This morning I sat down to write you a post exposing myself as someone who is still utterly imperfect. I’d stepped over another pile of laundry and after reflecting (and bashing myself internally for letting my housework go…again) I felt it would be blogworthy. The outline was simple: expose my imperfection, share my personal emotions and then the path I’d take going forward. Throw in what I’d hope would be a few laughs and I’d be done.
Opening the laptop I opened the SoberJulie Facebook page as is the obviously the first thing I do daily and was greeted by 3 messages which ripped me apart. The first was from someone who has a family member in active alcoholism asking for help. Second was someone thanking me for being so “open” about my recovery and life after as it was inspiring them. The third was from someone who felt compelled to knock the shit out of me for not keeping myself Anonymous in my recovery.
As I read each of these my emotions were messy….my breath became hitchy, my heart rate increased and inside I wept for each person’s situations. With each I didn’t respond, I never do immediately. When I am contacted by anyone I’ve learned it’s best to absorb their heart in their words for a time before I begin typing.
If you’re reading this and feeling some strong emotions about the 3 messages, hang onto those thoughts and let me try and write out my thought process for a sec here.
Humble Doesn’t Come Comfortably
After reading all 3 my focus immediately was on the 3rd. “How DARE they do this? Here I am trying to put myself out there in order to help others who may be suffering and these BASTARDS are bashing me? WTF?? God where are you in this, why the HELL am I being so open if this is the result? How are you glorified here?”
Breathe Julie….and there is it…the God moment that swung my ego-driven, self-serving thoughts away from poor martyr Julie over to the rational, humble way of thinking.
In a single breath God pulled my head out of my ass into the clear light of recovery. You see, within that breath came the 4 years of learning in recovery. With the cleansing oxygen came an awareness of how utterly infantile I was being. Let me tell you it’s a bitch when you see your self acting this way…humble doesn’t come comfortably some days.
3 Messages Sharing a Connection
Here I sat reading messages from 3 different people from 3 different life experiences and they’d actually taken the time to share their hearts. That alone is amazing and should be celebrated. Who the heck am I? I’m nobody to them but letters on a screen or an image in their Facebook feed and somehow they’ve connected with me…yes in different ways but it is indeed a connection.
Gratitude flowed into me, as I sit and write this I am truly thankful for these messages which have allowed me to reflect upon the growth and learning that God has allowed me over the past 4 years.
The first letter had me weeping because I can so easily relate. I AM the person whose life seemed futile, the person who was so far into the blackness that despair and shame knit together to provide a cloak I wore heavily upon me as a second skin. It reminded me that the struggle and BATTLE which I fight daily is worth it…and the strain of sharing it publicly was less frightening than the thought of keeping it secret.
The second letter filled me with gratitude, it gave me validation that God’s purpose was being fulfilled. This writer’s time and words verified that I was navigating the path correctly and although it may continue to hurt when people turn from me because of my openly-public sharing, I’m doing the right thing.
The third letter struck a chord within me because I needed to look at this anonymity thing once again to ensure I have NO doubts about how I’m conducting myself. The fact is that alcoholism was a very private disease in years gone by, there is a stigma around alcoholism to this day.
Breaking the Stigma
That stigma is alive and well unfortunately and I feel called to blast light into the reality of the disease. Alcoholism is deadly and if we ignore it, or keep it a dirty little secret people will never recover. I was someone who thought she didn’t know anyone in recovery (how wrong I was) because where I was from it wasn’t spoken of.
In the months before I faced my alcoholism, I Googled the hell out of “recovering from alcoholism” and “women in recovery” just to find information and some bloody hope. Hope is a strong state of being, it’s the one thing that gave me the courage to look forward upon a life of sobriety and not my own perceived dark Hell.
That Googling and hoping landed me onto a few blogs and websites where women shared of themselves in hopes to help the person suffering (me) see there is life after sobriety. Some of them are Crying Out Now, Momastery and Edenland.
Thank GOD that these women put themselves out there, without their online articles I may never have made it to recovery. The experience, strength and hope I found enabled me to seek help and this is one of the integral reasons why I’ll never be anonymous. I’ll put it out there, loud and clear until God tells me not to.
Today I know that I can NEVER drink successfully again, I’m out there about this in a very non-anonymous way and for me this works. I respect the anonymity of others and firmly support their right to be so. You will NEVER hear me breaking this, it’s simply written on my soul that I respect other people’s choices.
Living Sober Can Be a Bitch
Living sober when surrounded by alcohol in your culture is truly a bitch. Everywhere I turn there is stimulus which has my inner desires going haywire…I can glimpse a billboard and suddenly feel my mouth turn pasty and dry…gasping for that one drink which can make it all better.
But the reality is that things in my world will never be improved with booze. Never again will I be able to relax at the end of a day with a wine glass in hand, never will I get a night started with my beloved shot of Patrone. These are fallacies in my world, they would only end up with me behaving in a manner which could ruin myself in so many ways.
Alcohol is gone from my life but so many wonderful things have replaced it, including an amazing online community of people in recovery. My perspective has changes as I’ve learned and God keeps providing me opportunities to learn, improve and yes even bitch to him as I do. Today I was pulled to check myself and make sure my motives are in line with God’s desires for me and once again I know this imperfect Christian woman is just where she is meant to be.
I’m humbled and so grateful for the messages I receive, without them I wouldn’t be able to reflect, learn and grow so please do keep them coming my friends.