Day 214 (7 months!): Another Superhero Steps Out

 

sunshine

It’s 5:15 in the morning on day 214, month seven, of sobriety, and I am drawn to act upon some intuitive guidance I am receiving, here in a quiet house in the dark, with only a sleeping dog for company.

It will require an act of pure heroism (for me).

I’m going to use my real first name to sign off today. This is a big big deal.

It defies everything I used to think mattered — my reputation, my employability, my anonymity, my need to protect myself from the judgement of others. My commonsense.

Before you think this really is not such a heroic act, let me tell you that I have an unusual first name, and anyone who knows me will be able to tell from the blog who I am. If my first name and unusual last name are put together, there are only one or two of us in the world, according to Google.

If you want to read about the extent of my paranoia, read this: Day 42: Paranoia.

This amazing act of courage represents a few things that I notice have changed about me.

The Absence of Shame

I am beginning to release the idea that becoming addicted to an addictive substance is shameful. That seeking help is shameful. That I am less of a person because of it. I am beginning to think I am more because of it. I am who I am because of it. And this could not be a more monumental shift in mindset. This is me owning my story, not in shame, but with pride.

Compassion

I am pivoting from what other people think of me to what might be good for the rest of the world. I am thinking about what might be good for someone like me, who sees me coming forward, a little at a time, from a place of growing confidence and strength. It’s no longer all about me. What a relief! I can venture outside of myself again, something that became lost in those long years of drinking.

Rebirth

I am someone new. I am someone who takes risks now and then. I am someone who is learning to voice an opinion, without the liquid courage of a few drinks. I am stronger, wiser, more mature. I matter to myself, and to other people, and they now matter more to me than alcohol.

This represents so much more than I can put into words without writing the longest blog in history.

Thank you for being here to witness it.

With great love and compassion,

Shawna

 

Painting by Sachin Sagare

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26 thoughts on “Day 214 (7 months!): Another Superhero Steps Out

    1. Thank you!! You have just reaffirmed my life affirming post. I have been reading books about how freeing (but scary) it is for people who have gone through this, and they talk about this incredible weight being lifted. I am obviously just at the beginning of the process, but it feels right already. ; )

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well done Shawna. A brave and courageous move and one you obviously feel is right in this moment. Like your day 42 post I have the paranoia and fear and won’t even allow my very best friend in the whole world to read my blog, she who knows where all my dead bodies are! My shame is down to about 25% having at times been 100% ashamed of pretty much everything about myself, it is work but one we all seem to tackle on the path we take. I am pleased for you that you are making progress and growing out of the stunted version alcohol forces us to remain in. Lovely post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, that was a perfect description of what happens: We are forced to grow into a stunted version of ourselves. It is exactly how it feels. As for progress, notice that I am not posting my last name or a photograph. That will have to come later. And I’ve already had the occasional second thoughts, but overall, I’m glad it’s out there. I like your shame percentage too. ; )
      Thank you for the encouragement!!
      XX,
      Shawna

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  2. Awww, I loved this post, Shawna! I so admire you. So wonderful that you are now comfortable enough to post your name. Big hug! I think there are very few drinkers who can drink in a healthy fashion and that most fight it in some way or another. Maybe some can stop sooner than we can but I bet very few could ever go 7 months!! Very few can self reflect and think about why they turn to addictive substances, whatever they may be. You are soo normal and sooo much more of a person than many!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! And you are so right about how most people struggle to rein in their drinking and don’t really ever take it seriously (including me). I was once sitting with a group of my friends and their husbands, all drinking, and one guy said that we should make a bet to see who could abstain the longest. I won, with only three days of sobriety. No one else could make it past two days of sobriety! It’s such a part of the culture that it seems abnormal not to be drinking.
      Cheers to us!!
      XX,
      Shawna
      (It is nice to sign my real name.)

