Day 108: Recovery and Reflections

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.

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3 thoughts on “Day 108: Recovery and Reflections

  1. I’ve been wrestling with the same thing this week. What you said about it being exhausting to keep up a fake exterior is so true. Am I keeping my sobriety secret because I’m ashamed of my drinking or because I want the option of being able to go back to drinking? I don’t know. I think if I were a more open person I wouldn’t be in this position but we can’t help the way we are. Once my mum told me during an argument that even as a child I’d been ‘secretive’. It hurt but I think it’s true – I’ve always kept a lot inside and presented the exterior I think people would like to see.
    Congrats on your 108 days – amazing stuff.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. I remember taking a depression quiz after my daughter was born and my doctor was terribly alarmed. She told me that based on my score she should recommend institutionalization but she commented what really struck and disturbed her was how calmly and easily I spoke of my suicidal urges and level of depression. I had two small babies at home so she backed off the institutionalization talk, probably sensing she would never see me again and we made several deals (antidepressants, quizzes every few days, her phone number and the number for the local psychiatric clinic in my pocket). I have struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression, it seems, my whole life, so, I too, have constructed a non-alarming facade to cover it all up. I have done the same thing with my drinking. Only a handful of people have any clue how much I was drinking and often when I tell folks (which, usually I don’t) they are shocked. Again, thanks for sharing. You are an inspiration to me. It is nice to know I am not alone in my facade building.

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