I’ve been reflecting a lot this week. Sobriety has been easy; the urge to drink has been low. Because I’ve been here before, in the middle of the “drinking, not drinking, back to drinking” cycle many times, I’m forcing myself to identify why I’ve been able to stay sober for 108 days. If I document what’s working today, then tomorrow when I’m on the edge of relapse, I can recall specific tools to keep myself on track.
Today, I’m going to focus on being open and honest.
Outside of this small corner of cyberspace, I do not easily share. I expend a lot of effort maintaining an exterior that tells the world that I’m happy, cheerful and everything’s fine. In the first session with my therapist, she commented that it was disconcerting watching me talk about being suicidal while maintaining a composure fit for a job interview. I replied that suicidal thoughts are my normal – it’s no big deal. But it’s more than that – I work very hard to suppress emotion.
I’ve maintained this contrast between who I am and who I pretend to be, because I don’t want to burden anyone with the real me – why would anyone care to know anything other than the happy version of me? I have no plans to spill my insides to anyone – I still believe that no one would give a shit – but I am starting to slowly minimize the contrast.
It’s exhausting to keep up a fake exterior.
I’ve also realized that I’m not just trying to protect others from the real me, but I’m also protecting the addiction. For the past 4 years, I haven’t had a drink in front of family because I was pretending that I had given up booze. I convinced myself that I don’t talk about my relationship with booze because I didn’t want to cause worry. Truly though, it was more important to protect the addiction. If I let the secret out of the dark, I’d no longer be able to hide it.
I’ve started telling my husband aspects of my addiction that would make a relapse difficult to hide. That is good. I am taking my mother to lunch next week to slowly introduce the truth to her. I see her almost daily and having her know some of my secrets would make relapse even more difficult to hide. Even better.
It’s a difficult balance, wanting to be more open with the people around me while being a naturally closed person. It’s all about closing the gap between who I really am and who I pretend to be. Not only will it make for an easier life, but it will make drinking less of an option.