I so appreciated Victoria for coming on the show to share her story about the trauma she experienced with cancer and alcohol abuse. She brought so much humanity to an issue that may not be talked about very often – which is that in dealing with the mental and physical trauma of cancer, some of us might unintentionally end up coping in ways that are harmful to ourselves and those around us.

The truth is, alcohol use is so common in our society, especially during this past year when almost everyone has had to cope with the disruptions brought on by the pandemic. So many of my friends and family drank just to relax from the workday so it’s not hard to see why people would turn to alcohol when dealing with the trauma they are experiencing from cancer.

Victoria’s message about giving yourself grace in a situation like that is so important. Everyone’s experience with cancer has so many dimensions so even if you’ve had a successful treatment outcome, for example, it doesn’t mean everything else goes back to normal. Victoria and I continued to chat after we stopped recording for a bit where we talked about how many human experiences are really not an “either-or” dichotomy, but that often, seemingly contradictory things can be true at the same time. In her case, she was absolutely grateful that her cancer treatment worked, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t hard to work through the trauma that came with it.

You can find more information about Victoria’s coaching services and her podcast at: https://www.victoriaenglishmartin.com/

Victoria recommended the book This Naked Mind by Annie Grace for people who want to better understand alcohol addiction and recovery.

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