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  3. ❤ ❤ ❤
    We are the STRONG and brave ones! We are the ones that can do hard things. I've felt the same shame you described, but it was stunting my recovery. From here on out, I've made my recovery about me. I can't control anyone else's thoughts or perception of myself. Congrats on taking this (scary) big step!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Anna. Is that your real name, by the way? hahaha.
      Making recovery about me has been something I did not do for years. I am making my recovery a priority now. I no longer go anywhere I think won’t be fun or is a temptation to drink. It’s not even that I think I will … it’s more choosing what I want over what other people want me to do. Thanks for the support!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Shawna–Welcome to letting go of our secrets! Yes, it is incredibly freeing to lift the shame from our disease. Instead of hiding or regretting our past, we learn that it is our experience that is what will help others.
    When my husband got ill and later died, I remember asking someone why it is I had to go through that grueling, difficult period. She said it would help others who are going through something similar. I have found that to be so true. After he died, I was so much more compassionate to others. I knew how to listen, instead of shutting down someone else’s feelings by making an inane remark like “It’ll be just fine,” “It’s in God’s hands.” Worse, after he died, “He’s in a better place.” Please!!!!
    When I wrote my book, “Starting at Goodbye,” I revealed my secrets to the world. Instead of feeling shamed and fearful, I felt proud. I had emerged from that hell to be a stronger, better, more compassionate person.
    “Our secrets will kill us.” Welcome to a life without secrets! Good on you!!!
    Beachmama (Aka Marilyn)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, you are an expert on coming out! I am heartbroken to find out that your husband died. (He is alive and skiing in the part of your memoir I’m reading. ; )) This kind of keeps him alive, doesn’t it?
      I can’t imagine going through what you have, and to do it with such honesty and humor. It seems to be so much easier for some people than others. In the AA meetings I used to attend, people would cry and tell their innermost thoughts, and then others would just sit stiffly in their metal folding chairs, unable to break through the awkwardness. Maybe it’s how you were raised that makes the difference. Who knows?
      Thanks for letting go of your secrets first. It does give the rest of us permission to do the same. ; )
      XO,
      Shawna

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      1. Oops, I guess that should have come with a “spoiler alert” on my book!!! Sorry… I’ll be curious to hear how you feel about it once you’re done (and, of course, I hope you post a positive review on Amazon!). Not only does the book keep him alive but also it was so helpful to me in the grieving process. It was like doing a very, very long 5th step!!!
        I’ve often felt that my ability to share from the heart, honestly and within pretension, does give others “permission” to do the same. Sometimes meetings are so superficial, with people practically quoting passages from The Big Book. You can almost hear the snoring! Then someone shares the real REAL, and the meeting comes alive. I urge you to follow in my footsteps and give it a try. You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time, I’ve heard it said.
        Hang in there!
        Beachmama

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  5. Hi Shawna, congrats on your month 7! You are totally owning your sobriety. I still feel shame and find it really hard to just be myself round most people (immediate family and bloggersphere excluded). It is getting better though. I just need to keep reminding myself that I cannot control what other people think ( and shouldn’t give a damn) and to live my life honestly and true. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think watching other people feeling strong about being sober has influenced me, but I still have a ways to go. I immediately redirect my thoughts when I think about the past or feel shame. I let it go immediately, whereas I used to think that this shame would keep me sober. It did not!! It was so unnecessary. I am truly trying to make it a thing of the past (and something that stays in the past).
      Love and well-wishes!
      Shawna

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Shame, Mrs. Mac? You need to be PROUD and to own the fact that you are conquering the disease of addiction. If you had cancer and were in remission, everyone would be thrilled to hear it, Yet, we people in recovery continue to feel shame about our pasts. We were not BAD people, we were very sick. I could no more control my drinking than I could control my eye color. It was part of my life. It takes tremendous courage to walk through a sober life. We get no anesthetics to pad the hard times while “normal” people might enjoy a glass or two of wine. We are a courageous and caring bunch of sober women. Hooray for us!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on 7 months and for your “coming out” Shawna! The absence of shame, your compassion and rebirth are the fruits of your perseverance and serve as tremendous examples for all of us! Beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. You have no idea how much that means to me. I think most of us live in this world where we think people will immediately be shocked and judge us, when sometimes just the opposite is true. I am thrilled to be finding out just how wonderful and compassionate people really are. ; )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally agree. I’ve spent most of my life “hiding”- afraid to let myself just be me. So limiting and exhausting. “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Keeping that in mind is so freeing!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me too. The saddest part about drinking is that you don’t learn to break down the barriers EXCEPT through drinking. Then you think that’s who you are — that outgoing drinking person who doesn’t really care what other people think. Starting over has been an eye-opening experience. It’s like being in junior high all over again. ; )

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so neat. You are so strong and truly courageous. I dream of the day that I can do just the same, Shawna. It’s been my plan since starting my blog….but I still have a long ways to go….214 days perhaps!? I hope and wish. ((((((((hugs))))))))))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s much braver to have to face the world while drinking. I know because I spent so long doing exactly that! So really, you are the brave one, because nothing is harder than being in that in-between stage, where you know the alcohol is killing you and you’ve made the decision (a hundred times) to quit, but you’re still drinking. This is the hardest part! Not drinking is easy, after a while. I wake up feeling great, go to bed feeling great, and for the most part, feel pretty good during the day. Bravery, for me, was putting myself first in all situations. Every single one. And treating myself like my most beloved friend in the world. That took bravery because it felt “selfish” and I didn’t think I deserved it. I don’t remotely feel that way anymore. And I never wake up feeling that I just wish I had died in my sleep, you know what I mean? Waking up with dread at slogging through another day. It was all so unnecessary.
      Sorry for the monologue — it’s early and I’ve had too much coffee. ; )

      Liked by 1 person

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