I’ve been sharing my story a lot (and by a lot I mean I told 3 or 4 people) this week: putting myself out there for people to see. Owning up to being an alcoholic. I don’t have any practice at that since I still don’t go to meetings. So it feels strange, and shameful, and very very freeing. Being able to say that I quit, that it was a problem. That I wasn’t just a woman having one or two too many, but having enough to knock out any reasonable person who wasn’t an alcohol superhero like me.
……”Duh duh duh dun da da! Boozewoman! Able to leap tall bottles in a single stumble! More drunk than a skunk! Look down on the floor! It’s a rug! It’s some dust! No! It’s BOOZEWOMAN!”
In these conversations I start to sugar coat it before I say it, to make it not that bad, and then I remind myself gently to be honest. This has happened. Has happened. It is who I was, but it is not who I am today. The hard part is how much I sugar coated it for myself, and how now that we’re being all honest I really see how bad things were. Oh, how bad. Oh.
I can see it on my husband’s face. How he didn’t know what to do and because I’m stubborn and he’s more the go along type he just didn’t speak up. Couldn’t speak up. Didn’t want to damage an already shitty situation beyond repair. Things are better and better but, man. We have a ways away before he trusts me again with his whole heart.
Writing this post reminds me of what sobriety really is: it’s hopeful and reaching. And at the same time devastating and heart rending. It’s everything all done up in a funny papers wrapped present: you’re not really prepared so you use what you’ve got. It’s charming, and colorful, and is kind of funny. When you open it your hands are going to get dirty.
When you want to share it some people will say no thank you. They will feel bad for you that you have to admit such things, and act like you are naked right there in front of everyone. Or they will be baffled that you could even do such a thing: NOT DRINK? They will look at you like you have three heads because such a thing is not possible. Then probably offer some excuses why they would love to quit, but…..
Most people are slightly underwhelmed and a little uncomfortable.
The hard part for me is that you don’t really know what people think. How being an alcoholic changes their opinion of you. How admitting it may make them think worse of you when in reality you are so much better. That blows my mind a little. Then I have to gently remind myself, “It’s none of my business what you think of me.”
Owning my alcoholism makes it easier to be who I am. As time goes by it becomes more a part of me, of my history. It becomes more of a trait than a defining word: I am funny, and stubborn, I’m an alcoholic, I love eggs and toast. The truth is in the telling, the telling makes it true. And the truth is setting me free.