There are days when I wish I wasn’t open about my sobriety, days when I would prefer to have somewhat of a private recovery. There is beauty in the openness of my life in this respect but also plenty of discomfort because we’re all human.
When we humans are faced with something we can’t relate to we often look down our noses at it. Believe me; I’ve been guilty of it.
When I was drinking and encountered a person who chose not to have a drink with me, a part of me internally sneered at you. It’s ugly but true; I was the person who couldn’t have just one drink, let alone choose none and rather than try to understand you, I opted for judging you as the weaker human.
You must be the weak one. I couldn’t possibly have turned the proverbial mirror upon myself and taken a cold, hard look at myself. Instead for years I smiled indulgently as I prepared you a cup of tea or girly Mocktail while internally wishing you’d just have a bloody drink already!
I Was Busy Sweeping My Alcoholism Under The Rug
If you’re a mother most of us have had the oh-so pleasant experience of trying to enjoy a quiet bath while ignoring our children banging on the door at us. You lie there in the lovely steamy water, doing your best to enjoy this moment while the energy is being sucked out of you by your obnoxious (and quite normal) offspring.
That’s what my life was like when I was sweeping my alcoholism under the rug. Like a mouse on a wheel I struggled to ignore all of my concerns and dove into life as I’d become used to instead of facing the hard work of changing. All of my efforts at ignoring my issues made me irritated when you inadvertently reminded me of them.
It’s not that I didn’t like spending time with you non-drinking friends, it’s that you were the Trojan horse of my inner screaming toddler. You stimulated a wee part of me to ask myself why my relationship with alcohol was so messed up when all I wanted was to relax and have fun.
With the simple popping of the cork, the glug of the wine escaping the bottle into my glass, the aroma greeting my senses…..with these minute observations came relief. I was about to become my better self that accompanied the wine and there you were, reminding me that this behavior wasn’t normal.
This Alcoholic Isn’t Counting Your Drinks
These days I suspect that I am that Trojan horse for many folks I encounter. I now have the pleasures of whispers, of people becoming outwardly awkward with the drink in their hand, of the almost apologetic nature of someone explaining this is their first drink, of the avoidance…
Somehow my presence can instigate certain people to begin questioning their own relationship with alcohol right at the moment when they’re enjoying their “free” time over bevies. I understand that you may feel I’m cramping your style but want you to know I’m not counting your drinks.
The fact is that it is what it is. I’ve chosen to be open about my alcoholism and for some people this means that I bring the reality with me where I go. I understand this and try to make people comfortable when I can, when that’s not possible I accept that it’s the other person’s baggage not my own.
Few Things Offend Me
These days I don’t offend easily, aside from people who enjoy openly challenging my “alcoholism” while insisting I have a drink, there are very few things which surprise or irritate me. I actually embrace the knowledge that I may be a red flag for some people and I hope that my behavior shows that sobriety doesn’t have to be impossible nor boring.
Perhaps this is a form of egoism but I’d hope that I’m stimulating enough sober for people to actually enjoy time spent with me and if they have questions about alcoholism that I’m approachable and transparent enough for them to ask.
For too long I avoided asking any questions, I turned my head from the frightening thought that I may be an alcoholic because my impression was this meant failure.
Within the past 1,171 days I’ve learned differently. I’ve learned that alcoholism isn’t failure, it’s simply a fact for me and within this reality there is strength and beauty to be found.
If I’m your Trojan horse then dammit let’s chat about it, why don’t we quiet that screaming toddler so we can begin to embrace all that life has to offer….