Recovering Out Loud

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A funny thing is starting to happen: I’m beginning to tell people in casual conversation that I’ve overcome an addiction to alcohol. What’s particularly surprising, even to me, is that I’m saying it with pride. I’m kind of glowing even, and a little giddy, like I’m sharing a great secret along the lines of “I just won a million dollar lottery” or “I’m being inducted into the sober hall of fame!” It’s the coolest feeling. And guess what? People respond in kind. I’m sharing from the heart, and I’m giving them a chance to do the same.

What they don’t see is shame.

The shame is dissipating, like smoke rising into thin air. I used to duck my head when talking about addiction. I used to cringe when admitting that I had to stop drinking. I felt vulnerable in sobriety — as if I’d been thrown out of an exclusive club.

Here’s a secret about the drinking club — anyone can get in. It takes a rock-solid superstar to check out. And I’m proud I did.

I can see the seeds of this pride years ago, when I’d get a few days sober, and tell someone — tentatively, barely meeting their eyes — that I was abstaining for a while. What I didn’t tell them is that I had a tiny hope that it would be my last Day One, that I could finally stop drinking my life into ruin.

I was right to hope. It’s possible, it turns out, even after decades of trying. I’m grateful that I reached beyond the veil of shame to ask for help — from the universe, from God, from Buddha — I didn’t care who. I was too desperate to be picky. And I’m proud of myself for being willing to believe what the universe told me — that I was worthy of being saved. That I was loved and precious beyond measure, and was meant for much greater things. It turns out the universe was right.

29 thoughts on “Recovering Out Loud

  1. I am so happy and proud of you, reading this. I’ve discovered just how supportive people can be when they hear the truth. I know how relieved I was when I heard the words “I’m an addict…”, because I knew that it was the beginning of something important. I’ve heard those words from 3 people in my life now. I have an enormous amount of respect for someone who can speak the words. And for myself – I have discovered people who have supported me when I did not expect it. I know now who my true friends are.

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    1. Exactly right. You never know who is going to support you, or who is going to say “Me too.” The woman I spoke to yesterday has a mother who is an alcoholic, and we were able to talk about her first year of sobriety (at eighty years old!) I can think of only two or three times a stranger has told me about their drinking, but each time really made an impression on me. It broke down barriers immediately.
      Thanks for the encouragement. 💕

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  2. Here’s a secret about the drinking club — anyone can get in. It takes a rock-solid superstar to check out. And I’m proud I did.
    I LOVE THIS!!!
    Bloody genius my new favourite sober mantra
    Congrats to you and long may you be a shining example of sober superstardom 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post!
    I find that while I am not exactly Mr. Recovery Out Loud, I do slip it in sometimes. People are work are the ones who know the least about that side of me. Most people I know know I am in recovery. I don’t shy away from it, but I find that I don’t necessarily need to tell some people, just as like I don’t need to tell people that I’m a Scorpio or that I weight 215 lbs. If I am asked, I will definitely tell the truth. Everyone has their reasons for either shouting it out to the world, or living a life of quiet resolve. I respect both, and I find that just because some are quiet about it, doesn’t mean they carry shame. It’s just that some people are private about their stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t read this enough times! I had goosebumps, was smiling, and teary eyed all at the same time, you rock solid rock star💕

    Seriously, I would like to print this post out as wallpaper and cover my room with it so I could read these words and feel the empowerment that accompanies them every day. You are truly amazing and I’m so grateful that you have found your way to me, through the millions of people and objects in this universe. Simply divine💫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jami! I am so happy to read this! We were one of the people hit by that band of tornados that blew through NC. All we lost were a couple of trees, but we were without power for a few days, and then again when they had to repair the wires. This comments got dropped to the bottom of the list, so I am just now reading it, and it has made my day 10 times over! I’m going to print it out and wallpaper my own walls with it. Is that OK with you?? I am planning a trip up your way soon, and I would LOVE to meet in person. You have defintely been an angel to me. 💕

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  5. Fantastic post. In particular I love your imagery for how shame is leaving you: like smoke rising into thin air.” I’ve found that a very gradual process too. And, like you, it began when I started recovering out loud.
    Funny, coincidental in the way that we’ve agreed God guides things to be coincidental, I’m writing a long essay on the subject. The essay is on incompletion, and the way that I’ve slowly worked (10 years now!) to be a complete person, not parceled out for anybody or to anybody.

    This post hit me at just the right time. Funny, it’s like we’re tapping (often) into the recovery subconscious at the same depths at the same times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, this gave me chills. I am big into the whole subconscious connection idea. I’ve had so many coincidental occurrences since I started trying to quit drinking that I’m convinced that the universe conspires to keep me sober through other people and events. And the completion idea is spot on. I am about halfway through a memoir-type manuscript, and am going back through old journals. What I am finding out is that I barely recognize that person. Incomplete is a great description of how I was. I had all kinds of good intentions with no idea how to make any of it happen. I was a great wishful thinker. It’s been only recently that I’ve sat in a group of adults and felt like we were the same age. I’ve always felt much younger because I hadn’t done the hard work of maturing.
      I look forward to reading your essay. Your writing is so insightful and always resonates with me. ; )

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Getting to a place where you are less concerned about what others think is hard, but valuable. I admire that confidence and aspire to that as well. On a separate note, you’ve navigated some tough weather issues over the past couple of months and I’m glad you’ve come out the other end “in one piece”, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It’s funny how that happens. I used to be petrified that someone I knew would stumble across my blog, but now I don’t care that much. That’s a huge change for me. It’s almost like, if I’m admitting to all of this online, what’s left to embarrass me?

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