In less than a week, I’ll hit the 1 year sobriety milestone. I don’t know why, but there’s a steady stream of tears this morning. So as I’ve done for the past year, I’ve come here to throw my feelings onto the virtual paper to see if I can piece together any rational thoughts.
Is it loneliness?
I attended a 1-year birthday meeting lastnight and it was heartwarming to see this woman celebrate with her entire family. Her parents flew from the other side of the country to be beside her. Her teenage son smiled and hugged her frequently, while her toddler son happily chatted away at the makeshift colouring table. Fellow AA members, one after another, stood and spoke highly of this woman, who has clearly touched a lot of people in the program. It was beautiful.
My 1-year will be celebrated by my home group at the end of the month. I won’t have the same experience as she did last night. My parents are out of the country and will not be attending. I have no friends coming. My husband will be there, as will my sister, her husband and my beloved nephew. I should be grateful. I am grateful. But I’m also lonely. I haven’t touched any hearts in program. I don’t know who would have anything heartfelt to say.
The person I’ve asked to speak at this meeting didn’t know who I was when I approached him. He graciously agreed to speak, but I could tell he had reservations. Why is this person I’ve never met asking me to speak at her birthday?? When I told him the names of the other 3 who are also celebrating at the same meeting, he visibly warmed up to the idea of speaking.
I’ve touched no one. Even my sponsor will be hard-pressed to say something non-cliche about me.
I’m still trying to do this on my own, to a certain extent. Other people in program reach out and ask questions and share their struggles with one another. I’m just not comfortable doing that yet.
Is it disappointment?
I’ve always been a shy, introverted person. Except when I drank. A lot has changed this past year, except that. I am still shy and introverted. I’ve made progress, but I’m disappointed that I haven’t become more comfortable around people.
Is it resentment?
The isolated, alcoholic version of myself hid to protect the addiction. Letting someone in would risk exposing the depth of my addiction, ultimately risking its survivability.
One year later, I am starting to feel this powerful urge to go public. I’ve made small advances: being open with my immediate family, telling my boss and a couple of friends. But I’m now feeling the need to be open, widespread. I want to post it on Facebook. I’ve written my “coming out” post and have it saved on my desktop. I am struggling with whether or not to post it on my sober-versary.
– I will finally be fully transparent
– I will undoubtedly receive more support than I could possibly imagine. In my current depressed state, some unexpected (albeit elicited) support would be uplifting.
– I could potentially open the awareness, and perhaps even a conversation, with my extended family. Addiction runs deep in my family and no one talks about it. The same goes for mental illness. Secrets like these kill, and on the way to death, they create a miserable, lonely, misunderstood existence.
– It will build my confidence about who I am. I don’t know who I am yet. I’m 37 years old and I’m just starting to try to figure it out. I don’t want to define myself by my alcoholism, but I know that it plays a central role in all aspects of my life and my identity.
– I will feel lighter. I’m done editing my conversations, tailoring them based on who I’m talking to and whether or not I’ve let them in on my little secret.
– It’s a selfish, look-at-me, I-need-attention thing to do.
– It could change my relationship with my in-laws who aren’t as open-minded and understanding as my family.
– It could damage my future self professionally. When I set up this blog and the associated social media profiles, I ensured that my real name is not attached to any of it. I own multiple URL’s that point to this blog and all of them are protected with anonymity. Job searches in the future could be compromised if I post a tell-all on Facebook. Privacy settings can’t protect me: once something is online, it’s online forever.
– It’s a selfish, look-at-me, I-need-attention thing to do. Yes, I’ve repeated myself because it’s the biggest concern for me. I loathe Facebook selfies, attention-seeking status posts and humble-brags (example: “Ugh, my life is sooo terrible – the heated seats in my new Lexus aren’t working”). My addiction confession is no different than any of these types of posts, which beg for positive comments and attention. Can the pro’s possibly outweigh this massive con?
Even though I know it’s a risky thing to do (which is why I’m weighing the pro’s and con’s), I’m resentful that there are con’s. I want all of the benefits on the pro list.
Holy shit, is that ever an alcoholic thought process! “I want what I want, consequences be damned!”
I’m spinning, I recognize that. On the upside, the revolutions are slower than they used to be. I’m making progress. No, I’ve made progress. I can’t lose sight of that.
I don’t want to drink. Truly, it’s not even in my bag of tricks anymore. When I’m spinning, or depressed, or whatever, I don’t even think about alcohol as an option. Don’t get me wrong, my bag of tricks has zero healthy options, but booze just isn’t one of them anymore. (Perhaps I should say “right now” instead of “anymore” because I don’t want to ever feel as though I’ve conquered booze. That’s gotten me into trouble in the past).
It’s time to reach into my evolved bag of tricks and turn this mood around. I need to determine if this is just one of my mini depressive dips that works itself out after a few days, or if there’s genuine feelings at play that need to be worked through.
Either way I can’t deny that no matter what I’m feeling on Day 360, it is a hell of a lot better than the alternative.