My sobriety date is February 6th, 2010. Being so fragile in early sobriety I shared this with few friends and my family only. Twenty days into my sober life I was involved in a car accident which left me unable to continue my corporate role. While this is a horrible experience, it did make it even easier to remain anonymous.
It’s not like I had to tell anyone, it’s more that I just can’t keep a secret. Honestly, it’s like I was born with an internal “must spill to the world” button. I am the girl who calls all of her friends when something big happens; every major accomplishment in my life or the lives of others is a reason to celebrate! The morning that I found out I was pregnant, 7 weeks I might add, everyone in my network had received a phone call or email by 10am.
This time however, I couldn’t seem to open the flood gates to celebrate. Deep within myself something had changed, I’d become truly desolate and frightened. This wasn’t a happy-go-lucky, everything’s going to be okay situation. I’d finally admitted to myself that the floor had dropped out from under me and I’d lost control of my life.
After the car accident I had a lot of time on my hands, my daughters were in school and my husband was taking care of the activities I used to. My days were filled with pain, therapies, rest and Facebook. Some very kind people showed up almost daily to take me to 12 Step meetings, my faith and my sobriety grew strong while my body wasn’t able.
One day while on Facebook, I stumbled across an online 12 Step Meeting Group and joined up eagerly. It felt great being able to interact with people who faced the same disease on the days when I just couldn’t leave the house. It wasn’t long before I realized that my posts on that group’s page showed up in the feed on my Facebook profile’s wall. A friend of mine from childhood “liked” the fact that I’d commented on the group whose name is very obviously a well-known 12 step program.
Outed As An Alcoholic On Social Media
I was shocked, I had no idea it wasn’t a secret group, my stomach dropped and I’d broken into a sweat. I had over 500 friends in my list at the time, ranging from long lost elementary school folks to relatives in England. In that moment I had a choice, I could delete the feed post and find a “secret” group or I could use this as an opportunity to share with others.
Before I sought help I knew I was a heavy drinker, in fact I knew it was a problem. I thought that I was weak, unable to curb my weekend habit. In my mind a stronger person would be able to resist and my self-image quickly eroded away as I woke with shame each morning after. This day I sat there remembering this, realizing that I’d said in the past I didn’t know an alcoholic didn’t have to drink daily to qualify as an alcoholic.
It wasn’t easy making the decision but finally I updated my status to announce the days I had sober and hit update. While I waited for the fallout I was shocked as I received messages over the next few weeks from friends who have experienced alcoholism in their own lives.
Over the next 6 months I had numerous public interactions on Facebook regarding sobriety and alcoholism; the stigma I’d placed upon it seemed to dwindle and my confidence increased.
Today I live my life one day at a time, I cannot control what will come but I will control my responses. As long as my spiritual foundation is strong, God can give me the strength, courage and wisdom I need.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
AA Daily Reading
The simplicity of the A.A. program teaches me that happiness isn’t something I can “demand.” It comes upon me quietly, while I serve others. In offering my hand to the newcomer or to someone who has relapsed, I find that my own sobriety has been recharged with indescribable gratitude and happiness.